Money Woes

One story that broke over the weekend illustrates just how dire the straits for Hillary Clinton really are. As it turns out, she’s been stiffing vendors and services for her campaign events on the tab, and they’re none too pleased about it.

It gets worse, and in a way more ironic, when we learn today that there’s also been something of a snag when it comes to providing her own campaign staff with “affordable, quality health care.” This is particularly bad given the fact that health care is supposed to be one of Hillary’s signature issues and highlights the fact that under her plan, either she or her campaign staff would have to, you know, be punished in some way that hasn’t exactly been made clear quite yet.

In all seriousness, the ramifications of this story branch off into two separate areas: public relations and logistics.

Regarding public relations, this is a nightmare. There is the inherent irony of Clinton fumbling the ball on health care for her own campaign workers given that this has been one of the driving issues for her in the campaign.

One should also keep in mind that this brings into question Hillary’s executive capabilities. While some may claim that running a campaign has nothing to do with how a candidate will perform in office, I tend to think the opposite. Granted, not all election winners are winners in office; we know this all too well. However, running a campaign is also a direct test of someone’s executive capabilities, and letting the well run dry and still running up the debt is not exactly reassuring behavior from someone hoping to be president one day.

But I think the biggest killer here is the deadbeat charge to small businesses. This is a direct negative impact on people whose vote Clinton is hoping to get, and worse than that, these people are not exactly pledged to secrecy. They’re going to talk, and it’s going to get around that people shouldn’t take a job from the Clinton campaign because they won’t get paid. Also, the story itself is likely to cause some voters to rethink who they are going to support.

From a logistical standpoint, we see just how troubled the good ship Clinton really is. We’ve all heard rumors about how bad the debt has been from time to time, but if the Clinton campaign isn’t paying its bills just to stay competitive in media markets, that points to an inability to continue to raise the necessary funds to stay viable for too many more states.

Let’s remember that based upon delegate math, Hillary Clinton needs to essentially sweep all of the remaining contests and needs to do so with a blowout in each. Forget what you may have heard about Indiana being a big deal; they are all big deals, not just the states that Hillary can win.

So for those states where she is clearly winning by a strong margin, like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky, this isn’t a big deal. She can probably get away with not having to focus too much of her resources there. But while I’m sure her campaign and her supporters would like everyone to think that these are the only states that matter, North Carolina, Indiana, Oregon, Montana, and North Dakota are pretty important too. Of those, two are solidly Obama, Montana and North Dakota look as though they should go to Obama, and only Indiana at this point looks to be a toss-up.

When we compare Obama’s seemingly bottomless pockets to Hillary’s dry coffers, this is how things look to wrap up. Hillary’s still going to have to put some money in the states she is safe in, and if Obama continues to campaign as he has been, he’s going to put enough money in those states to make Hillary dump more resources than she wants to.

For those states that are safely Obama’s, he’s going to put time and money into them to the point where he’s going to run up the score on her and force her to suffer vital delegate loss later on down the road.

As for the toss-up, Indiana, that’s going to be where I think the Obama campaign is going to direct a considerable amount of their resources because Clinton HAS to win that state. By flooding that state with media, Obama is going to make Hillary dump her reserves to stay competitive. If she still manages to win the state, it will likely be after taking heavy coffer losses, and will considerably weaken her ability to compete in later states. If she loses, she loses, and just about any momentum she might get from Pennsylvania is going to be all but crushed, and she’s still going to be broke afterward.

Now, it’s completely plausible that Hillary Clinton might loan her campaign another couple of million dollars. But this will hurt also because it is unlikely that she’s going to be able to loan enough to keep her campaign afloat, plus there will be the added benefit of more negative media as her loan will likely eat up a few more news cycles about how her campaign is flailing.

The other option, inasmuch as you can call it that, is to simply raise more money. Sure, I suppose that’s reasonable, except that she has not been able to keep up with Obama so far, and I don’t see any indications of that changing much. Plus, unlike Obama whose campaign is primarily fueled by small sum donors, Hillary’s campaign is funded more by big donors who may already be tapped out.

The other thing to think about is the chance that these bigger donors are going to continue donating to her campaign. Fact of the matter is, people don’t like donating to campaigns they don’t think are going to win. With Hillary’s actual chances of even being the nominee, let alone being the president, as low as they are, a lot of donors may see a donation to her campaign as too big of a risk; too much like throwing money away.

Can she still recover? I guess so, but this is just another drop in the bucket that has “NO” written in big, bold letters on the side.

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