Clinton 2016: Experience or Exhaustion?

Katerina Krohn ‘17 – Inside Politics Program

Just recently after the announcement that she would run for presidency in 2016, Hilary Clinton has held the spotlight as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. While many Democrats are lining up to support Hilary, both parties are beginning to question her ability to win over American voters with her experience-based appeal.

According to a recent article by RT, more than 60% of democratic voters are looking for a new face—a candidate that has never run for president in the past. The article notes that Democratic support for Clinton specifically is dropping. Support for Hillary has fallen about 15 points since mid-February with as few as 45% of Democrats supporting her in a mid-March survey. Criticism toward Clinton is coming from within the party through the general public as well as through other potential candidates. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley criticized possible candidates from political families in a recent interview with ABC’s “This Week,” targeting not only Clinton but also Republican frontrunner Jeb Bush. “I think that our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives,” O’Malley stated. “The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust that is to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people” [1].

Criticism toward Clinton’s potential candidacy will continue to come from a variety of sources that will challenge her ability to successfully promote change in her campaign. Clinton’s campaign will be fatigued by her family’s presence in the political world, her unsuccessful prior candidacy, and controversy over her actions as secretary of state. The recent email controversy has only added to the nation’s exhaustion with secrecy and scandal among political families. Time will tell if the emails dispute will actually affect Hillary’s potential candidacy, but it certainly won’t help her promote an image of a fresh start.

Recently, however, some are criticizing Hillary. “She will have to break with Obama significantly and substantively if she wants to win,” said Phil Musser, a former executive director of the Republican Governors Association. “Obama is no Reagan, and America is ready for the end of his presidency, not the extension of it” [2]. While Obama may not have the approval rating of President Reagan, his stabilizing approval rating and steadily improving economy may not hurt her as much as criticisms are predicting.

It should be interesting to see how Hilary will answer the call for change now that she has decided to run, however it is still unclear what her message will be. After a prior loss, a publicized past, an association with the current president, Clinton will need to prove to the American people that she can somehow bring a fresh start.