HILLARY STRUGGLES IN NY: Keeps Clawing to the Top, but Sanders is at Her Heels

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.40 AMIt’s awesome to see Hillary struggle in the elections, but it’s scary to see she is struggling against a socialist.

Hillary Clinton isn’t leaving any line of attack untested in the final week before New York’s Democratic primary, aware that anything short of a big win may breathe new life into Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

Clinton’s all-out approach and rebuttals by Sanders seemed to end a brief truce that took hold in the campaign at the end of last week after increasingly bitter exchanges in which each questioned the other’s fitness for office.

While continuing to jab at Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Clinton on Monday criticized Sanders’ record on guns and immigration and questioned whether he’s thought through his positions.

“I have noticed under the bright spotlight and the scrutiny here in New York, Senator Sanders has had trouble answering questions,” she told reporters at a restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens. “He’s had trouble answering questions about his core issue, namely dealing with the banks. He’s had trouble answering foreign policy questions.”

While Sanders has backtracked from saying Clinton isn’t qualified to be president, he’s kept up an aggressive criticism of Clinton’s ties to Wall Street and other special interests. “In terms of her judgment, something is clearly lacking,” he said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

The back-and-forth leads up to a debate Thursday night in Brooklyn, with both candidates digging in for a fight they may have to carry on until the final primary ballot is cast in June. While Clinton is looking to next Tuesday’s primary in New York and a slate of five northeast primaries the following week to seal the nomination, Sanders has been raising enough money to carry on his campaign into the Democratic National Convention in July.

Decisive Win

A decisive win in New York could help make the primary fight an ever-smaller part of Clinton’s daily agenda and allow her to set her sights solely on a general-election campaign against whomever the Republicans nominate at their convention, also in July.

Sanders, while facing long odds to win the nomination, is coming off a string of six caucus wins and one primary victory. Staying close to Clinton in New York would put a dent in the front-runner’s defenses.

If the New York primary is “within 10 [percentage points] then she’s going to have to do an awful lot of explaining to Democrats and the Republicans will be dancing in the streets,” New York Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, who isn’t affiliated with either campaign, said.

Clinton held a 55 percent to 41 percent lead over Sanders among likely Democratic voters in New York, according in a Wall Street Journal/NBC/Marist poll released Monday. The survey was conducted April 6-10 and has an error margin of 4.2 percentage points.

That’s the same margin as the average of four other polls conducted in the state since late last month, though it’s narrower than her advantage earlier in March, according to data compiled by RealClearPolitics.

Campaigning in New York, Clinton is highlighting her service as the state’s former U.S. senator, whether its talking up economic development in Buffalo or women’s issues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She’s hit Sanders for his opposition to trade deals, which she said would make it more difficult for businesses in upstate and western New York to find markets for their products.

Primary Rules

Sanders is running a game plan much like the one he’s used in other states, focused on getting young people, liberals and working-class voters to turn out by railing against Wall Street, fracking and the influence of money in politics.

“Senator Sanders has to create issues because he’s operating in a place where she is the local candidate,” Sheinkopf said. “He needs to force more ideologically driven voters to turn out for him, to get the people feel a sense of alienation to vote.”

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