There are a few incredible things about Hillary Clinton’s status in New Hampshire right now.
Yes, it is amazing that, for over a month and eight straight polls, the former first lady, US senator and US secretary of state is trailing to a self-described socialist from tiny Vermont. But what is also amazing is the lack of any historical context from her supporters who are in freak-out mode — or that some national headlines seem to accept polling as the only measure of a campaign.
People, no. Just stop.
Yes, Clinton is currently losing New Hampshire, but she is very, very, very, very far away from the state being a lost cause. And the state is not Bernie Sanders’ to lose — at least not yet.
There are three ways to judge a campaign in this invisible primary phase: polling, money, and organization.
As I wrote recently in a cover story for the Globe’s politics section, Capital, what Sanders is doing in the state is impressive. But Hillary has a far better organization in quality, quantity and in terms of proven ability to get out the vote. In the Globe’s tracking chart of the 115 top Democratic endorsements, she has 61 endorsements. Sanders has three.
And we have seen this story before . . . in nearly every New Hampshire primary campaign. In late September 1999, Al Gore moved his operation to Nashville to shake up his losing campaign. In October 2003, John Kerry was videotaped kicking a rock on the day his campaign hit rock bottom and he fired senior staff. In 2007, John McCain was on political death watch when his poll numbers and bank account were near the bottom.
And then there was this woman who ran for president. When the New Hampshire primary polls closed, everyone swears they knew all hope was lost.
Oh right, Clinton pulled off a stunning 2008 New Hampshire primary win.
All of the above examples had a team that was built for the long haul.
Clinton’s 2016 New Hampshire team is built the same way. This is not to suggest it will be easy for Clinton to come back. But if she comes back in New Hampshire, she would be following the rhythm of the first-in-the-nation primary, like she has done before.