As recently as January, the only question that interested the press with regard to Hillary Clinton’s anticipated presidential campaign was just how much of a money magnate her White House bid would become.
According to a report in The Hill, Clinton’s aides and fundraisers anticipated that a number of Democratic donors would rush to contribute to her campaign the minute it was launched. “It’s going to be like nothing you’ve seen,” one unnamed Democratic aide said. “The numbers will be astounding.”
In fact, the only concern among those in Clinton’s orbit was how they could possibly meet the expectations set by their first financial disclosure with a reasonably impressive tally in their second. That is what you might call a good problem to have.
But the good problems have all disappeared for Team Clinton. Today, she is engulfed in a series of scandals that call into question her ability to avoid major controversies that have the capacity to derail her candidacy and limit her ability to communicate her message to American voters.
The political press seems loathe to draw unfaltering conclusions about Clinton’s ability to serve as an effective campaigner, but Democrats with skin in this game are not displaying the same nonchalance.
“Many senior Democrats are angry, though not yet mad enough to publicly confront the Clintons,” National Journal’s Ron Fournier reported on Tuesday.
“This story has legs as long as the election,” said a Democrat who has worked on Capitol Hill and as a presidential campaign manager. “She will be tripping over this crap until the cows come home.”
Another presidential campaign veteran who held a Cabinet-level post in Bill Clinton’s White House fretted out loud about the fact that the former first lady is breezing toward the Democratic nomination.
“We can’t have a coronation when she’s handing Republicans an inquisition,” the Democrat said.
Fournier went on to editorialize on the nature of Clinton’s odd campaign of self-sabotage. He observed that the fracas over Clinton’s flagrant disregard for the Federal Records Act is “suspicious,” and this burgeoning scandal will only be compounded by questions surrounding the Clinton Foundation’s foreign donations that were received while the former secretary of state served as America’s chief diplomat.
Clinton’s lackadaisical approach to the 2016 campaign was already making high profile Democratic donors nervous before her nascent candidacy was buried by scandalous behavior and questions about her ethics.
In early February, Politico revealed that Clinton’s primary Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, would likely come up short of its goal to raise $1 million from 30 big-dollar donors before Clinton jumped into the race… by 20 donors. Furthermore, the infighting among Clinton allies that has jeopardized the fundraising effort has led some Democrats to question whether Clinton needs to jump into the race early in order to impose some order on competing pro-Clinton organizations. Surely, the last week of news involving Clinton’s record has only made Democrats more apprehensive about the former secretary of state’s acumen as a candidate.
The press may not have yet caught on to the anxiety overtaking the Democratic community, but it is clear that Clinton’s ability to walk into the White House is now an open question.