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Hillary
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Hillary

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

While the Republicans certainly have their hands full with Trump, it is becoming clearer every day that the Democrats’ plate is also getting very full as well; although theirs is with the candidate they generally had expected to be the party’s nominee. The controversies surrounding Hillary’s run for the White House are not going away very fast; in fact they are escalating. She is now trailing Bernie Sanders in the polls for the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucus. Her campaign staff even has indicated publicly that Clinton is poised to run a Southern strategy for the nomination essentially conceding the first two states to Sanders. Meanwhile Hillary faces the specter of Joe Biden’s still possible nomination. Pollsters have declared that a possible Biden candidacy is even being reflected in the polls, demonstrating the threat he—as an undeclared candidate—already has created for the Clinton campaign.

Much of the Hillary cloud stems from an image that she has perpetuated almost until today that she was invulnerable to criticism for her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. Now, it also has been disclosed that this server was not adequately secured to receive the classified documents transmitted to her on it, and also that President Clinton and Chelsea had access to the same server. Part of Hillary’s problem with this emailgate issue is the nature of her responses to the matter and her haughty and inadequate approach to admitting and disclosing her personal failings. This is what pollsters have suggested are driving her numbers down.

Three things will be readily apparent by the latter part of October. On October 13 the Democrats will hold their first presidential debate; on October 22, Hillary is scheduled to testify before the Benghazi Committee in Congress; and by the beginning of October there should be a decision made by Joe Biden if he is going to enter the presidential sweepstakes. While the Benghazi Hearings are unlikely to produce any startling new information, it will the sight of Clinton testifying before Congress and again needing to defend herself against allegations of mishandling of the Department of State that will evoke the likely negative publicity. It undoubtedly will also give some Republican committee members the opportunity to go directly after her email fiasco in a public, very heavy way.

Barring an enormous upheaval within the Democratic Party, Hillary is still the likely nominee. There are many Democrats who now are praying fervently that the GOP nominate Trump.  Only then, when the race would be grossly polarized—and scary—do they believe that Hillary definitely will win. This is hardly the scenario which with Democrats had approached the 2016 presidential election.

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