You can’t win in 2016 by hiding from the media.
It remains to be seen how long Hillary Clinton can continue to lead the race to the White House by dodging the press.
Clinton is in a unique position. She isn’t an incumbent, but having been an active First Lady for two terms, a Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, she needs no name recognition. Thanks to how much conservatives hate her, she is the best known candidate on both sides of the aisle.
She has made a strong run for the democratic candidacy before so her framework is built. She just has to dodge the slings and arrows of previous scandals to keep her head up without getting it chopped off.
She quit the Secretary of State job to keep herself out of the headlines for a time before making her second run for the White House. She should have stepped down a little earlier so she wouldn’t have had the Benghazi attack on her resume. After all, searching for Benghazi documents is how her penultimate scandal was discovered. When people searched for her involvement in the preparation for and response to the attacks, they discovered she used private emails to communicate official business. That makes trustworthy record keeping almost impossible.
Add to that the number of donors to the Clinton Foundation who are in political and moral gray areas and she has more than enough scandal to keep a team of press agents busy.
Clinton’s response has been to deny access to journalists. She is communicating by release and making a few policy speeches to give herself some cover without disappearing from the spotlight.
But how long will the media allow her to control the campaign? Because there are so many in the field, Republican candidates are pushed back and forth and have to seek media availability to make points and answer claims made by opponents.
Clinton’s main opponents are not even able to mount an attack against her.
Martin O’Malley had enough problems as Governor of Maryland to keep him from being taken seriously and Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist. I know the primaries push candidates to political extremes to win the nomination, but they have never pushed a candidate that far.
So Clinton is able to name the game for now. She will make speeches on how puppies are cute and the benefits of being nice while avoiding topics like national security, education and Wall Street reforms.
Clinton is playing a good short game. However, leaving her unchallenged through a primary only makes her an easy target for a Republican opponent. Whoever survives the GOP Battle Royal will be a tougher and tested. They won’t be as susceptible to attacks on issues because they will have already faced those and come out on top.
Clinton is running like winning the nomination is in question. But these short-term strategies have long-term implications that don’t bode well for Democrats hoping to stay in control of the executive branch.