Clinton’s effort to best Sanders as a populist by riding the NYC subway blows up in her face

Clinton’s effort to best Sanders as a populist by riding the NYC subway blows up in her face
Image: MSNBC video screen grab

Who loves ya, baby? If you’re a denizen of deep-blue New York City, the answer to that question vis-à-vis elections has historically not been which party you will vote for, but which Democrat.

With the state’s primary rapidly approaching, Hillary Clinton is closer than rival Bernie Sanders in her claim to being “one of the folks” by dint of her actually owning a residence in a suburb north of New York City. (Granted, it’s a mansion, but you can’t win ’em all.)

On Thursday, Clinton tried to align herself with the hoi polloi by riding the New York City subway. The New York Post quotes the Democratic front-runner as saying as she approached the turnstile outside Yankee Stadium:

“I’m proud to be a New Yorker. We don’t use a token on the subway,” she announced, mocking Sanders’ comments about needing a token to ride the rails.

“It was my first term when we changed from tokens to the MetroCard,”…

But her familiarity with the MetroCard was apparently limited to having heard of it. When she tried to use it, the coded card refused to cooperate. It took the former senator five swipes to get the card to allow her entry into the transit system.

A video by MSNBC edits out that embarrassment, showing her entering an atypically empty subway car. It also shows her surrounded by a detail of Secret Service to keep the riff-raff away.

Saturday Night Live wasn’t as kind as MSNBC, actually doing a send-up of Clinton struggle to make the MetroCard work:

As for Sanders, he was not to be outdone in kissing up to voters. When it was brought to his attention that tokens had been abandoned 13 years ago, Sander, who grew up in Brooklyn, quipped that the way to get on the subway nowadays is to “jump over the turnstile.” That may not be so much a populist joke as a renegade one, but that’s a label he’ll happily accept.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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