Black Lives Matter, Black Panthers, Occupy Wall Street, Socialists, Communists, those who want to strip God from their party platform, LGBTQ activists, Planned Parenthood, Hispanics, white-working class union workers, Wall Street, and climate-change mongers, all have a place in the Democratic Party.
So is it any wonder why Hillary Clinton is having a hard time unifying these disparate special interest groups under one umbrella? She tried the “I’m with her” slogan, in an effort to pull everyone under a banner of feminism, but it fell a bit flat, especially after Donald Trump countered with “I’m with you,” making hers feel a bit self-centered.
The central problem with Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is that no one knows what her priorities are, or what a Clinton White House would look like. Mr. Trump wants to “Make America Great Again,” and the populist message is simple and clear, a slogan that inspires and can be molded to different policy areas.
It’s hard for Mrs. Clinton’s team to create a unifying message because when she does so, she’ll surly offend one of her constituencies. Pandering to one group, upsets another. She’s got herself stuck in a politically correct quagmire.
For example, Mrs. Clinton has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, using key words such as “white privilege” and American’s need to recognize “institutional racism.” After the deaths of some black men by cops, she said she would have a talk with white Americans on these issues.
“I’m going to be talking to white people. I think we’re the ones who have to start listening to the legitimate cries that are coming from our African-American fellow citizens,” Mrs. Clinton said in a CNN interview earlier this month, pandering to the African-American vote.
However, only about four in 10 Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement, and the lies it was built on. “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” was a made-up fairy-tale of a slogan, and new studies have proven law-enforcement doesn’t shoot at black men more than white men or Hispanics.
Then, after the retaliatory deaths of cops in Dallas and Louisiana, there’s been an audible call from the nation’s men in blue for more support. Donald Trump has answered that call, defining himself as the law-and-order candidate.
Mrs. Clinton has been oddly silent. You see — she can’t support the law-enforcement community without offending her Black Lives Matter constituency.
During the Democratic Convention this week, Mrs. Clinton seemed willing to cede the “law and order” title to Mr. Trump, and in doing so, must have offended some of her working-class union voters.
It’s the same group she’s pandered to with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Mrs. Clinton, after calling the deal the “gold standard” in free trade and helping to craft its details, denounced it on the campaign trail under pressure from Mr. Trump and then rival Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders.
Blue-collar voters in the Rust Belt want their manufacturing jobs back — and rightly or wrongly — they think the way to stimulate the U.S. economy is to restructure these free-trade deals.
It’s unknown whether Mrs. Clinton will back out of this denouncement once she becomes president — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told Politico this week he thought Mrs. Clinton will flip on TPP once she gets elected into office. He later, quietly walked his comments back.
But it’s true Mrs. Clinton is between a rock and a hard place on TPP because she also has to deal with Wall Street, who are for the trade-agreement.
Being the most established, status-quo candidate in the presidential race, Wall Street’s money is on her to win — literally. Billionaire George Soros has given or committed $25 billion for Mrs. Clinton and other democrats, bankers have given more than $40 million to her campaign, and hedge-fund manager Don Sussman has coughed up $13 million.
Then there’s Mrs. Clinton’s pledge to Hispanics not to deport illegal immigrants who aren’t violent criminals. Although a majority of Americans favor some sort of path to legal citizenship, they don’t want unconditional amnesty. In addition, 61 percent of voters think the government is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are in this country illegally, according to a Rasmussen poll.
Her promise to one constituency simply doesn’t mesh with what the majority of Americans want. But it doesn’t stop there.
To appease the Occupy Wall Street folks, Mrs. Clinton has pledged to raise the minimum wage to $15, which disproportionately hurts poor African-American and Hispanic workers. She’s also decried “big money” in politics, vowing to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” decision, without recognizing her own money machine.
This year’s Democratic Party platform leaves out any mention of God, and is more extreme on abortion rights than it’s ever been — a huge victory for Planned Parenthood — yet leaving close to one-third of its base who identify as pro-life Democrats out in the cold.
The Democratic Party and Mrs. Clinton have tied themselves into knots with their often conflicting, contradictory messaging to different portions of their base. It’s no wonder why Mrs. Clinton has no overarching, unifying message — because there isn’t one to tie a bunch of special interest groups together.
After watching the Democratic National Convention, it appears the only thing that’s unifying Democrats is their hatred of Mr. Trump. In order to have any chance of pulling her base together, Mrs. Clinton is going to have to run a deeply negative, nasty campaign against him.
And that’s exactly the thing her team said they didn’t want to do going into her convention.
• Kelly Riddell is a columnist for The Washington Times.