No – Hillary Clinton can't ‘just go away’
The 2016 Democratic nominee has been told to “shut up and go away”. She must never do that so long as she has energy to give.
Hillary Rodham Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic primary to Senator Barack Obama before going onto serve as Secretary of State. She completed that role in 2013, adding it to her resume of Layer, First Lady and Senator for New York. When, in 2016, she added to the list and added ‘Democratic nominee for President of the United States’, she became the first women to be nominated for President by a major party. Hillary Clinton is a history maker; she has continually been a woman of ‘Firsts’: the first major party nominee, the first First Lady to go on to hold elected office as Senator for New York, and the first woman to win the national popular vote of a US Presidential Election.
Clinton’s entire life has been definitive of American political history. She has become a global celebrity; Europeans love her after she was the First Lady to her husband Bill Clinton, while women and girls the world over have respected her for the work she has done to push the agenda of women’s rights, girls’ rights, children’s rights and the rights of families, with focuses on LGBT+ rights and black rights and minority ethnic rights and voting rights, too.
But Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election. To many, this means that she must bow out of public life; to “shut up and go away”, as some have put it. The idea is that Clinton has nothing to offer now that she has been defeated by Donald Trump, and Democrats need to stand up and move on from her loss towards something new. Hillary Clinton, by still talking, including in her book: ‘What Happened’, is ensuring everyone is still in the 2016 thought process and distracting from the real fights ahead.
Well. That’s bulsh*t.
The idea that the 2016 candidate on the receiving end of illegal and widespread Russian intervention in the election should just stop talking about it because it’s now inconvenient to some Democrats (and a certain non-Democrat) is laughable. Here we have a huge crisis: Trump doing business with Russia while he was seeking the Republican nomination; Trump campaign officials meeting with Russian ambassadors to (quote) “get the dirt” on Hillary Clinton and her campaign aids; and Russian companies being able to buy political adds on so far unregulated areas of political action, like online with Facebook, and Democrats are asking the candidate at the brunt of all that to just be quiet about it – it’s laughable.
It’s been almost a year since the election now. Clinton has ruled out ever running as a candidate ever again in an interview with CBS. There is no reason to fear that Hillary Clinton will rise from the grave to ‘rob Bernie Sanders again’ or lose another election. It’s over. She’s done. As much as I personally wish that wasn’t true – because I passionately believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a fantastic President of the United States – it is true. The idea she is a threat to the future path of the Democratic Party is plain wrong. She may fundraise, push on with the ‘Onward Together’ PAC that will help find and fund candidates to run at all levels, and continue to have a voice – but she will not be front and centre. Clinton is a follower now, not a leader.
So many societal and economic issues are also being discussed right now that Clinton’s 20+ years of service make her a perfect advocate for. In her interview with Vox Media on her new memoir, she discussed the radical idea of introducing a new “Universal Basic Income” scheme, modelled from Alaska’s oil revenues and European social democracy. The idea would be to address income inequality, one of the biggest issues in the American economy today with increased automation and wages not keeping up. It would offer an alternative to Bernie Sanders’ economic protectionism while allowing us to benefit from a global, interconnected world economy but look after the poorest at the same time, if done properly.
Income inequality is just one issue. The first woman to be the nominee of a major party took to her book to discuss her feminism and the sexism and misogyny she experienced working in politics and as a candidate. The first woman to be the nominee of a major party must share her her thoughts and experiences on this issue; it is paramount so that other women know firstly what to expect, but also that they should persist. She must be allowed to address women’s rights including the right to abortions as the Sanders wing contemplates allowing pro-life people stand for the Democratic Party; she must be allowed to encourage other women to follow on from her. That must be Clinton’s legacy now.
Clinton’s thoughts on sexism are deep routed and nuanced. They’re also eye-opening, based on both personal and objective evidence of women’s experiences whilst running for office. She has always been and always will be a valuable voice for the fight towards women’s equality. So long as she has energy in her body she will want to and should contribute to this debate and advancing women in office. She is a history maker and an inspirational figure. Once the election wave has finally passed, we will start to see Hillary Rodham Clinton in a new light. Her memoir – What Happened – is the start of that new light. Now stop telling her to go away. Hillary fucking Clinton is here to stay.