MSNBC anchors Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie said on air Monday that the 2016 Iowa caucuses appear to resemble the 2008 contest for Hillary Clinton in a negative way when she lost to Barack Obama, whose energetic, populist campaign, they argued, resembles the support her main challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt), has today.
“I was thinking, Hillary Clinton wakes up in Iowa, it's like 2008 all over again and not in a good way,” Guthrie said. “I mean, you have this kind of upstart campaign that came from nowhere, and suddenly she's in a real race here.”
“The Clinton family's going to wonder will they ever win this state of Iowa,” Todd said. “They can never win Iowa here!”
Todd then said that a loss for Clinton in Iowa on Monday would be detrimental to the Democratic frontrunner's bid for the White House.
“A loss, the morale, the staff angst … The amount of repercussions that come with a loss. It's not just, ‘OK, let's move in.’ It's ugly.”
Guthrie added that Clinton cannot rely on a likely win in New Hampshire, the next state to vote in the primary, because Sanders leads in the polls there by more than 20 points and is expected to win the state.
Clinton and Sanders are virtually tied in Iowa, which is set to hold its caucuses Monday night as the first state to vote in 2016. Both candidates are within two or three points of each other in recent polls, indicating that either one can win the Hawkeye State.
Clinton was long considered the clear frontrunner to win the Democratic presidential nomination, but Sanders, a self-declared socialist, has ridden a wave of populist support in recent months to pose a legitimate challenge to the former secretary of state.
While Sanders has been surging, Clinton has been hurt by the ongoing FBI investigation to determine if she mishandled classified information over her private email server while serving as secretary of state. She has also had to battle low poll numbers when it comes to her honesty and trustworthiness, in large part because of the controversy surrounding her role in the aftermath of the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Sanders has also accused Clinton of being too close to Wall Street and sharing corporate interests in a primary that has largely focused on countering income inequality by targeting the country's largest banks and wealthiest citizens.
The Clinton campaign has maintained it will win the nomination even with losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, arguing that Clinton has a “firewall” in the next group of states to vote with far more support than Sanders among minority voters in the South.