The margin by which Hillary Clinton lost New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders, a state that has always been a bastion of Clinton success and loyalty, was a devastating loss. Here are five changes the Clinton campaign needs to make in the road ahead. My message here is based in realism, not idealism, and it’s unfortunately cynical. You’re a woman, Hillary Clinton, and as in the rest of life, the same rules don’t apply to you. I hate it too. But, it’s time to act accordingly.
- Stop attacking Sanders. He’s running a positive campaign, he’s inspiring people – it just looks bad. Also, stop getting Bill and Chelsea to attack him. Understand that you are never going to get away with Trump’s bombast, vile words, or cruel criticisms. Understand that having your husband or daughter spin an ugly message just doesn’t work for you. Also understand that you poll way ahead of Sanders in the upcoming States, and denigrating him or his message will only hurt that lead.
- Start apologizing. And I mean, really apologizing. We all think you got a private server because you didn’t want the GOP finding a way to leak personal emails to embarrass you during your run for the nomination. But guess what – it’s worse than you ever thought. Tell us why you did it, accept responsibility for a bad decision, reiterate that you believed you were following the law and that you did not send or receive classified information, and be done with it. Also, disavow the sexist statements of Steinem and Albright. Tell us you are grateful for their support, that you – and we – stand on the shoulders of their activism and their success – but that you want women – and men – to vote for you because they believe you are our greatest hope for this nation.
- Stop treating this like a job interview. Like Obama before him, Sanders is presenting a vision of this country that people can believe in. Trump and Cruz are doing the same. We know you’re the most qualified person for the job. It’s obvious. Stop talking about you, and start talking about “we.”
- Be real. Get up close and personal with us. Share your stories and your struggles. We have watched your life unfold. We know you have struggled. We know you have been attacked. Tell us how you rose above it. Inspire us.
- Be more. It’s unfair, but it’s true. As a woman in a competition constructed, and dominated, by men, you have to be more presidential, more articulate, more knowledgeable, more poised, more inspirational, more …. everything. You have to be better than every other candidate, in every way (and then some) to beat them at this –their – game.