Hillary Clinton's Very Bad Weekend

By Doctor Comrade

After the first night of the Republican National Convention, Slate's chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie declared that "ethno-nationalist bigotry... defined all of the rest of Monday night... if you were there, in the audience, you saw the full array of speakers. And the overriding theme was fear—fear of a brown horde." Three days later, after Donald Trump's acceptance speech, Bouie wrote, "The point is to paint a picture of disorder and violence, to scare Americans into flocking under Trump’s banner. And to that end, he has crafted a demagogic speech of lies, misrepresentations, and plain, unadulterated bullshit."

Yet Bouie and his liberal colleagues at Slate are now in full damage-control mode. Despite these pronouncements about the RNC's racism, fear-mongering, and general disarray, Trump gained on Hillary Clinton in the national polls, and according to FiveThirtyEight, Trump now has a 46% chance to win the election (two weeks ago, that projection was at 22%).

Trump has not particularly helped himself. He has received a modest post-RNC bounce in the polls, but that was expected. His message has remained consistent. There has been no pivot for the general election. Rather, Clinton has repeatedly self-sabotaged her own campaign. July has not been a good month for her, and it has culminated in a very, very bad weekend.

At the beginning of the month, the FBI released its findings about Clinton's private email server. And though she wasn't indicted, FBI Director James Comey's statement called her "extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information," and he contradicted numerous claims made by Clinton about her email server. Since that time, Republicans have been calling for Clinton to be indicted (Chris Christie led a chant at the RNC of "lock her up!").

The Republican National Convention was not a paragon of organization and message discipline, but what they did do was put together four consecutive nights of Hillary-bashing.

Then Clinton announced her choice of running mate on July 22: conservative Democrat, former Virginia Governor, current Senator, and self-proclaimed "boring" man Tim Kaine. Despite knowing that many Bernie Sanders supporters were unsure if they were going to side with Clinton or not, she picked a conservative Democrat. He's anti-abortion (as governor, he supported several abortion restrictions), he supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership until it became politically untenable (he said on July 21 "I see much in it to like. I think it's an upgrade of labor standards. I think it's an upgrade of environmental standards. I think it's an upgrade of environmental standards. I think it's an upgrade of intellectual property protections," claims which unions and environmental groups have disputed), and according to Dylan Matthews in Vox, Kaine cut taxes for the rich and slashed Virginia's budget, advocated "abstinence-focused education," and approved funding for anti-abortion propaganda centers that try to convince women to avoid abortion. He also suffers from low name recognition, and he will probably not give her a national boost.

As the Democratic National Convention entered its final days of preparation for its big event, thousands of emails from inside the DNC were leaked by Wikileaks, which showed that top officials at the DNC conspired against Bernie Sanders and were actively plotting to undermine his candidacy. Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz abruptly resigned in the wake of the scandal, and Bernie Sanders--who had just endorsed Clinton--made the loudest demands for Wasserman Schultz's resignation.

But Hillary Clinton saw the scandal differently, and on Sunday, she promptly appointed Wasserman Schultz as honorary chairperson for her national campaign. So Wasserman Schultz resigns during a scandal, presumably in disgrace, only to fail upward into a position in Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Today, Wasserman Schultz was booed off the stage during a speech to the Florida convention delegation. And although her resignation is not official until after the DNC--and she had planned to gavel in and gavel out the convention--she will not be participating in that capacity.

Instead of appropriately punishing a corrupt official inside the DNC, Hillary Clinton rewarded Wasserman Schultz for her unbreakable loyalty. Pro-Sanders supporters and other protesters have already begun protesting this decision.

Even after the RNC was clearly in chaos following Melania Trump's plagiarism, Ted Cruz's non-endorsement of Trump, the seventy-five minute catastrophe that was Trump's acceptance speech, and the low television ratings for the RNC, Clinton had every opportunity to spend the next week building her credibility, appealing to liberals and centrists, and reassuring the American people that she is the legitimate alternative to Trump (and Johnson and Stein). Instead, she misstepped three separate times, guaranteeing that the DNC will not be overshadowed by scandal.