Three Pieces of Communications Advice for Hillary Clinton


Doug Simon, President & CEO of D S Simon Media, offers three pieces of communications advice for Hillary Clinton as she battles Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

1. She has trapped herself as a less aspirational version of Bernie Sanders in the debates. While she can still ground out a win she might have trouble energizing an important Democratic base. In her communications she needs to spend more time contrasting herself with Senators Cruz and Rubio. Two of her best moments in the February 11 debate were when she mentioned Wisconsin Governor Walker by name. She needs to do more of that with Cruz and Rubio.

2. Improve crisis communications on the Wall Street speeches angle. One of the earliest steps in effective crisis communications is establishing perspective. As Mother Jones reported in a critical piece, she gave more than 90 speeches. The vast minority were to Wall Street with many of them to universities, religious organizations and non-profits popular with democratic voters. Many were also unpaid. Did you have that perspective?

3. Pick Elizabeth Warren to be her running mate. It might not get Senator Warren to endorse her now but it will prevent her from endorsing Sanders. Hillary has been around so long that the historic nature of her win is missed by younger voters. They are bored with it. Selecting Warren would be historic, energize the left and younger voters and put Hillary in control of the campaign dynamic all the way to the November election.


  1. Ginny Pulos on at 9:58 PM

    And none of these will mean anything unless she learns to paint the picture of what her presidency will be like to the voters!

    • Phil Conkling on at 12:27 PM

      Warren as VP would be a terrible choice:
      1. Nobody chooses or even suggests a potential VP pick at this stage unless they’re desperate. HRC is not desperate – she’s leading by all of the measures that matter, including delegate count, major primary-state polls, cash on hand, staff and field forces, betting syndicates, etc.
      2. VP candidates, to the extent they matter at all, must fill a gap that persuadable uncommitted voters (independents) perceive in the presidential candidate. Warren does not symbolize personal integrity (Indian ancestry flap), youthfulness, or appeal to non-white voters. She does symbolize Sanders’ outspoken opposition to Wall Street and a belief in big-government solutions, but those qualities will not overcome her high negatives among persuadable moderates.
      3. Better picks for VP would be one of President Obama’s Cabinet members with other strong credentials, including Loretta Lynch, Julian Castro, Tim Geithner (who, despite popular opinion, NEVER worked for a Wall Street company, and turned down several offers to do so) and Ken Salazar. Other far better choices include Sen. Cory Booker, and Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington.

  2. Michelle Cubas on at 4:14 PM

    Doug, I enjoyed your perspectives. I, too, have wanted to reach Hillary and shake her to listen to people like us. Hillary must raise her empathy quotient. Possibly relating more stories than a canned speech would make her relate more.

    I believe her short stature make her appear more feisty. This is something she has always dealt with.
    Balance in her delivery would balance that.

    My reaction prompted me to create a Special Report on the Emotional Intelligence of the Candidates at See what you think.

    With our similar interests, we could produce a powerful collaboration. -MC

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