Her campaign is based on the premise she’ll narrow the gap between the rich and the poor and understands the plight of the average working class.
“For the factory workers and food servers who stand on their feet all day. For the nurses who work the night shift. For the truckers who drive for hours and the farmers who feed us . For everyone who’s ever been knocked down, but refused to be knocked out,” Mrs. Clinton said during her presidential kick-off speech last year, vowing to fight for the middle class.
But this is a tough needle to thread, considering Mrs. Clinton is part of the top 1 percent of the 1 percent, and got that way profiting off of public service.
When Mrs. Clinton emerged from the hospital after the birth of her grandson this week, all eyes were on her $3,500 Ralph Lauren calfskin purse, being carried by an aide. New mom Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, paid upwards of $1,700 or more per night to stay in the Lenox Hill hospital in Manhattan, the same one where Beyonce and Jay-Z welcomed their daughter.
The executive birthing suite is more like a five-star hotel, with “flat-screen TVs, lushly upholstered gray and cream sofas adorned with silken throw pillows,” the New York Daily News reported.
A far cry from your average hospital room.
There’s no doubt, Mrs. Clinton’s had trouble connecting with the people she’s trying to reach.
In the latest Quinnipiac poll in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, more than half of the respondents said Mrs. Clinton doesn’t “care about the needs and problems of people like you.”
They also judged rival Donald Trump as more “honest and trustworthy.”
And there’s no wonder why.
In 2014, Mrs. Clinton famously said in an interview “we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt.” That year, the Clinton’s reported a total income of $16.2 million, according to their public disclosure report.
Today, the Clinton’s net worth is as much as $52.7 million, which doesn’t even include the values of their homes in Washington and New York, which are estimated at $9.3 million.
And they’re used to this millionaire-style living.
In 2014 Mrs. Clinton collected a $225,000 speaking fee to address the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Among her requests was a private jet, first class airfare for one of her aides, business-class airfare for two of her aides, and a presidential hotel suite for her at the five-star Bellagio, plus “up to three adjoining rooms for her travel aides and up to two additional single rooms for the advance staff,” according to the leaked advance documents.
In April, she wore a $12,495 Armani jacket during a speech about income inequality. In an appearance on the View, she clutched a $1,645 Alexander McQueen handbag.
Mrs. Clinton is so out of touch, she’s had to hire a team of image experts that includes a former Michelle Obama aide who’s been tasked with “shaping her style and making her more relatable,” according to the New York Post.
Then there’s the conflating of public wealth with private wealth.
The U.S. Constitution prohibits government employees from keeping presents worth more than $350, but upon leaving the White House, the Clinton’s didn’t seem to understand this and walked out with about $200,000 worth of merchandise — including flatware, china, furniture and rugs.
After the story broke, the Clintons said they would pay the government nearly $86,000 for items that were actually government property and also returned about $48,000 worth of White House furniture.
Working in the public sector for more than two-decades — with all its attention, bells being rung and answered — has also diminished Mrs. Clinton’s sense of reality.
Some of her emails released as secretary of state describe her difficulty in working commonplace office tools.
They describe her frustration at using a fax machine and her inability to know how to send and receive emails on a desktop — so much so she’s now being investigated by the FBI for releasing classified information.
But then there are the minor things.
Emails show Mrs. Clinton had to ask an aide when television shows aired, and how much her personal chef billed her (let alone knowing how much a gallon of milk cost, or how to prepare her own meals).
On the campaign trail, she’s asked voters silly (but serious) questions about what it means to “go-viral” and if she’d wiped her email server clean with “like a cloth or something?” She had a problem with a New York subway turnstile.
Yes, Mr. Trump’s a billionaire, but he connects with working-class people more than Mrs. Clinton ever will. He’s been on construction sites, managed employees and made his money through the private sector.
All the while, Mrs. Clinton has been getting rich off your dime, and living like it in an insular world.
No wonder why she’s having such a hard time connecting.
• Kelly Riddell is a columnist for The Washington Times.