Clinton’s challenge: convert tepid support into enthusiasm

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OXNARD, United States: Hillary Clinton, about to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, rallied with supporters Saturday in this California farmtown. But the real party occurred in nearby Los Angeles, where thousands of young voters gathered to see their hero Bernie Sanders. Both politicians have been criss-crossing the largest state in the union ahead of Tuesday’s primary, and while it is Clinton who is all but certain to prevail in their national battle, Sanders still appears to draw larger and more energized crowds. The stark difference—Clinton speaking to hundreds in a high school gymnasium in Oxnard, Sanders inspiring thousands at the Los Angeles Coliseum—highlights the challenges of a candidate who turns towards her head-to-head battle with Donald Trump with only tepid support from many Democrats. “I would say there’s some Hillary fatigue out there,” Jeremy Jackson, a 39-year-old teacher in Oxnard, told Agence France-Presse, reflecting on the more than three decades in which Clinton has been in America’s public eye. “Plus, people don’t like a common-sense approach. They want extreme.” Clintonites don’t have “all the pizzazz, but that doesn’t mean we’re not as enthusiastic,” added a federal law expert in Oxnard who identified herself as Erica B, age 35. “We’re tired of having to defend Hillary, so we’re not always super vocal.” Clinton’s campaign exudes party establishment—she was a US senator, served as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, and was first lady in Bill Clinton’s presidency, while Sanders epitomizes the scrappy outsider. She would make history as the country’s first female commander in chief, but even that milestone would be tempered after Barack Obama’s landmark achievement eight years ago, when he became the first African-American commander in chief.

AFP

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