She’s running for president; America’s election campaign has begun. Her chances are better than ever. Almost every American knows her. Here are five advantages that speak in favor of Hillary Clinton.
This time everything is different –– and so it should be. She has started her second campaign for the Democratic presidential candidacy in exactly the same way as the first failed attempt, in which she posts a video on the Internet.
But that’s where the similarities to her 2007 attempt end.
Back then, she sat in her living room and recorded a tired monologue with the overall message: “I’m in, and I’m in to win.” Her victory seemed inevitable; above all, the victory seemed inevitable to Clinton herself. Then along came Barack Obama.
This time, you don’t see Hillary Clinton at all in the first minute and a half of her promotional video. Instead, you see Americans from all sorts of backgrounds: workers, pensioners, women, yet more women, a homosexual couple, Latinos, white people, black people. Clinton doesn’t surface until the very end, saying that that she wants to be the champion for everyday Americans. The message this time: “I want to earn your vote.”
According to the plan, the video will introduce a different Clinton, a new Clinton. Hillary, the listener. Given that she has now been an integral part of the country’s political elite for the past quarter of a century, that won’t be a simple task. Everyone knows Clinton, and everyone has a certain image of her.
In the coming weeks, the 67-year-old will tour important states –– Iowa and New Hampshire are first on her list. Her first big rally won’t take place until May. Until then, her main priority is direct contact with small groups of voters. This time, Clinton is not sending out her messages from her own sumptuous living room. This time, she wants to visit other peoples’ living rooms.
This is how the supposedly inevitable, somewhat detached candidate of 2008 is to become the de facto inevitable, humble 2016 candidate. Clinton really does have the best chances this time – not just for the candidacy, but also for the White House.
Five reasons why she can win:
First, in the party primary elections, she really is head and shoulders above all of her potential rivals. It is also unlikely that a messiah candidate like Obama will emerge. In contrast to 2008, Clinton has an extensive network of local activists; in surveys of Democrats, she is polling at an average of 60 percent. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden are trailing far behind – both lie around the 12 percent mark. However, neither Biden nor Warren will run for president. To date, the remaining candidates include ex-governor Martin O’Malley, the socialist Bernie Sanders or the ex- senator Jim Webb. None of them have more than 5 percent support. Financially, nobody will even come close to Clinton anyway; her election campaign budget is estimated at a record sum of $2.5 billion.
Second, the Republicans, who have been infiltrated by the right-wing populist tea party movement, will ultimately make it difficult for their candidate to develop a profile in the political center. The important Latino and women electoral voters are especially likely to pose challenges. In contrast, Clinton counts on a broad alliance (see campaign video). Not only does she want to inherit the Obama coalition (Latinos, black people and young people), but she also maintains her traditional strength among pensioners, workers and, of course, women. If this “Obama Coalition Plus” succeeds, she will be difficult to beat.
Third, Clinton has a message, a possible winning theme: social equality. Obama already made extensive use of this in the 2012 election campaign. Next year, the starting position will be even better, because although the economy is recovering, the middle class is not benefitting from it. Clinton can raise the issue of redistribution – and thereby earn points. The broad mass of Americans hasn’t had a wage increase for more than a decade. Equal pay for women is also an important issue for Clinton. It’s no coincidence that the economy was the central theme of her first video. That’s how her husband Bill Clinton won the presidency. With calls for less state interference and tax reductions, the Republicans come across as being behind the times.
Fourth, she has a better team than in 2008. Back then, internal rivalries prevailed; Obama’s victory in the primaries gave the Clinton machine a shock, from which she didn’t recover. This time, Clinton has appointed a 35-year-old data nerd as her election campaign manager, who the Democrats consider to be a “wonder weapon”: Robby Mook. His latest instruction to the team: We must treat each other as family.
Fifth, Bill Clinton is showing clear wisdom of age and could help his wife in the election campaign, instead of throwing a spanner in the works and effectively running his own team within the Clinton campaign with his old friends, as he did in 2008. “My role should primarily be as a backstage adviser to her until we get much, much closer to the election,” he recently announced. Bonus point.
All of this could count in favor of taking up office in the White House. Of course, there is no guarantee. It is currently exactly 576 days until Election Day, and some things can still go wrong:
Will Clinton’s relative old age work to her disadvantage?
Do Americans really want a Clinton dynasty in the White House?
How does Clinton’s close relationship to Wall Street fit with Clinton’s ordinary people election campaign?
If she doesn’t have any real opponents in the primaries, is she well-trained for the fight against the Republicans?
Can she shed herself of her former image, the perpetual defensive stance, the mistrust of the press, the secrecy?
Nobody is as prone to scandals, great and small, as the Clintons – does she have it under control this time?
A lot of things can go wrong indeed.