Robby Mook’s Chill Pill

At Vox Jonathan Allen has released a six-page memo from Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook that he says is aimed at jittery pro-Hillary elites in Washington who are freaking out over the endless drumbeat of small but damaging headlines about her use of private emails at the State Department, and Bernie Sanders’ strong early showing in polls and crowd sizes.

I’d say it’s likely the memo was aimed as much at the MSM as any other “elites.” It went pretty heavily into the demographic and geographical advantages any Democratic candidate is likely to have in a presidential general election. That’s a little surprising coming from a well-known semi-“centrist” front-runner, since it suggests somebody like Sanders could win as well. But perhaps it’s really intended to undermine the panicky thought that Democrats needs to pull somebody else into the race (presumably Joe Biden) in case HRC’s troubles worsen.

The memo does reinforce the important Democratic talking point that the GOP is doing absolutely nothing to improve its standing with the demographic groups most party analysts have pointed to as crucial testing grounds. Said Republicans are hoping, and many are expecting, that no Democrat is going to be able to match Barack Obama’s 2008-2012 performance among “Obama coalition” voters. And so again, you have the rather odd phenomenon of Team HRC stressing the partisan rather than the personal strenght of their candidate.

The memo only hints at Clinton’s big advantage in the nomination race: her national campaign infrastructure, which will be building on her national strength. The reality is that Clinton could be that very rare candidate who could lose Iowa and New Hampshire and still win the nomination. Mook isn’t going to come out and say that, naturally, but the thought that Bernia-mania is geographically confined to the usual lefty stomping grounds will be a not-so-subliminal message his campaign will be sending out every time another big blue-state crowd assembles for Sanders, or another poll shows him doing well in IA or NH.

Mook does make one practical point that often gets lost: HRC’s success in raising “hard money” for her official campaign does give her an advantage over Super-PAC dependent Republicans because it comes with vastly lower ad rates. But at this point money is the least of HRC’s problems. Looking poised in adversity and keeping the focus on issues and on the GOP is precisely what she needs to do, and Mook’s chill pill memo serves that purpose pretty well.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.