n-HILLARY-CLINTON-large570Clinton campaign smashes into the starting gate

Perhaps Democrats aren’t ready for Hillary.

The former Secretary of State failed to get more than 50 percent of voters against independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Wisconsin Democratic Convention straw poll of the party’s presidential nominating contest.

Clinton tallied just 49 percent support, with Sanders getting 41 percent.

While straw polls are not scientific surveys, they are exercises in the kind of get-out-the-vote organization needed to win primaries and caucuses.

The result echoes Clinton’s performance in 2008.  Despite a massive polling lead and fundraising that made her the presumptive nominee, she failed to excite the party’s radical left-wing base.  Like Barack Obama, Sanders is a little-known U.S. Senator who enjoys the support of the Democratic Party’s leftist activists.

Sanders’ strong showing is bad news for Clinton.  Even if he were to lose every primary and caucus, the better he performs the longer it takes Clinton to clinch the nomination.

Clinton must win each state’s nominating contest by a wide margin to garner a majority of convention delegates early.  A drawn-out nomination battle would drain the Clinton campaign of money needed in November and damage her image as a credible candidate.

Sanders is campaigning on a platform of unreformed socialism and class warfare.  That appeals greatly to the small number of Democratic Party activists who perform much of the volunteering and organizing in the presidential primary.

Questions about the Clinton Foundation’s efforts to cover up massive cash contributions from foreign governments seeking favors, while Clinton was Secretary of State, are contributing to a collapse in her support.

A June CNN poll showed Clinton’s public image at its lowest point in 14 years.  Only 46 percent of Americans view her favorably, while 50 percent say they view her unfavorably.

The Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling also finds Clinton’s leads over potential Republican challengers are far narrower than reported by the media.

Clinton planned to avoid a repeat of her 2008 collapse by campaigning further to the left in this nominating contest.  Sanders’ strong showing will force her to adopt an even more strident brand of liberalism.