The Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti said Wednesday that he would hesitate to call Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign déjà vu to her 2008 campaign, mainly because of the differences between then-rival Barack Obama and current rival Bernie Sanders.
For one, Continetti said, the establishment is less divided in 2016 than it was in 2008, when the party was split between Obama and Clinton.
“You can recall in 2008, the party was divided. Barack Obama had a lot of party leaders, a lot of major donors behind him heading into Iowa. He had Oprah, remember. So there was a real sense of a cultural momentum that he had behind him. Of course Hillary was plainly upset there,” Continetti said in an appearance on Fox News.
Continetti attributed some of Clinton’s establishment support to Sanders’s far left position.
“This time, the whole party is behind Hillary, it’s really Bernie getting the left of the left. I don't think that is the same as in 2008,” Continetti said.
Continetti also noted that, in comparison to the polarized 2008 election, Democratic voters are more inclined to support Clinton than they are Sanders, as are liberal intellectuals.
“Democrats like her, and … the normal Democratic voter is still much more inclined to support Hillary Clinton than Bernie Sanders. I would also say this, a lot of the important liberal intellectuals, the op-ed writers and such, in 2008 they were split, and a lot of them were for Obama. This time around they're almost all for Hillary,” Continetti said.
Still, Continetti said that the race in Iowa is “a jump ball,” and that Clinton's campaign is trying to lower expectations in order to build momentum into New Hampshire, a state Sanders will likely win.
“If you look at what her campaign is saying, they're trying to downplay expectations for Iowa, so that if she posts a good result or even wins on caucus night,” Continetti said. “Well, momentum will be huge going out of Iowa.”
Continetti said that if Clinton loses both Iowa and New Hampshire, her campaign will go into panic mode.
“If she wins Iowa, and then if she loses New Hampshire, which I think seems likely since Sanders is from a neighboring state and has a big lead there, then at least we won't get the stories about the fall of the house of Clinton,” Continetti said. “Now, if she loses Iowa and then loses New Hampshire, well, it is panic time for the Clinton campaign.”