The New York primary is now about a week away, and the candidates are busy trying to eat as many hot dogs, slices of pizza, pieces of cheesecake, and bagels as they can possibly fit in their mouths and still be able to campaign for months. Trying especially hard are the campaign’s three New Yorkers, whom many New Yorkers have already had years to contemplate. We’ve taken a stroll through the state’s feelings about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Let’s finish up with a look at voters’ various opinions about the only candidate to actually have represented them: Hillary Clinton.
New Yorkers know her — and like her. They really, really like her.
The former New York senator still has a pretty big lead in the state’s primary polls. The Huffington Post polling average gives her 54 percent of the vote, while Bernie Sanders has 38 percent. The fact that 68 percent of Democrats like her, according to one recent poll, suggests those eligible to vote for her in next week’s primary seem to feel pretty good about the eight years she spent representing the state (only 12 percent of Republicans like her, according to the same poll, but New York has a closed primary).
New York City likes her most of all
The city particularly benefited from her legislative work after 9/11. Clinton once told WNYC that the terrorist attack "marked me, and made me feel that was my number one obligation as a senator." She co-sponsored legislation to get 9/11 responders health care, and often reached out for additional federal funds for recovery. She also helped out those in the financial industry in the city — two activities that she once tried, and failed, to link at a debate: "So, I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked," she said. "Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country."
... But they might like her frozen accomplishments even more
Less importantly, but also less depressingly, Clinton facilitated the creation of a wondrous, humanity-helping invention during her tenure: Wine ice cream, made by Mercer's Dairy in upstate New York. "Our wine ice cream is a direct result of Sen. Clinton," the owner said earlier this month. "She invented it with us. It's all because of her."
She still can’t figure out the subway
Both Democratic presidential candidates have been engaging in a who-is-the-real New Yorker duel in front of the delegates. This Dyckman-measuring contest culminated in an underground talent competition, where both politicians demonstrated their subway skills. All they ended up proving is that politicians are definitely not always like us — not that that is a bad thing.
First, the New York Daily News asked Bernie Sanders how you get on the subway. "You get a token and you get in," he said. Clinton, eager to prove that she knew more about the subway system than her opponent for some reason, went to get on the 4 at the Yankee Stadium stop. She had to swipe her MetroCard five times before the turnstile submitted. However, as the head of the Straphangers Campaign told The New York Times, that wasn’t necessarily a sign of weakness, given the finicky nature of the MTA gods. "For a lot of people, that would be a good day," he said. "Some days you have to find a rabbi or a priest to get the turnstile to let you in."
Back in 2000, when Clinton was running for the Senate, her opponent took a trip on the 6. Rick Lazio noted that while he was clearly a man of the people, Clinton was busy taking "chauffeured limousines." He also failed a subway pop quiz, however, when asked how much a MetroCard costs. "I think it's about $3," he said. At the time, the cheapest (tourist-favored) MetroCard was $4.
But there were hopefully few people who cared, as having an intimate understanding of the New York subway system is not a prerequisite for federal office, so the Constitution tells us.
Clinton proved how to win votes and defeat "spoiled brats" in debate
There were plenty of factors working against Republicans in 2000 — the fact that Rudy Giuliani decided not to run at the last possible moment being a big one — but in hindsight, the first debate between Clinton and Lazio often gets credited with solidifying her lead. You can watch the moment in this vintage Daily Show clip, in which Jon Stewart looks somewhat unqualified to be making fun of Lazio for looking young enough to be proud of his fake ID.
Although the moment doesn’t look terribly offensive anymore, given that Americans are now desensitized to hearing humbledickbragging at debates, Lazio came off as "aggressive" and "bullying."
"IN HER FACE" the Daily News cover declared. CBS reported on a poll at the time that showed "29 percent felt more favorably toward Clinton afterward, and 13 percent less favorably. With Lazio, 35 percent came away with a higher opinion of the local boy, and 30 percent said yuck." On Election Day, a few months later, one voter in Brooklyn told The New York Times, "At first I wasn't going to vote for her, but during the debate he acted like a spoiled little brat, like a teenage boy who couldn't get his way."
Clinton recently reflected on the moment with Politico’s Glenn Thrush. She said that "all the women who I encountered" after the debate "were saying, ‘I couldn't believe he did that,’ ‘I found that horrible.’ They were just really worked up about what he had done."
The neighbors are happy to gush (or complain) about the Clintons
Hillary started moving to Chappaqua in Westchester late in 1999, becoming a permanent resident shortly before her Senate campaign began in earnest. In the years since, the less well-known residents of the town have voiced many opinions on the senator and her husband. The owner of a hair salon in town told People, "She has a big heart, a wonderful person. And I'm very happy I touched her hair." Another resident told Buzzfeed in 2013, "She’s the most qualified, and I think she’s great. But if she’s gonna do it, she’ll need to rest up because she’s been running around for the last four years."
Not everyone in Chappaqua is on board: Last year, Gary Murphy put a "For Sale" sign in front of the Clintons’s house. It said, "Used Email Server, Clean Hard Drive, 15 Old House Ln. — See Bill."
There aren’t many Hillary fans among the street-artist crowd
Here’s a sampling of the Hillary graffiti and posters you could have found in New York — and Chappaqua — in the past few years.
Hillary's New York, too
Hillary likes to talk about her experience, and regardless of what you think about her credentials, she has more of a history of begging New Yorkers for their support than anyone else running. Many of the very nice things she has said while campaigning would not be out of place in the myriad of romantic movies featuring New York skylines. Here is a list of all the mushy soliloquies Clinton has given while trying to win over New York’s heart. So far, all of her attempts have concluded with happy endings, although this year her opponents are trying hard to convey that New Yorkers complete them.
— "But New York values, the people of New York, there no place like it in the world."
— "I love New York!"
— "New Yorkers took a chance on me, and I will never forget it."
— "I just want to say from the bottom of my heart: Thank you, New York. Thank you for opening your minds and your heart, for seeing the possibility of what we could do together."
— "I adore [representing New York]. I absolutely adore it ... this is just the best experience. I couldn’t have a job that I enjoyed more."