She has probably the most recognizable first name in politics and can, like some celebrities, just go by her first name alone and everyone would know who she is. She also has that last name that carries so much weight in the world of politics. Together her names, Hillary Clinton, garner some of the strongest reactions possible from citizens, depending on which side of the political spectrum you sit on.
To most Democrats, the Clinton name, thanks to the popularity of the former President, Bill Clinton, as well as the work his wife has done along with him, is like political royalty. But to most Republicans, especially those on the far right, she and her husband, represent all that is wrong about liberal politics. The level of venom Hillary Clinton is used to seeing directed at her and the former President is so tough that she once labeled it a “vast Right Wing conspiracy.”
So there is a lot that comes with being a Clinton. Some say having that kind of name recognition and party royalty status makes her a shoo-in for the White House in her Presidential campaign. But people who say that are not taking into account the level of negatives that are also associated with the name. Hillary Clinton entered this election as a known entity, that’s for sure. But in some ways being as known as she is, created a built-in negative that her Democratic opponent for the top office, Senator Bernie Sanders, did not have to deal with. And that double edge of the sword of familiarity, will also be a factor in the general election regardless of who Clinton has to face from the Republican, and possibly 3rd Party side.
No matter what anyone’s preconceived opinion may be about Hillary Rodham Clinton, most would concede that she has possibly the best resume a Presidential candidate could have. If you drew a map of experience one would want to see in a candidate for the Presidency, the path she took to this point would be it. She is a trained lawyer with a degree from Yale. She got her undergraduate degree from the prestigious Wellesly College. She worked as a congressional legal counselor. She was First Lady of the state of Arkansas and of course the First Lady of the United States when her husband was Governor of Arkansas and President of the U.S. respectively. She was the first female partner of a prestigious law firm in Arkansas. She became the U.S. Senator from the state of New York after her husband left office in D.C., the only First Lady to have run for and gained elective office after leaving the White House. And of course she was Secretary of State under President Obama, gaining her vast experience around the globe dealing with international issues. So her resume is definitely second to none and a reason to believe she will certainly know how to oversee the government.
But great resume notwithstanding, people don’t vote for resumes. They vote based on trust, policies, plans, and all kinds of other unknown and sometimes not so obvious factors. And considering that while holding some of those positions Clinton made decisions and choices that rubbed many people the wrong way, even many on the Progressive side of her own party, that resume could even be held against her.
Is Clinton qualified to be President? Absolutely. Probably more than any other person running this year, and even possibly more than anyone that has ever run. But whether she is the right person for the office, whether her policies and views will win over enough of the Democratic and Independent voters, still remains to be seen. She certainly is a real contender for the office and has plenty of positions for voters to consider to make up their minds. The truth is those on the Right are not likely to vote for Clinton, not only simply due to party lines, but due to that issue of too much familiarity and outright dislike for her and her husband. But those on the Left do have some things to consider in determining how excited they will be to get behind her in turning out to vote in the Fall should she get the nomination, as will Independents, who will be ever so important this election.
Clinton’s policy positions certainly will appeal well to the Democratic base and likely to many Independents. She has taken a stand on some of the Democratic Party cornerstones that will shore up her base well. On criminal justice reform she has stated her position in this way:
“There is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison during their lifetimes. And an estimated 1.5 million black men are quote missing from their families and communities because of incarceration and pre-mature death. There is something wrong when more than one out of every three young black men in Baltimore cannot find a job…Across the country, there are so many police officers out there every day inspiring trust and confidence, honorably doing their duty, putting themselves on the line to save lives…. We need to learn from those examples, build on what works. We can start by making sure that federal funds for state and local law enforcement are used to bolster best practices rather than to buy weapons of war that have no place on our streets…We also have to be honest about the gaps that exist across our country – the inequality that stalks our streets. Because you cannot talk about smart policing and reforming the criminal justice system if you also don’t talk about what’s needed to provide economic opportunity; better educational chances for young people; more support to families so they can do the best jobs they are capable of doing to help support their own children.”
Clinton wants to end racial profiling, eliminate the disparity in sentencing between crack and cocaine, prioritize treatment and reform mandatory minimum sentencing.
On immigration she has taken a progressive position that favors a path to citizenship for the many undocumented workers already here, which is a big point of debate in politics. Everyone, including Clinton agrees that we need to shore up our borders, though of course not the extent of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz with their giant wall. But figuring out what to with all the people and their families already here is a major issue. In one policy speech Clinton said:
“If we take what we know to be the realities that we confront – 12 to 14 million people here – what will we do with them? I hear the voices from the other side of the aisle. I hear the voices on TV and radio. And they are living in some other universe, talking about deporting people, rounding them up…I don’t agree with that and I don’t think it’s practical. And therefore what we’ve got to do is to say, ‘Come out of the shadows, we will register everyone, we will check, because if you have committed a crime in this country or the country you came from then you will not be able to stay. You will have to be deported. But the vast majority of the people who are here, we will give you a path to legalization…”
So much about the debate over immigrants, whether Southern border crossing or Syrian refugees, devolves into matters of homeland security now that terrorism is on the forefront of the news so often. And that is understandable. But Hillary Clinton, again, in keeping with the positions most would expect from the presumed Democratic Party standard bearer, draws a clear distinction in her policy positions on dealing with regular immigration, and fighting terrorists, like ISIS. She makes it clear that we should not lump all immigrants, and all Muslims particularly, into the terrorist camp. Central to Clinton’s position is the idea and foundation that the United States must take a leadership position in this fight against ISIS and other terrorists. She has made it clear that we must not sit back and wait for others to lead this fight. While she is not advocating that we act alone, she is certainly making it clear that as the biggest power in the world, the United States must use our influence to build a movement of action against ISIS.
When it comes to the economy, the issue that matters most to many Americans and voters, Clinton’s position is what most on the Left would consider pretty moderate or centrist. She is definitely not as far to the left as her opponent Bernie Sanders, but she is not about letting the free market dictate what happens to American workers and middle class families either. According to her website, Clinton will “invest in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research to create jobs and strengthen our economy. And she’ll provide tax relief to working families and small businesses.”
So for Democratic voters and those Independents who lean towards liberal and progressive policies, Clinton will be a clear choice over any of the Republican candidates. But for many who swing very Left, or more progressive, Clinton gives them pause. She is very much a moderate Democratic and the criticism from some on the Far Left is that she is so moderate as being Republican-lite. And of course there are those who believe Clinton’s resume indicates a person who is too focused on personal glory and power and some believe she will switch positions to fit whatever gets her through the moment. It is a harsh criticism but one that persists. And for many on the Left Clinton is definitely considered more hawkish than they would like to see. Her vote for the Iraq War still haunts her and she has said she regrets the decision. But she still seems to support military usage in ways that indicates a hawkish leaning, like supporting a no-fly zone in Syria, a move many believe would lead to real fighting for our troops.
Hillary Clinton is very likely to win the nomination for the Democratic Party. It is certainly her’s to lose at this point based on the voting so far. No matter who the Republicans put up against her – Trump, Cruz or some other person coming out of what is expected to be a tense convention – she is still likely to be favored to win the race to the White House. Name recognition, that resume and solid Democratic positions in the middle of the Party, are likely to be key to her secure position. There is certainly a lot on record to look at for her. One thing is certain about Clinton, by now most know what she stands for and who she is. She has been in the public eye for a very long time. Whether that is perceived as good or bad, looked at with a degree of cynicism or seen as a badge of respect and honor remains to be seen.