Hillary supports keep telling those of us who are considerably more reluctant to jump on her bandwagon that Clinton simply has a perception problem. If people really knew her…if the media (and especially FOX News) would just give her a fair shake…if we quit drinking the GOP Kool-aid…then we’d see how genuine, relatable, trustworthy, intelligent, capable,…she is. The trouble with this argument is, the more we hear it the less inclined we are to believe it. I know, that’s not fair but that’s the way the cookie crumbles so deal with it.
Clinton needs to do more than draw a beer if she wants the Tech Gens (AKA voters age 18-40) to care about her election. And, unless she cares about Tech Gen voters she will lose the election. Time is running out. The endorsements from Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will not be enough to sway 18 to 40 year olds to vote for Clinton, especially when doing so feels like compromising one’s principles. Frankly, Tech Gen voters give little weight to endorsements, ad campaigns, a deep resume, or big money. In fact, those elements tend to contribute to the negative impression and make her less relatable. Clinton, more than Trump, must change her base message if she plans to attract more that the party base come election day.
The biggest negative Clinton carries at the moment is the real or perceived attitude that she’s “owed” the election. Some thinks she has the attitude because she stood by her husband when he was a cad. Others think she has it because the DNC promised her the presidency so long as she raised money for them which she most assuredly has done. Still others think she’s counting on Wall Street to buy it for her. Very few believe she’s earned it the old fashioned way–through hard work. Ironically, if she continues to harp on the part of her message which focuses on what SHE has done or what SHE is going to do, even fewer voters are going to give a damn–deciding instead that SHE doesn’t need their help.
To win come fall, Hillary Clinton must cut the word “I” out of her vocabulary, unless it’s followed by “am sorry” or “am saddened by”. She needs to remind the electorate–just like Sanders did, that we are in this together, that accomplishing our goals will take every single one of us, that Government of the People means the people MUST get involved. She can’t continue to allow the perception to be perpetuated that SHE is a one-person show. Every single chance she get she needs to surround herself with family–not necessary her family but American families–the general public, not other politicians, or the wealthy elite. I’m not saying put her in a kitchen to bake cookies. But, I am saying maybe she should be seen reading a children’s book to some kindergartners. Maybe she needs to visit a VA hospital, buy a plum at a a farmer’s market, or check out an internet cafe. Let her stand at a podium looking presidential during the debates but in the meantime, she ought to be seen at a town meeting that’s held in a school gym rather than some ritzy hotel. The walls Hillary must endorse are the ones that are easily washed away; she should let her hair get a little wind blown, kick off her shoes, role up her pants, take a walk in the gulf sand and join some children building a castle, children whose futures she wants to protect.
Damn right Clinton has a perception problem. But, if she’s going to overcome it, we need more than words of assurance that it shouldn’t exist. If we are going to connect with Hillary Clinton, if she is going to successfully win our votes, we have to believe she wants, sincerely wants, to connect with us. We have to believe she wants our input, not simply our vote. We need to see her reaching out, tuning in, and rolling up her sleeves to join the battles WE have already been fighting. If Clinton is going to win this election, the talking points and talking heads can’t be focused on Hillary. Her language, her demeanor, her message must shift the focus away from herself and onto hard working, middle class Americans. In order to unify voters Clinton must be about doing–together–what is right for America. If this is not who Hillary is, or who she is willing or able to become, she will lose the election.