Hillary Clinton’s campaign is confronting an emerging risk to her presidential ambitions – if Donald Trump continues to trail her in opinion polls many Democrats may simply stay at home on Election Day.
Without enough popular support, Clinton would enter the White House lacking the political capital she would need to drive through her agenda. In the worst-case scenario it could cost her the presidency if Republicans turn out in big numbers on Nov. 8.
Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has spent much of her campaign sounding the alarm over the prospect of a President Trump. She has struggled to lay out a compelling vision for her presidency and has failed to excite key constituencies, including millennials, minority voters and liberal Democrats.
Opinion polls show that many voters are backing Clinton primarily to stop Trump, the Republican nominee, from getting into the White House. If they believe he has no hope of winning, then what would their motivation be to turn up at the polls?
In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll about half of all Clinton supporters said they were backing her to keep Trump from winning. By contrast, just 36.5 percent said it was because of Clinton’s policies and just 12.6 percent said it was because they like her personally.
While there is a kernel of validity to this theory, this really showcases the real problem for Mrs. Bill: she’s not inspiring even Democrats. The media is focusing on dissension within the GOP ranks and electorate, but they completely ignore the fact that the other side isn’t exactly singing in the streets over its nominee.
This year, I think it might be safe to say that the only people staying home on Election Day decided to do so long ago. Those fueled by animosity for Trump or Hillary are still motivated, if the 24/7 whining on social media is any indication. The voters Hillary desperately needs to get out the door on November 8th are hive-mind Democrats, who generally vote “D” blindly but have been numbed into apathy by her lack of likability. The Bernie supporters probably aren’t going to rally in big numbers for her, but this ploy may be aimed at scaring them into action.
The rumors that regular, disgruntled Americans who aren’t always reached by pollsters may turn out in large numbers for Trump may also be weighing on Team Clinton. There is nothing to prove that this is going to happen, but if there were ever a year when something like that could come into play and alter the outcome of an election, this would be it.
In the end, however, this is pretty boilerplate Democrat fare: they have to fire up their voters by scaring them about Republicans rather than offering anything positive about their own candidates.