Hillary versus Bernie: rumble in the democrat jungle

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Daniel Maibenco, Columnist

 

Only a few months ago, we assumed that Hillary Clinton would all but lock up the Democratic nomination. Yes, there were some “scandals” but nothing seemed to get out of hand. At least, not yet. No one seemed to have the poise or momentum to challenge her.

Today, that assumption is all but false. Bernie Sanders is rising in the Democratic polls. In New Hampshire, he leads Hillary Clinton by almost 20 points. He continuously draws bigger and bigger crowds. He consistently gains more support as time goes on. That’s quite an astounding feat. Sanders didn’t seem to have any chance of gaining momentum in his presidential campaign. Now he looks like he could lockup his place as the Democratic frontrunner.

The question is: why are people flocking to Sanders? Hillary has been a much more visible and poignant politician than Sanders. She also has her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to help her. So why is she struggling now? Why is her support starting to fade?

Here are two of the most damning reasons:

To start, her email scandal has gone from mere allegations to a massive thorn in her side. The issue of Secretary Clinton using her own private email server instead of the government’s is simple, yet made out to be so convoluted. The law is the law, but I notice that she thinks she is exempt from the rules.

Others feel the same way. I don’t care if she set up her own email server for own convenience or for some other nefarious purpose. The reality is that she more than likely compromised sensitive government material. That point should never be deemed irrelevant. Her emails are in cyberspace, but I believe her emails were never secure.

How is she to know if someone monitored or hacked her computer over the past few years? She doesn’t. The main point is that she willingly compromised U.S. documents that can hold sensitive, vital information on U.S. interests.

The scandal is an issue for Secretary Clinton because she has not willingly cooperated with Congress. Secretary Clinton has been so stubborn and unwilling to address this problem that it has blown up in her face. Now even many of her liberal supporters question her integrity and honesty.

Another detrimental issue for Secretary Clinton is the 2012 Benghazi Attack.  On Sept. 11, 2012, terrorists stormed the U.S. Embassy in Libya, killing four Americans. It is alleged that Secretary Clinton or her aides did not act on calls to beef up security months prior to the attack. In its aftermath, she tried to claim that the attack was a spontaneous event, not a well-coordinated terrorist attack.

That ploy failed. I know that the investigation is still ongoing, but this makes her look blindly ignorant at best. When questioned by Congress, she said “does it really matter?”

I truly believe those four words will haunt her. All Americans’ lives matter. Anyone who works in government or is a veteran should feel insulted. Secretary Clinton or someone in her inner circle chose not to listen to their colleagues in Libya. Someone needs to be held accountable for the deaths of four Americans.

Now, if these scandals show Hillary Clinton to be less than ideal, what makes Bernie Sanders stand out? For starters, he comes off as a genuine person. He is simply mounting a presidential campaign and nothing more than that. I see that as benefit to him, given that Secretary Clinton solely focused on building up her presidential legacy, even before it truly has begun.

Another quality of Sanders is that he is welcoming to any and all media questions. Whether they questions are about his policies or his views, he gives some sort of answer and then moves on. The questions remain about how the U.S. will finance his proposed plans, but Sanders himself has come off as genuine.

Since Clinton has several scandals to worry about, she picks and chooses what she addresses. Having a lot of baggage is never a good thing, but I see that on the presidential trail, the problem is all but magnified.

I think that Sanders can almost say what he wants at this point, as long as it doesn’t stir up strife and discord – in which case Vice President Joe Biden just might scoop up the nomination. Clinton has to constantly address issues from her past. I know that until all the allegations about her past conduct is settled, she will not be able to escape it.

At the end of the day, both Clinton and Sanders are great politicians. However Clinton is not a master in the art of lying. Some people will always believe in everything she says, but others will not. Due to that notion, I believe that a shadow of doubt and suspicion is brewing within her campaign. If she cannot shake the scandals off, she will not win.

Sanders, to me, is the better choice because he seems sincere. He has no scandals to deal with. I may be conservative, but I am willing to listen to anyone who has shown me they will not be engrossed by possible presidential power or become corrupt.