Headline from today’s online edition of The New York Times:
After Michigan Loss, Hillary Clinton Sharpens Message on Jobs and Trade
Clinton Retools Message On Job and Trade Deals
The difference between the two is interesting to consider.
On one hand, the online version is less charitable, as it mentions the loss in Michigan.
On the other hand, “sharpens” is more charitable than “retools”, since, clearly, the former suggests something that is the same, only now sharper, and the latter suggests something that has been fundamentally changed.
This was no sharpening (my emphasis added in bold):
DETROIT — From the start of her presidential campaign 11 months ago, Hillary Clinton has presented an upbeat assessment of an improving economy, saying Wall Street and corporations would be held accountable, but must be part of the solution for all Americans to benefit from the country’s prosperity.
“I want to be the president for the struggling, the striving and the successful,” she often said…
[Michigan’s] voters, scarred by the free trade deals associated with Mrs. Clinton and her husband that have been widely blamed for the loss of American manufacturing jobs, delivered a surprise victory to Mr. Sanders, who railed here against “disastrous trade agreements written by corporate America.”…
Stung by the bad showing, Mrs. Clinton was already recalibrating her message, even altering her standard line before the Michigan race had been called. “I don’t want to be the president for those who are already successful — they don’t need me,” she said at a rally Tuesday night in Cleveland. “I want to be the president for the struggling and the striving.”
This is just the kind of thing that explains why, in an ABC News/Washington Post poll from late January 2016, only 36% of Democrats find Hillary Clinton to be trustworthy.
I’m reminded of how, when Bernie Sanders entered the race, the media narrative never took him seriously as a candidate who could win the Democratic Party nomination, but there was considerable talk about how he could nudge Hillary to the left of her traditionally centrist positions.
And, while it’s tempting to conclude that the shift in Hillary’s message mentioned above is proof that this is happening, the very fact that she changed her message to hopefully improve her chances of getting elected erodes our trust that she won’t change it back if she IS elected.