Hillary Clinton is widely assumed to be the inevitable nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. Many believe she’ll win the general election as well.
She will not.
There are a variety of reasons why Hillary’s candidacy is doomed from the minute it leaves the starting gate. Among them are her disconnect from the average American and the false media assumption that she is universally loved by all except the evil right.
Hillary Rodham Clinton became first lady of Arkansas in the 1970s and has been treated differently than the average bear ever since. It’s understandable that as the wife of a governor and president that you’d lose touch a bit with normal day-to-day life. It’s understandable that as a U.S. senator and U.S. Secretary of State you would drift even farther from normal. But with all that experience should come the knowledge that in order to succeed in elected life you still need to relate - to connect both in word and in deed- with the public at-large. You need to be comfortable wading into a crowd, pressing the flesh and responding candidly to unscripted questions from everyday people. Hillary has always struggled with those elements.
In 2008, Barack Obama eclipsed the Hillary Clinton campaign by generating popular excitement through creative events, soaring oratory and big crowds. Mrs. Clinton’s halting speech pattern and often stiff appearance didn’t generate that same viral enthusiasm.
Which may explain why she chose to announce her 2016 candidacy in 140 characters or less.
Sunday afternoon the Clinton campaign released a slick video and shortly thereafter made her candidacy official via Twitter. That’s right. A tweet confirmed it. No big crowds. No excitement. No warm hug from her spouse. In order to show she’s just like you she is riding in a van 1,000 miles to Iowa, where she will meet with small groups of carefully pre-screened Iowans. On the van ride she’ll talk to people all over America — her paid advisers.
The content of Hillary’s announcement video goes something like this: Women. Children. More women. Spanish speaker with written translation, women, woman, a father-to-be supporting his woman, a young woman, a gay man getting married. And so it continues. The video is nearly 75 percent done before a straight, hard-working male appears. Hillary herself has only a handful of lines in her own video, the most prominent of which was “Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion.” Note to Hillary: Everyday Americans include straight men and traditional families. If an outsider watched this video they would believe America is overwhelmingly female and at least half gay or lesbian. Reaching those niche voters is one thing, but ignoring mainstream America is just bad politics.
Strong Clinton supporters must be worried about her awkward launch statement too. Her announcement included a typo that bragged on the fact Hillary has “fought children and families all her career” and pointed people to a YouTube channel that doesn’t exist. Hardly the mark of a precision operation.
Ironically, Hillary’s resume may actually be her Achilles heel. Secretary of State and U.S. Senator both appear to be very impressive titles. It’s impressive until you ask a Hillary supporter what they believe her greatest accomplishment is. I’ve done this dozens of times. The result is always the same. Blank stare. Total silence. Crickets. Eventually a sheepish grin and something along the lines of “let me think about that” slips out, but the point is made. Hillary Clinton has no accomplishments of record. She championed no meaningful legislation as senator and few would tell you the U.S. position in the world was strong or admirable after four years of Secretary Clinton running the State Department.
There are, of course, the scandals: the deleted emails, the death of our ambassador in Benghazi, Libya; and many more. Scandals go hand-in-hand with the Clintons.
But Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most disturbing weakness may be that she still doesn’t know who she is. She has hired yet another image consultant to determine how to present candidate Hillary to the voting public. If you’re nearly 68 years old and have been in the public eye for 35 years but need someone else to tell you who you are and what your message should be, you’re not ready for the U.S. presidency.
And we’re not ready for Hillary.