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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

March 6: No, Democrats Are Not “Panicking” Over HRC Email Saga

As the MSM and Republicans crank up the scandal machine to hype up and pre-judge the Hillary Clinton email “scandal,” the former are finding plenty of Democrats who seem to be upset (if not “panicking”) as well. But all is not as it seems, as I pointed out today at Washington Monthly.

Sorry, but I’m going to have to call BS on Politico‘s big story from Gabriel Debenedetti last night suggesting that Democrats are in a state of near-panic over the HRC “email crisis.” The piece is festooned with quote after quote–some attributed, some blind–from early-state Dems, mostly in Iowa, arguing that Hillary’s “problem” means that other candidates should get into the race–you know, just in case. Indeed, that’s the thrust of the quote that supplies the alarming “she could implode totally” headline:

[W]hile the overall message of trust in the presumptive frontrunner is clear, the saga is also exposing deep party-wide anxieties about having so much invested in a single candidate, more than 20 months before November 2016.
“It adds more reason to get other people involved in this process, to make sure we have other strong, good candidates running,” said Larry Hogden, chairman of Iowa’s Cedar County Democrats. “Because, who knows? She could implode totally.”

You’d think after maybe the third or fourth statement from an Iowan to that effect, it might occur to Debenedetti to wonder why they keep bringing this back to the need for a bigger Democratic presidential field. Could it be that Iowans (and for that matter, activists from New Hampshire and South Carolina) want a bigger field for reasons other than anxiety about HRC? Because maybe a competitive field gives them the attention, and yes, money, that they absolutely live for in the early states? Should it perhaps be noted that Iowa Democrats were talking exactly the same way long before anybody knew a thing about HRC’s email practices?

Look, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting a competitive Democratic nominating process this cycle, whether it’s because particular Dems think (a) it’s fun and lucrative; (b) it’s necessary to “keep Hillary honest,” or (c) HRC’s the wrong nominee altogether. But Democrats who feel any of these ways need to come clean about them, and not add credibility to a “narrative” that at first blush feels like a continuation of the Clinton Scandal Industry of the 1990s.

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