What's Hillary doing? By Adam Schultz for Hillary for America

Hillary Does Not Have a Winning Message
photo by Adam Schultz for Hillary for America

cross-posted on HuffPostPol

Mrs. Clinton and her team say they always anticipated the race would tighten, with campaign manager Robby Mook telling colleagues last spring that Mr. Sanders would be tough competition. Yet they were not prepared for Mr. Sanders to become so popular with young people and independents, especially women, whom Mrs. Clinton views as a key part of her base. [New York Times]

TO UNDERSTAND the Donald Trump candidacy you need to watch his second ad. All the policy papers in the world can’t do what a direct, easy to understand message with simple language that reaches the most people can do. For reasons no one can explain, Hillary Clinton still hasn’t learned this lesson.

But at least John Podesta told David Brock to put a sock in it on Twitter. After Chelsea’s attack created more blow-back than support, maybe they learned something.

It still leaves unsolved political challenges for Clinton.

There is a gender gap as well — and not the one that favors Clinton among baby boomer women. Men under 35 support Sanders by 4 percentage points. Women back him by almost 20 points. The possibility of breaking new ground by electing the first female president apparently carries less persuasive power among younger women than their mothers’ generation. [USA Today/Rock the Vote poll]

Unfortunately for Republicans, Millennials prefer Democrats 41% to 28%. However, Hillary Clinton continues to struggle with younger people, especially young women. If there weren’t such a brawl on the Republican side last week the USA/Rock the Vote poll might have gotten more attention.

Hillary’s message isn’t working because people, especially young women, are not identifying with her or the message she’s sending.

It started back in the summer.

It’s here she could learn something from Donald Trump. Trump ad transcript

“We are going to take our country and we’re going to fix it. We’re going to make it great again. We are going to fix our health care. We are going to take care of our vets. We are going to fix our military. We are going to strengthen our borders. We’re going to build a wall, but we’re going to strengthen our borders. We are going to make it great again. We’re going to make it greater than ever before.” – Donald Trump [campaign ad]

No one is going to have to reach for a dictionary, with the message of competence and strength obvious. Trump’s simplistic message is easily digestible even in when his long form message is fact-free and of high carb, word salad value. No one is confused about what Trump has been saying from the start of his campaign.

Hillary Clinton phoned in to “Morning Joe” on Friday, with the contrast to Trump stark. A snippet of the exchange

Mika Brzezinski: … Having said that, my relationship with following your campaign has been rather complicated. I tell you, on the one hand, I still don’t understand your message. What is it clearly? and I’ll ask your advisers and supporters, “What’s her message,” and they’ll go on and on and on and on, which is in some ways a great tribute to all the work you’ve done but it wasn’t clear. Having said that, I’ve also said on the air I would also vote for you if you won. So let me ask you this, what clearly is the message of your campaign and is it authentic, unlike the way Vice President Biden alluded to the other day?

Hillary Clinton: Well, look, I’m running because we have to build on the progress that I think we’ve made under President Obama. Not let it get ripped away. And I have a lot of respect for my Democratic opponents but I believe I know what it takes and I have what it takes to do the job of president and that means every part of it. […]

Clinton then went on to list all the things she wanted to do, much of her plans already complete with policy papers.

But did I miss something here? Hillary Clinton told Brzezinski she’s running for president to (basically) solidify President Barack Obama’s accomplishments by continuing the progress. That’s great, but it’s not clear messaging on why she’s running, personally. She just can’t seem to articulate in a way that resonates with younger women and independents.

So why did Hillary Clinton couch her candidacy in terms of President Obama to Mika Brzezinski?

Ezra Klein thinks “Hillary Clinton doesn’t trust you”

In the debates, she’s frequently dominated the stage simply by knowing more than anyone else on it — which is one reason it was so counterproductive for the Clinton campaign to limit the number of Democratic debates to six and ensure they would only be showed at ridiculously inconvenient times. But that, too, stemmed from their mistrust of a press and an electorate that they worry won’t respond to Clinton’s best qualities.

When I heard Brzezinski say she had a “complicated” relationship following Mrs. Clinton’s campaign I remembered the article I wrote back in October, “Women for Hillary, It’s Complicated.”

Clinton obviously knows why she’s running but for whatever reason she’s sending sound bite bait out to Obamaworld that “If you like him, you’ll like me too.” It’s jarring.

Has Hillary Clinton reduced her message to what she thinks potential voters want to hear instead of how she feels about the presidency and what it means to her personally?

As true as it is that Hillary can prevail no matter what happens in Iowa, that she continues to lead Sanders nationally by 20 points, over the last year she’s racked up a lot of negatives along the way.

And a campaign that was thought to be a magnet for women just isn’t.