How did former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton get her mojo back?
First, she finally found a message that encapsulates everything she's been trying to say, but couldn't quite figure out how to deliver.
Clinton's new message of "breaking down all the barriers that hold you back," is short, simplistic and palatable to voters. It's also narrowly-focused, which is what she needed to really pierce through all the clutter and penetrate directly with voters.
Unlike her previous narrative that she's an effective pragmatist -- which didn't say or mean much beyond that she has the knowhow to get things done -- this fresh theme implies so much more. It's a message that's agile, and can be used in the same way that Senator Bernie Sanders broadly applies his message of taking on Wall Street and the establishment, to every other issue in the race.
And similarly to Sanders, Clinton has exercised the same message discipline with her new narrative, driving it home on a plethora of issues. For example, she's applied it to the barriers that result from racism in America to appeal to African Americans, with liberal audiences who are concerned about the barriers that led to the growing income inequality crisis, with women's rights issues and barriers like a lack of pay equity, barriers when it comes immigration issues and myriad others policies.
Additionally, this new campaign theme allows Clinton to draw a deep line in the sand when it comes to defining and drawing a razor-edged contrast with her likely General Election opponent, Donald Trump. It implies that where Trump likes to build up barriers and walls, Clinton aims to tear them down. It suggests that Trump's message is about dividing and Clinton's represents a bulldozer against those divisions.
Secondly, the televised town halls this primary season have played a key role in making Clinton come off as more genuine, authentic and believable at a time when voters and critics alike were questioning Clinton's trustworthiness and honesty. Rather than the typical flashy campaign rallies, prewritten speeches or the 30-second soundbite zinger-infused debates, the town hall events created a more intimate atmosphere for voters to actually get to know the real Clinton and why she's running to be President.
Thirdly, both in 2008 and 2016, it's no secret that Clinton hasn't been the best frontrunner. As an underdog, however, the optics often work in her favor. She seems like a stronger, more real and compelling candidate in this dynamic. In 2008, after her game-changing loss to then-Senator Barack Obama in Iowa, Clinton's captivating performance led to her surprising triumph in New Hampshire.
This cycle, that reawakening dynamic was on full display in Nevada and South Carolina, both of which became comeback elections where Clinton steamrolled her competition. They also illustrated the fact that Clinton's firewall strategy worked-- giving her the resurgence victory that she so desperately needed. These two consecutive wins supercharged Clinton's campaign as she barreled ahead towards seven pivotal wins on Super Tuesday and now on to the rest of the March Madness nationwide cluster of delegate-rich state elections.
Now that Clinton's got her mojo back, the question is, can she capitalize on this new message, her town hall performances and her previous underdog status to finally lock up the Democratic nomination for good? We should have a good idea once we reach the buzzer at the end of this month's Presidential-style March Madness games.