By Arun Kumar
Washington, Aug 23 (IANS) If Republicans are hoping to ride out the tornado that Donald Trump has come to be, Hillary Clinton’s troubles reflected in her falling poll numbers are posing a dilemma for the Democrats too.
While the brash real estate mogul’s popularity seems to be growing by the day to the chagrin of the Republican establishment, the former secretary of state has much more to contend with than just her self-proclaimed socialist rival Bernie Sanders.
The 73-year-old independent senator from Vermont seeking Democratic nomination is drawing huge crowds everywhere with his tirade against the “billionaire class” and fast closing the gap with Clinton in the polls.
But it is the controversy surrounding her use of a private server for sending emails during her four year stint at the State Department that is denting Clinton’s image and adding to her growing trust deficit even as she remains the favourite of her party.
“Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are like a leaky faucet: drip…drip… drip,” as a pollster quipped after a recent poll found Clinton and Trump with the worst overall favourability ratings and the lowest scores for being honest and trustworthy in three swing states.
Clinton’s flippant comments about the email controversy haven’t helped her any. She first joked that she had taken to Snapchat because messages on it disappear instantly. And when asked by reporters if she had wiped her server clean before handing it over to the Justice Department and FBI investigators, Clinton responded with “What, like with a cloth or something?”
Clinton’s falling poll numbers have also given an added impetus to speculation about Vice President Joe Biden jumping into the presidential race.
Biden, who begun exploring a presidential run a few weeks ago, reportedly huddled Saturday with Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, the rising liberal star, who hasn’t endorsed any candidate for the presidential race so far.
Biden’s entry into the race could really complicate things for the former first lady as several recent polls show the vice president more trustworthy than her.
But if he does enter, he will have a lot of catching up to do in the money race too.
According to latest Federal Election commission filings Clinton has already amassed a war chest of $67.5 million second only to $120 million raised by her Republican rival Jeb Bush. Republican frontrunner Trump has raised only $1.9 million, all on his own.
Notwithstanding her troubles, numerous Indian Americans are involved in supporting the Clinton campaign in various ways, according to Frank Islam, a member of her campaign’s national finance committee
“Many have given campaign contributions. Several have contributed and are raising money; and others are volunteering for the campaign,” said the Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, born Indian-American investor.
“Historically, Clinton has always had a very good rapport with the Indian American community,” Islam said noting, “When she first ran for Senate in 2000, the community overwhelmingly supported the then first lady.”
During her unsuccessful 2008 presidential run too, she had a strong Indian American backing, he told IANS.
Clinton further strengthened her Indian American ties when she was secretary of state by placing a strong emphasis on building better relations between India and the US, Islam said.
Apart from the Indian community, after six weeks of campaigning Clinton remains the best-known and best-liked candidate for Democratic voters nationally, according to a Gallup poll.
A new national CNN/ORC poll also shows Clinton still leading in head-to-head match-ups with three top Republican candidates: Jeb Bush 52/43; Donald Trump 51/45; Scott Walker 52/46.
But her declining numbers do pose a cause of worry for Clinton’s dream of shattering the glass ceiling.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected] )