Despite her massive campaign machine and her fundraising lead over Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton still can’t separate herself from the Vermont senator. In an effort to decisively pull ahead, the Clinton campaign plans to deploy a number of famous surrogates to help get out the vote and give stump speeches on her behalf.
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The diverse list of Clinton’s surrogates, 34 in all, contains big names from almost every discipline: former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are set to assist the Clinton campaign alongside HBO’s “Girls” star Lena Dunham, pop music sensation Katy Perry, and Olympic soccer legend Abby Wambach.
Of Clinton’s 34 surrogates, 28 have already given speeches. Their impact so far has been questionable, as the polls show Sanders with a lead in New Hampshire and a fighting chance in Iowa. Some political strategists have questioned the practice of using surrogates entirely, as most voters tend to prefer seeing the candidate over a surrogate and are not as easily influenced by the political beliefs of non-politicians.
By including surrogates like Dunham and Perry, the Clinton campaign appears to be targeting the millennial demographic, which overwhelmingly favors Sanders, as well as women, which lean toward Clinton. President Barack Obama enjoyed a significant boost to his campaign when Oprah Winfrey campaigned on his behalf in 2008, but few surrogates have made such an impact before or since.
Surrogates can even cause unexpected problems for a politician’s campaign, as Chelsea Clinton’s poorly-received attack on Bernie Sanders showed last month. When the former first daughter inaccurately accused Sanders of wanting to do away with various healthcare programs, Clinton inadvertently opened the door for the Sanders campaign to speak to its healthcare platform with plenty of free publicity.