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Are you #ReadyForHillary again?

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By Al Masino

Contributing Writer

opinions.asp@gmail.com

April 28, 2015

The 2016 Presidential Elections are more than a year away, yet the speculations have already begun. On the Republican side, we have a large pool of potential candidates. Three of them (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio) have already announced their candidacy, with many more planning to announce and forming exploratory committees.

On the Democratic side, the field is less crowded. On the surface, there is one person who will run: Hillary Clinton. She is the only one that has announced so far. Despite possible options such as Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren, it is looking to be a coronation for the former First Lady.

On paper, Clinton looks to be the best candidate the Democrats can offer up. Clinton is doing very well in polls for primary and general elections. According to Real Clear Politics (RCP), Clinton is 50 points ahead of any Democratic challenger. In general election polls, she beats all Republican challengers. The closest challenge, according to RCP, is from Marco Rubio, and she beats him by 7.5 points.

2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Hampton, New Hampshire, April 2007. Photo by Marc Nozell.
2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Hampton, New Hampshire, April 2007. Photo by Marc Nozell.

Clinton has a few qualities that set her apart from her challengers. Her biggest asset is the political dynasty she forged with her husband, former President Bill Clinton. This empire has produced millions of dollars and political connections across the country. These connections led to her next asset: experience. As a former first lady, Clinton began eight years of seeing the inner workings of the White House. She later became a senator in New York, where she gained experience in the legislature. She later became Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, where she gained experienced in foreign affairs. This mix of dealing with domestic and foreign issues makes Clinton a good candidate.

On top of all of this, her gender is powerful as well. Its benefits are two-fold. Firstly, she could be the first female president. This status could drive people to the polls to vote for her. The secondary use is the shield from any or all attacks against her. Just like any critic of President Obama is spun as a “racist,” anyone who criticizes Clinton, no matter how legitimate the criticism may be, will be painted a “sexist.” The “war on women” portrayal has worked for Democrats in the past, and may very well work for them in 2016.

The obvious media support of Clinton may help her win the election. Two scandals have recently come out that would destroy any Republican in a media firestorm. First, Clinton operated out of a private email instead of a government email during her tenure. This is bad because these emails are not on record with the government. In the case that these emails needed to be checked or referenced, there would be no official record of them. The other big scandal was the massive amounts of foreign money donated to the Clinton Foundation, a charity run by the Clintons. By itself, it may seem minimal. However, tracing back the donations, several decisions by Clinton as Secretary of State are called into question, such as a Russian nuclear energy company, Rosatom, buying a Canadian uranium company. Clinton signed off the sale and millions of dollars from high ranking employees of Rosatom have flooded the Clinton Foundation. Despite these troubling stories, the media saved their ferocity, initiative, and outrage for much more “important” scandals. Such “scandals” ranged from Scott Walker not graduating college to Chris Christie possibly closing down lanes on the George Washington Bridge. The news media loves Clinton and they are shamelessly not afraid to show it.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to Clinton beyond those two scandals. Her experience while in government has been less than stellar. As First Lady, Clinton led the committee to push her husband’s healthcare reform plan. The plan was under fire from the right as well as the health insurance agency, and she was tasked with selling it to the American public. The task force ultimately failed and the plan was never passed. In Congress, despite her service, she voted for both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both of those votes came back to haunt her in the 2008 election, where she had to defend her vote to a party who disliked the wars. The entire 2008 election is pretty much an embarrassment to Clinton in general.

Going into the primaries, Clinton was seen as the inevitable candidate to win the Presidency. At first, Clinton was the leader in the polls. After a few terrible performances in debates, her numbers fell as Obama’s number’s rose. What once looked like a shoe-in turned out to be a major defeat. After the victory of Obama in 2008, she was appointed to be his Secretary of State, she accepted. Even without the faux Benghazi controversy, Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State was far from stellar. Much of her tenure is unremarkable. Russian relations, despite her efforts, are no better than they were before her appointment. Despite her years of experience, she has very little to point to in those years to be proud of. At best, she was unexceptional at everything she did.

Despite these flaws, her odds of winning the presidency are very good. While it is still very early, Clinton is showing an impressive start to the 2016 campaign. Let’s see if she can finish the job this time.

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