Two Opponents For Hillary Clinton And One New Development In The Clinton Scandals

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Bernie Sanders has managed to create excitement since announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, even if few think he can win. Martin O’Malley is expected to announce his candidacy on Saturday. Politico speculates as to who could do Clinton more harm, Sanders or O’Malley:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are both expected to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. Sanders entered the race last month, and O’Malley is expected to make a formal announcement Saturday in Baltimore.

But, perhaps counterintuitively, it’s Sanders — six years older than Clinton, a self-defined socialist with no big money apparatus and positions that appeal to the far left of the party — that Democratic strategists and Clinton insiders expect to pose a bigger threat to the former secretary of state than the mainstream O’Malley, who has been trying to build a national constituency by positioning himself slightly to her left.

“Sanders could be 2016’s Eugene McCarthy,” said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, who in the past has advised Bill Clinton. “He is the populist symbol well-known to his supporters. Clinton is the establishment candidate. Sanders is the insurgent. And O’Malley needs money and has to run a traditional campaign and create a constituency. Sanders’ constituency is just waiting to be told the game is on.”

Later in the article:

In Iowa, activists have a natural affinity for Sanders, who will be campaigning in Kensett, a small town of 250 people, on Saturday.

“Bernie Sanders has something that politicians, especially the new breed, sometimes find wanting, and that is authenticity,” said Kurt Meyer, chairman of the northern Iowa tri-county Democratic Party. “There’s very little varnish there. That’s something that certainly appeals to rural Iowans.” In contrast, Meyer described O’Malley as “an effective administrator who says and does the right things and is a little more new school.”

Some in Clinton’s orbit, however, said Clinton’s biggest vulnerability is appearing as if her time to win was eight years ago — and that moment came and went. These people are inclined to believe that O’Malley, who is still unknown to most voters, could prove to be an appealing new face and present an unflattering contrast to Clinton, who has occupied the public stage for decades.

“Her biggest potential opponent is someone who makes her look like yesterday’s news,” said one Democratic strategist with ties to Clinton world. “Bernie Sanders will be entertaining and interesting to watch and will probably give her fits and starts, but a really good performance by O’Malley could make people wonder if she’s the one.”

It is premature to compare the prospects of O’Malley and Sanders as O’Malley hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy yet, with this expected to occur on Saturday. O’Malley has received considerable favorable coverage both from liberal publications over years, and from the local Iowa press where he has campaigned. I will review this further when O’Malley announces his candidacy. I will also not take sides at this early stage in the process. Either O’Malley or Sanders would make a far better president than Hillary Clinton, and there is still time for additional candidates to enter the race.

Mother Jones has a new article on How Bernie Sanders Learned to Be a Real Politician.

Earlier in the week, Ryan Cooper wrote at The Week that Bernie Sanders is a totally legitimate presidential candidate. And it’s time the press started treating him like one.

In democracy, the voters decide who wins a presidential election. But the media has great influence over which candidates get serious consideration. So when it comes to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the 2016 race, it’s clear that he’s getting a raw deal. It’s long since time the press gave him the respect he deserves…

Indeed, if anything Sanders is more credible than the likes of Paul and Cruz. He has risen markedly in the polls of late, where his support has about tripled since the end of last year. He’s doing particularly well in New Hampshire, where a recent poll put him in second place at 18 percent support. As an opponent of the Iraq War and a longtime advocate for more progressive policy, he has a natural constituency in the liberal left, where he is genuinely admired…

The constant presumptions about the electoral viability of some candidate amounts to an attempt to influence the outcome of the election, whether it’s intentional or not. That might be a justifiable enterprise with someone like former Rep. Ron Paul, who has an extensive history of racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism. But while Sanders has odd hair, and can be grouchy at times, he’s not some random nutter from the Prohibition Party.

Of course there is also more Clinton scandal news. Politico reports that Sydney Blumenthal was paid $10,000 per month while at the Clinton Foundation. Blumenthal has worked as a political adviser to the Clintons, and was banned from working in the State Department in the Obama administration due to the unethical nature of his past work. Little is reported about what he actually did at the Clinton Foundation beyond the Libya emails which recently made the news. These also raised questions of conflicts of interest as Blumenthal was also working with Libyan companies. The Clinton Foundation has long had a reputation for being a slush fund for the Clintons, and has been placed on watch lists by watchdog groups which monitor charities such as Charity Navigator. If it turns out that he was primarily working as a political adviser to the Clintons, or receiving payment without doing work beyond sending Hillary email, as opposed to doing legitimate foundation work, this would provide further evidence of this. There is little doubt that the full nature Blumenthal’s work at the Foundation will be a topic of questioning when he appears before Congress.

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