"At least it is not Hillary Clinton!" This is the response many people have to even the most eccentric, narcissistic and very "unpresidential" behavior and maneuvers of Donald Trump, one year after his shocking victory against Bill Clinton's wife in the U.S. presidential elections. One of the favorite theories about “the Donald” is that he single-handedly managed to utterly destroy two extremely influential, but ultimately distrusted family dynasties on the American political landscape – Bush and Clinton – and deserves applause and a high level of trust for his glorious, unexpected, but necessary, Republican feat.
First, Trump dealt with Jeb Bush in a brutal and uncompromising way, asserting that Bush was "lacking in energy" during the Republican primaries. Trump then spectacularly destroyed Hillary’s decade-long dream of inheriting her husband's presidency. So Trump – this impish agent-provocateur, this politically incorrect outsider and an enemy of the Washington establishment – appeared as a triumphant avatar of the multifaceted anger against the lenient and complacent nature of the morally bankrupt global elite. Adding a particularly delicious spice to this dish of revenge was the fact that, as much of a total amateur in institutional gamesmanship as Trump was, he managed to defeat such an experienced, political animal as Hillary Clinton, who was supported by her husband, the Obama Family, large corporations, the European elite and almost all the media.
The United States has always regarded the royal dynasties and aristocratic demands of the Old World with suspicion, but the modern political trajectory portended that the presidency would be occupied by people with the family names of Bush or Clinton for a good 24 out of 32 years between 1989 and 2021.Trump put an end to this worrisome tendency toward nepotism in a system created by America's founding fathers at the end of the 18th century.
But is this really the end for the Clinton clan? What is happening with Bill, Hillary and Chelsea? Are we going to celebrate with a happy ending or are we looking at a remake of "The Return of the Walking Dead"? Various sectors of the U.S. progressive left are whispering about "Hillary 2020,” and the media are timidly testing the waters for the final introduction of Chelsea, the daughter, as a polished political product. The end of the Clinton chapter in United States history is a matter of cultural and political self-preservation, but it may only be wishful thinking. The Clinton family represents an opportunistic organism, which feeds on power, trades influence and has planted its DNA deep into the fabric of the Democratic Party and the progressive liberal movement in the United States.
The loss to the billionaire and former reality show host left Hillary shocked, humiliated, devastated and seeking the company of her favorite Chardonnay, as well as something other than herself to blame: sexism, xenophobia, the Russians, the media, Obama’s legacy, her own Democratic Party ... After several months of bitter isolation from public life, Hillary Clinton published “What Happened,” a not-so-ironically titled public autopsy of her historic defeat by Trump.
Together with her best-seller, Hillary went on a highly-paid, self-pity tour across America with the mission of setting up an ambitious plan to return to the political scene. She presented herself as a victim of sexism, Trump-ism and Kremlin conspiracies that unfairly, and perhaps even illegally, left her on "dry dock" outside the White House. On several occasions in past weeks, Clinton publicly questioned the legitimacy of Trump's presidency and lent an unusually poignant and antagonistic tone to her national book tour. Before the elections last year, the same Hillary, from her position as an undisputed front-runner, described Donald’s concerns that the system was rigged as a dangerous attack on American democracy. Hillary’s inability to recognize Trump as a possible contender from the vantage point of her then-secure victory, was viewed as being radioactive to her candidacy. Today Hillary is doing precisely what she warned us her opponent would do if he lost. But this is typical for Clinton, “the most corrupt [and discredited] American politician in modern time,” as the editorial board of The National Review described her a few weeks ago.
This is a good place to consider why she really lost the election she was considered to have "already won," and to discuss why, if indeed she decides to run again, it would be a catastrophe for the Democratic Party and a blessing for Trump's re-election campaign in 2020.
In 2016, despite the almost sectarian support by the liberal media, Hollywood, public figures and most politicians, Hillary Clinton wasn't able to escape her dark past. A cascade of scandals transformed her campaign from a feminist stronghold and proud political establishment into a dungeon of corruption and deception. Clinton couldn’t control information or protect her reputation in a communication environment driven by the internet and widespread circulation of ideas in the social media and on social networks.
Peter Schweitzer's book, “Clinton Cash,” had enormous influence on the campaign, with its detailed documentation of Bill and Hillary’s alleged misdeeds. Schweitzer presented a colossal amount of qualitative and reliable information about the family's activities: from the execution of political contracts under the camouflage of their family foundation, to taking advantage of her position as secretary of state, doling out favors like candy to suspicious figures and foreign organizations which had paid Bill for speeches and lectures in the past. Schweitzer reported on transactions involving cellphone deals in Haiti and uranium in North America, as well as Hillary's use of a private and insecure server, on which she saved strictly confidential material contrary to official practices and protocol as secretary of state. The list is long and abysmal.
As a result of the disclosures in “Clinton Cash,” Hillary could no longer play the role of the "good" professional, someone who put up with a naughty husband, trying to guide him in the right and moral direction. Clinton's new image was that of an equal partner in crime. In comparison with the alleged corruption schemes, the controversy surrounding “Trump University, Trump steaks, Trump taxes and Trump ties" was perceived by the public as examples of “old-fashioned American hucksterism” committed by a private citizen with no institutional authority and political career,” wrote historian and author Victor Davis Hanson.
Hanson reminded us that Clinton lost the so-called "Rust Belt" because she was insolent and insincere. She failed to demonstrate that she had a sincere and fundamental position on any issue, other than her desire to continue a government career and get to the top in Washington, the only possible place for her to be. She gave the impression that the presidency was rightfully hers —like a family inheritance.
"Her personality, in far different ways, was as polarizing as Trump's. But Trump was far better as a TV showman. Hillary's voice, facial expressions and comportment were not winning. Even on the rare occasions when she told the truth, she seemed more insincere than Trump, even when he was spinning a yarn," writes Hanson.
Donald cultivated an image as a "bad boy," which worked for him when compared to the image of a scolding, elitist, old hag aunt, which Hillary failed to transform into a winning presidential image.
“Both are roughly the same age and, to the eye, not in the best of shape, but Trump displayed an almost animal energy while Clinton often appeared frail, worn and on occasion ill on the stump,” Hanson noted, and had to be taken away with a special vehicle. The dynamic between the two reminds us of Ken Kesey’s book "One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest" – Trump is the impulsive “con Randal McMurphy, who does everything haywire,” but wins the country's public, and Clinton is the strict Nurse Ratchet, “who does everything by the book.” Randal/Donald “was at least undeniably alive” and Ratchet/Hillary “only ostensibly so," according to Hanson.
Clinton was in an unenviable position as the direct successor of Barack Obama’s administration, which left the U.S. with anemic economic growth, saw record labor non-participation, and a doubling of the national debt to $20 trillion. Under Obama's foreign policy, the situation appeared even worse. There was chaos, the surge of Islamic terrorism and the rise of authoritarian regimes. Obama enjoyed high approval ratings at the end of his second term, but the American electorate did not like his policies. However, this time Hillary’s candidacy as a woman, and her assertion that she deserved to be the first woman to follow the first black president of the United States were not useful positions. In a year when people were in the mood to change the status quo and send a message to the establishment, Clinton didn't have highly valued views. “I am a woman" and “Trump is a monster" were not serious messages for a presidential campaign, but they were the only ones that Hillary offered. She thought she would make Americans vote for her and against Trump because of her sex. Most of them did vote for her, but not in middle states, where the population was beaten up by globalization and where the heavy economic and cultural legacy of Obama is highly visible.
Hillary Clinton couldn't escape from her political careerist image at a time when the middle classes of Western countries viewed “political careerist” with sharp disdain. And this is why one of Trump’s most successful slogans was "Drain the Swamp” in Washington. Hillary was even on the verge of losing the primaries for the Democratic presidential nomination, against none other than 75-year-old socialist Bernie Sanders. Or at least so it seemed. He didn’t have the burden of the corruption charges that defined Hillary's campaign, nor her political apparatus and deep disillusionment for a historic, feminist mission.
The first friendly fire came during Hillary's national book tour, interpreted by some as an insolent attempt to return to the political arena, something that is not common for candidates who have lost presidential elections. Dispirited by Hillary’s impertinence, some representatives from the Democratic Party and the progressive movement publicly defied the Clinton dynasty. Donna Brazile, one of the most influential women among the liberal class and former interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, directly accused Clinton of fixing the primaries and unfairly stealing the nomination from under Bernie Sanders's socialist nose. In her article for Politico, Brazile explained that, for years, the Clinton clan had controlled the whole party and had turned it into a family organization. Brazile had advised everyone to "follow the money" and pointed to her DNC chairwoman predecessor, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as Hillary's “person for dirty contracts.” Schultz herself was forced to resign as DNC chairwoman just before the elections due to leaked information showing that, against the rules, she had supported Clinton’s nomination while Sanders was still running. Brazile is in the process of writing a book in which she intends to expose the full political corruption in the Democratic Party, personified by Hillary.
Brazile claims that before the election, Clinton had secured funding for the Democratic Party's cash flow needs under the condition that her assistance would act as guarantee against any problems with her nomination. On paper and for all public appearances, the DNC was supposed to collect funds for the candidate who won the primary elections and announce the winner as the party's presidential nominee. In reality, Clinton had made an agreement to secure internal support and deprived Sanders of any chance at the nomination.
Hillary denied Brazile’s charges, but shortly afterward, Elizabeth Warren, an influential Democratic senator, who has a chance at the presidential nomination in 2020, also stuck a dagger in Clinton’s back and accused her of deceiving Bernie. The scandal undoubtedly damaged Hillary Clinton’s plan for a triumphant return to the political arena and in recent days, sworn supporters of Bill Clinton from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vox and other progressive liberal media have changed their attitude about "good old Bill." Twenty years later, they have decided that the allegations of rape and sexual harassment made against him deserve some attention. This is all happening in the context of a widespread sexual harassment crisis and moral panic in the West. Every day, a famous person loses his job and reputation after facing charges of unacceptable sexual behavior, and the liberal media are at the forefront as prosecutors and new moral crusaders. Years ago, a leading progressive liberal and feminist like Nina Burleigh dared to state that “American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs." Today such rhetoric is unthinkable.
Bill couldn't escape the new cultural climate, and from being a liberal icon, he has become a mean pariah. This is a blow for Hillary, too, and for her potential plans at political resurrection. With Bill’s image as a sexual predator hanging around her neck, it will be difficult for her to present herself as the personification of feminism and a progressive gender-elitist future.
There are thick clouds on Hillary's horizon. But what is happening with Chelsea? A while ago, she appeared on a Variety magazine cover in an idealized portrait. The aim of the article, like many other similar publications, was to instill in the public the idea that Chelsea is the "next big thing." Author Kevin Williamson considers such attempts absurd and ludicrous.
“Chelsea Clinton is a young multimillionaire who has never uttered an interesting word about any subject at any time during the course of her life. Judging from the evidence of her public statements, she has never had an original thought. It isn't clear that she has had a thought at all." Williamson said.
Chelsea Clinton is not a particularly attractive representative of the Clinton dynasty privilege. Despite her lack of charisma, her disposition in front of the camera and her expertise, she received a $600,000 contract from NBC to make amateur videos. She then left her fake media position and entered the family business in a new fake position, connected with fake philanthropy. In an interview – a triumph of unconscious stupidity – she shared that she was curious to see if she could care about money on a fundamental level, but she couldn't. It was simply not for her. Chelsea said this from her $10 million apartment in Manhattan. Despite having such "insightful thoughts," there are still people within liberal circles who would listen to Chelsea. She is extremely active on social networks, she comments on political events and cultural phenomena, criticizes what she calls the racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia and xenophobia" of “bad” Americans and supports right-leaning, progressive-leftist liberal causes. It would be an incredible achievement if Chelsea continues the Clinton dynasty with a successful political career. She doesn’t possess the charm, rhetoric or ability to lie like her attractive father, and she doesn’t possess the skill of a political apparatchik that her mother has. The Clinton clan may end with Chelsea's eventual failure to capitalize on the family name in Congress, or God forbid, in the White House. This would be a happy ending.