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OpinionColumnistsMichael Dobie

Hillary Clinton is in trouble

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a CNN

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a CNN town hall event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. Credit: AP

The topic is Hillary Clinton. And the post-New Hampshire primary analysis is suffocating.

She finished in a virtual tie with Bernie Sanders in Iowa and was trounced last night by Sanders in New Hampshire because...

She’s losing young women.

She’s losing the young, period.

She’s the establishment.

She’s not projecting warmth.

She’s not progressive.

Her message is too muddled.

The demographics of the first two states were pro-Sanders.

And on it goes.

But what if it’s something else?

It’s still way early in this 2016 presidential campaign and I am loath — utterly loath — to read too much into these early results from states with barely 1 percent of the nation’s population.

But if Hillary Clinton is in trouble, what if it’s because she is her?

Her message is muddled because she has no clear message to convey, no real answer to the question of why she is running to be president. She has a ton of policy proposals, many quite good, and she’s eminently qualified, but she has no version of Sanders’ mantra that he’s running because the economy is rigged in favor of the 1 percent and we need a political revolution.

She has changed positions like a weathervane, and sometimes waits to take stands until she sees where others are headed.

What if people are just plain tired of the emails and the highly-paid speeches and the tortured explanations and the blurry ethics and the heavy-handedness and the tone-deafness and the need to control?

What, in other words, if the problem is the things she can’t change?

There is talk that Clinton is going to shake up her staff, retool her message, and work harder to appeal to young women and various other subgroups.

What if that doesn’t matter?

Michael Dobie is a member of the Newsday editorial board.