In my opinion, she should have won the candidacy in 2008.
What the 2008 election showed me is that the U.S. is more sexist than racist, and increasingly so the higher a woman climbs up the ladder of power. Sexism is a central, limiting factor for Hillary, but there is a stack of circumstances against her: the “far right,” the “far left,” independent voters, women voters, white voters, appealing to minority voters, voter turnout, war fatigue, burnout, and scandals.
I’m afraid Hillary has reached her triumph. Like a meaningful, but worn out marriage, the people just aren’t that excited about her anymore, or want a divorce– or her head on a platter. Hillary may deserve to be the president — she is qualified and has paid her dues — but what the winner of 2016 needs more than anything is to excite the electorate, and turn out the vote. I don’t think she has the support, and I don’t think she can inspire enough of it.
Independent voters are a must for the next president. If Hillary takes after Obama’s numbers from 2012, she will lose.
I think it is safe to say that Hillary will not get support from voters who left the Republican Party in favor of no party affiliation. Equally so, I do not think that independents defecting from the Democratic Party will vote for her, either.
The Far Right
Hillary has been weighted with Benghazi-gate and e-mail gate. She will continue to be attacked viciously, relentlessly, and expertly by the right.
Her problem is not just the leaders of the far right, it is the shift in political culture to the far right — here and in most western nations, including our tightest allies: France, Britain, and Israel. The shift in world politics creates a conundrum for Hillary. Will she embody her hawkish persona and fall in line with the hard right, alienating the left, and possibly leading us to war? Members of the “far left” think so.
The Far Left
More liberal voters want Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. They don’t want Hillary for a number of reasons: she is too hawkish, she is a poor example of a feminist, she is in corporate America’s pockets (she did serve on the board of Wal-Mart for 6 years), and she is part of an elite dynasty.
The Occupy Movement has started a Twitter page called, “Occupy Clinton.” it is dedicated to exploiting Hillary’s corrupt alliance with Wall Street and entrenched power structures. Some of the first tweets attacked her support for mass surveillance, fracking, and her role in mass incarceration. They have named the collective corrupt influence of Hillary, the Hillary Industrial Complex.@@tweetekatPeople just aren’t that excited about Hillary anymore, or want a divorce -- or her head on a platter.
Many people simply hate Hillary, and with the country moving farther to the right and the left, there are fewer voters who will fall solidly into Clinton’s camp.
Obama won by 10 million votes in 2008, and in 2012, he won by only 5 million. Those 5 million votes are not guaranteed to Hillary Clinton.
Is it a coincidence that in 2008 our first black president won by numbers roughly equal to the increase in minority votes minus the decrease in white voters? I argue not. It is not a coincidence that black Americans came out to champion President Obama — it is identity politics. If it is a coincidence that white votes have decreased, it is at least symbolic of the very real racism embedded in our culture.
In 2008, activists registered record numbers of voters in minority communities, motivated by the prospects of a black president.
“Barack was an opportunity to win and we didn’t want to miss this historic moment and we didn’t,” Jesse Jackson said.
Another factor pushing minority Americans to vote, according to Marvin Randolph of the NAACP, is the perceived attack on the minority right to vote from right-wing America.
Obama was able to capitalize on his historic claim of being the first black president. Can Hillary maintain the momentum that Obama put in motion? Not if race is the factor that has motivated minority citizens to vote blue.
If we are going to base our alliances on identity politics, then Hillary’s strong point should be women. After all, more than half of the electorate is female.
She does seem to be following that path. Her first speeches were to women’s groups. She is highlighting her potential historical role as the first woman president. If Hillary is successful, Emily’s List expects a surge in women candidates based on research that says “having a woman executive can increase the number of women who run for office all the way down the ticket.”
Change in women’s votes:
While Obama won women by more than 10 points in 2012, a closer look reveals that he did not win the majority of white women. Fifty-six percent of white women voted for Romney, according to exit polls. This raises two crucial questions: Can Hillary gain the votes of Republican, white women? Can she win the votes of minority women?
She is trying to build her coalition with women, for women, as a woman. I don’t think she will win Republican, independent, far left, or minority women voters simply based on gender. I don’t expect men will feel attended to by such a campaign either. Sexism will be a limiting factor for Clinton. We may not know how much of a factor until we experience a full-fledged presidential campaign by a woman.
How salient is identity politics, and how stable are these identities? These are questions important to our changing political landscape.
The steam already ran out of the youth vote, and white votes are decreasing. Will minority votes continue rising — or even remain steady — without a minority mascot?
Hillary filling her team with a diverse group of minority groups, men, and women for the sake of reflecting pure gender and race identities will not work. On her own identity merits — as a white, Democratic woman — she does not win.
I don’t think Hillary can come out on top; there is just too much weighing her down.
Photo Credit: AP