Across both of the current American nomination contests, Clinton is the candidate with easily the most political capital and establishment connections. Wife of an ex-president and having participated in the current government, she should be able to count on the backing of people who approved of her husband’s presidency and supporters of Obama’s government. This gives her an obvious edge but what does she really stand for? And what are her chances of becoming the next president?
Who is She?
Hillary was born in Chicago to a textile merchant father. She first became involved in politics during her teenage years and while campaigning she found evidence of electoral fraud by the campaign to elect president Nixon. During this time she was unsure where she stood politically and flirted with both the democratic and republican parties – even working for the republicans for a while.
After completing her school education, she studied at Yale law school and it was here that she met her husband, and future president, Bill Clinton. She then followed Bill to Arkansas where he was elected governor, and worked as a lawyer – a job which she continued as during his presidency. During his presidency she became known for being a media friendly first lady and was often seen at her husbands side.
She soon decided to launch a political career of her own, and in 2000 was elected senator for New York. This was followed by re-election in 2006 and in 2007 she announced her plan to run for the democratic presidential nomination. She was considered one of the favourites but eventually lost out to Obama who went on to become president of the United States. During Obama’s first term in office, she served as secretary of state and was an important part of his government, but she stepped down and did not serve during his second.
What are her Policies?
Hillary’s policies reflect her centre-left position. She supports maintaining Obama’s medicare system and wants to expand social security. She also wants to strengthen unions and raise minimum wage. These policies, combined with promises to take tough measures to hold large corporations and banks accountable for their actions, are designed to ease the burden of the working poor and appeal to the voting block that favour Sanders. She has been vague however, on the exact details of these policies.
Hillary wants to take a tough stance on the international stage, promising to stand up to Putin, prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and pledging to defeat ISIS. She also wants to strengthen international relations and is a strong supporter of Israel. Under Clinton, America would become a world leader in tackling climate change through the use of clean energy.
Can She Win?
Clinton seems like the safe bet – for the democratic nomination at least. She represents the established democratic party and history has shown that the establishment rarely looses out to more radical candidates. The race for the nomination is only between two candidates, her and Sanders making it a straight establishment/continuation vs radical/change contest. She can also call on her connection to the current Obama government to draw in voters who are happy with his record in office.
America’s inequality problem, and its pandering to corporate interests, is causing a lot of people to struggle and this is reflected in the popularity of Sanders (as well as Trump on the other side of the spectrum). It remains to be seen if enough people are unhappy with this state of affairs to nominate change through Sanders.
Hillary can probably also count on the support of some women (as she bids to become the first woman president), however some feminists are more attracted to Sanders as he looks like he would do more to combat social inequality than she would.
Of course, some states have already voted and the results so far have should give her reason to be cautiously optimistic. She is currently ahead in the race and, although initially not by as much as she would have liked, her campaign has picked up the pace. This trend was continued on ‘super Tuesday’, where she extended her lead and won the majority of the states up for grabs – but not enough to put the contest beyond doubt. If the contest were to continue in this manner, she would find herself the winning the Democratic nomination but may face pressure from the left of the party.
If she wins the Democratic nomination her chances of winning the presidency would depend on who she faced. A few disillusioned radicals may find themselves drawn to Trump’s message of change – even if he comes from the other side of the political spectrum to Sanders – should he win his own nomination. Others may be put off by his outspoken style and this could hand her an easy victory. A contest against a more mainstream republican like Rubio would resemble the more traditional American election contests and would be harder to predict.
What Do You Think?
Can Hillary Clinton Win?