Hillary Clinton may still be the Democratic presidential frontrunner, but she suffered an unexpected setback on Tuesday when she lost the Michigan primary to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), shocking not just herself but pundits and pollsters who had predicted an easy victory.
CNN’s New Day co-host Chris Cuomo discussed the unexpected results with former Meet the Press host David Gregory this morning.
Cuomo pointed out that preference polls taken before the primary showed Clinton with a 12-14 point lead over Sanders. But, he added, turnout was low and independents and middle class people who are part of that group of disaffected voters came out strong. Cuomo asked Gregory if that was the tale of the tape.
“But I think there’s something that’s pretty simple here about this environment, you know we talk in elections about the desire for change, ‘change elections,’ this is something that’s much more convulsive, there’s so much more ferment out there, there’s a brokenness to our politics and to government,” Gregory said. He added:
And there’s so many voters who want to see all that simply turned on its head. And I think that’s what fuels a lot of what’s going on with Bernie Sanders and with Donald Trump and here we’re talking about the Democrats. You have voters in Michigan who really responded well to his message about how trade takes away jobs from people in the country, particularly in this part of the country. And this is government not delivering for the people it’s supposed to serve and so people are saying ‘no, we’re not going to take that anymore, we want something really different.’ And I think that part of the enthusiasm gap is what Clinton is dealing with.
After some discussion as to whether or not Clinton misjudged the concerns of Michigan voters, Cuomo asked Gregory whether or not Hillary is facing a similar scenario in Ohio next week.
“David, you can make the point that she didn’t get anything wrong. It’s that she’s not matching the mood of the country. She’s not the face of discontent. That’s what Bernie Sanders is and that’s playing bigger than people expected it to in Michigan. And the problem for her is, Michigan, tell me if I’m wrong, but it looks a lot like Ohio,” Cuomo said.
“Yeah, no, I think that’s right,” said Gregory. “Look, younger voters, a lot of college towns in Michigan, white working-class men. This is an area of strength for Sanders so far, he’s showing that, not so much for Hillary Clinton. That’s also, I think, a warning sign for the general election if she gets that far. So I think that’s exactly right, and again I think all this talk about her becoming inevitable again, and she had the nomination wrapped up—there’s a lot of people who are very enthusiastically behind Bernie Sanders, or to your point, Chris, are still in the mood for big time change. And they say wait a minute, not so fast, we’re not ready to throw in the towel and just turn to the general election and cast aside our concerns. I think a lot of people view it that way.”
Hillary Clinton may still be leading Bernie Sanders by a comfortable margin in the delegate race at this point, but the Michigan primary loss exposes some of her weaknesses that even the liberal media are having a hard time ignoring. Even if she does get the nomination—which I believe she will barring a miracle for Sanders—her path to the White House is far from the shoo-in Democrats once thought it was when she first announced her candidacy.