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Hillary's Lead Over Bernie Sanders Evaporates Ahead Of California Primary

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As we reported yesterday citing a former Bill Clinton politcal staffer and advisor, Douglas Schoen, it is looking increasingly likely that Hillary may be replaced by Joe Biden at the Demoratic presidential convention. As the main catalyst, Schoen cited the outcome of the California presidential primary. As he writes, "the inevitability behind Mrs. Clinton’s nomination will be in large measure eviscerated if she loses the June 7 California primary to Bernie Sanders. That could well happen."


This could indeed happen because according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/ Marist poll, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are now deadlocked in California ahead of next week’s high-stakes primary, raising the prospect of a surprise outcome that would give Mr. Sanders confidence to carry his campaign into the party’s convention next month.


According to the WSJ, Clinton leads the Vermont senator by just 2 percentage points among likely Democratic primary voters, 49% to 47%, well within the survey’s margin of error. The poll signals a closer contest than expected just weeks ago.


As Schoen agrees, the fate of Mr. Sanders’s presidential bid rides heavily on the outcome in California—the last major contest of the primary season and the one that awards the most delegates. Clinton can win enough delegates on June 7, when six states hold nominating contests, to claim the Democratic nomination, without winning the primary in California. She essentially has the nomination, thanks to the support of superdelegates, who can switch their allegiance at any time.


Meanwhile, Sanders has been campaigning in California every day since May 21, hoping to build his vote total to bolster his argument to superdelegates ahead of the July nominating convention that he is the party’s stronger candidate. A win in California could also strengthen Mr. Sanders’s hand in pushing for the party platform to better reflect his liberal agenda.


A Clinton loss in California would cast a long shadow over her campaign as she seeks to unify the Democratic Party after an unexpectedly competitive—and divisive—primary process. In particular, Mrs. Clinton needs to make inroads among the younger voters who have fueled Mr. Sanders’s campaign.


“We are seeing a familiar pattern in what is the last major preconvention collision between Clinton and Sanders,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Age is the story in this California tossup. Sanders inspires younger or first-time voters, and Clinton relies upon those who are older or have participated in the past.”


Among Democratic primary voters age 18 to 29, the poll found, 80% favor Mr. Sanders, while Mrs. Clinton garners almost twice his support among primary voters age 45 and older. Mr. Sanders also outpaces the Democratic front-runner by a wide margin, 72% to 28%, among those voters who would be participating for the first time.


Meanwhile, as The Hill reports, the heat is building up on Hillary to hold a press conference: the reason is that Clinton has maintained radio silence for the past 6 months and it has been 180 days since Clinton’s last open press conference, a fact not lost on the members of the media who cover her, or on Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.


I am getting great credit for my press conference today. Crooked Hillary should be admonished for not having a press conference in 179 days.


— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)


CNN’s Jake Tapper broached the topic with the former secretary of State in an interview on Tuesday afternoon, just hours after Trump held a contentious 40-minute press conference where he berated the media for questioning his donations to veterans. “It’s been something like five or six months since you’ve held an actual press conference," Tapper said. "Is that something you will remedy soon?”


“I’m sure we will. I was shocked myself that I’ve done nearly 300 interviews [in 2016],” Clinton replied. “I believe that we do, and we should answer questions. Of course I’m going to, in many, many different types of settings.”


One Clinton ally reiterated a common viewpoint among her allies that the media would not treat her fairly if she hold one. "There's no benefit. It will only hurt her,” the ally said.


The ally said journalists would pepper Clinton with questions about her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State, why she hasn't been able to decisively defeat White House rival Bernie Sanders, her likability and other unflattering subjects.


Hoping to put a quick end to the "witch hunt", one surrogate reverted to the usual excuse, and called the debate over a press conference "a distraction." However, as judging by the latest poll numbers, increasingly more are seeing through Hillary's reticence: an unwillingness to address important questions, which may potentially have campaign-ending consequences if the FBI's criminal probe finds evidence of wrongdoing.






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