Saturday, February 6, 2016

Democrats Use New Hampshire Primary to Frame Long Battle to Come

Following-up from earlier, "A Raging Battle Over the Democrat Party's Future."

At the Washington Post, "Clinton, Sanders use N.H. primary to frame long battle to come":
CONCORD, N.H. — For the Democratic presidential candidates, there are two urgent campaigns underway in New Hampshire.

The first is over the size of what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agree is a likely Sanders victory here: Clinton is pulling out every stop to shrink what the latest polls show is a gap of 20 percentage points or more, while Sanders is striving for a win that would give his long-shot candidacy fresh momentum.

But the more consequential battle playing out on the ground here this week may be about what happens after New Hampshire — and which themes and issues will shape a potentially prolonged battle for the Democratic nomination.

At her appearances here this week, Clinton has tried to build a foundation to frame the choice before Democratic voters in the weeks ahead. “I’m a progressive who gets results,” she has said again and again.

It is not that Clinton is giving up on New Hampshire, a state where she in 2008 and her husband, Bill Clinton, in 1992 mounted comebacks. But however unlikely a victory in Tuesday’s primary may seem, Clinton is using the closing days of the New Hampshire campaign to set the tone for the contests in Nevada and South Carolina, as well as the dozens of big-state primaries and caucuses that follow in March and beyond.

Clinton plans to leave New Hampshire briefly on Sunday for a hastily arranged visit to Flint, Mich. She has regularly cited the lead-poisoned water crisis in the economically depressed and majority-African American city as an example of racial and economic inequality.

“Hillary is looking across a much broader and more diverse Democratic Party than the New Hampshire electorate,” said strategist Paul Begala, a Clinton loyalist. “An old professor of mine said there are parachutists and truffle hunters. Truffle hunters dig down real deep and focus on one thing, and parachutists look at the entire landscape. This is what’s going on here.”

The same could be said for Sanders. On Friday, the senator from Vermont accepted the endorsement of Benjamin Jealous, the former head of the NAACP. (Jealous was scheduled to join Sanders at a news conference at the historic town hall in Exeter, N.H., but a snowstorm snarled his travel plans, and the two men addressed reporters by phone.)

Sanders’s move was aimed at a much wider audience than predominantly white New Hampshire. It also comes as he is trying to boost his recognition and support among black voters, who account for more than half of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina, which holds its primary on Feb. 27.

But Sanders is hardly taking his eye off New Hampshire. Though his aides are trying to tamp down expectations, Sanders is doing everything he can to grind out a big win. His campaign is trying to frame the primary here as a test of general-election strength, considering the state’s large numbers of independent voters.

If he beats Clinton by a large margin, his advisers said, it would be a crucial springboard that gives immediate credibility to his insurgent bid...
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