The Enthusiasm Gap

While Bernie Sanders, who is all but assured that he will lose the Democrats’ nomination for president, is pulling in 10,000 people at campaign rallies (and has for some time); and Donald Trump is doing the same, Hillary Clinton is struggling to get 1,000 people at any of her rallies. Her staff purposely schedules her campaign stops in small to medium venues. Trump and Sanders have had to use outdoor stadiums and arenas to address their fans.

And that is starting to bother the Clinton campaign. At a time when the nominees for the parties ought to be speaking to standing room only crowds at the largest venues around, Hillary is speaking almost one-on-one with a few select individuals; or at least comparatively, that’s what it seems like. It’s worrisome because as Donald Trump lays out a rambling diatribe of what he’s going to do (with no real details), and talks about “making America great again” and how with Trump as our president “I’m going to win so much you’re going to be sick of me winning”, Hillary Clinton screeches that she’s “fighting for you” (which sounds an awful lot like a really bad law office commercial!).

It’s long been known that Hillary is not an exciting candidate. She’s not a very good or strong candidate. She’s weak when it comes to debating, she is a policy wonk that wants to detail every little nuance of her program. She doesn’t understand how to play to a crowd. She doesn’t understand how to draw a crowd, and she makes the most fatal mistake of all. She’s always late for her campaign stops. Donald Trump on the other hand has the crowd eating out of his hand. He’s not nuanced…he’s speaking in generalities. And the Trump campaign makes sure, if he’s scheduled to speak at 1pm, he’s on stage at 1pm. Yes, those differences are really trifling when it comes to running for president, but trust me… they matter. And while Hillary may have the stronger ground game (and probably will throughout the campaign), there is nothing that suggests that she can come close to Trump in enthusiasm. That is the ultimate strength when it comes to getting people out to the polls. Because if people aren’t enthused in you as a candidate, they may like you, they may tell pollsters that they back you, hell, they may even donate to your campaign. But they won’t leave their couches on November 8th and vote for you. Ask Mitt Romney. That’s precisely what happened to him.

And while Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump gear up for two different endings to their campaign… Sanders fading away to the US Senate where he’s been absent for a year; and Trump for the general election in the fall, Hillary is hoping and praying the FBI Primary doesn’t squash her chances to even run against Trump. Even if she’s able to run, will she be so wounded that she won’t be able to fill at 1,000 seat auditorium? We’ll have to wait and see on that one!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!