What to Expect from Hillary Clinton (Had She Won)
Hooray! The United States has elected its first female president! What an achievement for the U.S. to join the ranks of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Norway. But all jokes aside, in a wild, bumpy, and rather entertaining election year, Hillary Rodham Clinton was able to crush the populist demagogue Donald Trump and take the mantle as the “Leader of the Free World.” Speaking of Donald Trump, the man deserves a bravo as well for clinching the Republican nomination and making it so far into the election while having absolutely no prior experience in politics. Whatever you think of the man, such a feat is truly a tremendous sight at which to marvel. Congratulations to former President Bill Clinton for becoming America’s first First Gentlemen and congratulations to Vice-President Tim Kaine. But now that this introductory round of applause is out of the way, we must ask ourselves: where do we go from here?
It is well known that Hillary’s campaign rode the cushions of celebrity status, name recognition, and being a former First Lady. It is no exaggeration that much of the hype surrounding her campaign has been the result of a craftily engineered illusion of dramatic change that is imagined to come from being the first female President. Of course, this idea is not entirely illusory. Indeed, Hillary has made being a female candidate an accentuated aspect of her campaign more so than she did in 2008. However, the same was true of Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and the first woman to run a Fortune 20 American company, who was and is by all standards shrewder than Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and other similar predecessors in the GOP. This is not to downplay the significance of Hillary’s presidency, especially in the eyes of her dearest supporters, but does Hillary’s presidency cogently address the grievances that younger voters have with American politics?
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of millennials who have a positive view of national news media has declined by 13 percent in the last six years and is only continuing to decline. This is very likely because the influence of corporate news media on politics is now transparently obvious. Unsurprisingly, millennial views on governments, politicians, organized religion, and anything that can be considered as part of “the Establishment” has declined. Corporate media has a way of using the illusion of neutrality to ironically push certain agendas. If you have been paying attention to Hillary’s media coverage, it’s not hard to see how CNN earned the epithet of “Clinton News Network,” especially with an interview like this one with Jake Tapper and Luis Miranda.
The role of money in politics is a larger issue with which many younger Americans are fed up. This was also an issue at the core of Bernie Sanders’s campaign as politics is now in the business of pandering to corporations and other elites. This in part explains the appeal of Donald Trump among this election cycle’s Republican base. But how is Hillary on this issue? In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, the Clintons rushed to defend Goldman Sachs, a company who — in the midst of much well-deserved criticism — provided millions of dollars in campaign contributions and donatives to the Clinton Foundation. Hillary went on to accept $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. This is not news, it’s a harsh reality that spans over four decades. The Clintons have built a global web of donors, amassing $3 billion according to a recent investigation. This web consists of high-profile patrons like Steven Spielberg and foreign governments like Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Two-thirds of this amassed wealth goes to the Clinton Foundation and the rest goes toward direct political support of the Clintons, but don’t be fooled. These donatives still carry the same material effect (or an approximation thereof) of making the Clintons political panderers. They are still under the influence of wealthy donors and have been for decades.
How does Hillary fare on trustworthiness? Recent revelations by Wikileaks have dropped bombshells on Hillary’s integrity. The most prominent revelation being the attempts to marginalize Bernie Sanders’s campaign by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Emails of the DNC were leaked wherein it was shown that former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — among others — tried to undermine Sanders by targeting his religion, painting him as an outcast of the Democratic Party, and crafting a narrative to malign his campaign in its aftermath. Schultz subsequently became the honorary chair of Hillary’s “50 state program.” As much as you may despise Trump, his “crooked Hillary” epithet evinces a larger reality about corruption and corporatism in American politics.
But wait, there’s more! Hillary’s foreign policy is truly a spectacle. It’s a clear display of how support for the Invasion of Iraq, support of the Libyan intervention, and support for arming rebels to oust Bashar al-Assad can be occluded by being the first female President and wearing the hat of “Democrat.” At this point, continued militarism is just as guaranteed as death and taxes. In 2008, Hillary vowed to attack Iran in the event of any attack on Israel saying,
“In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”
Obama’s eight years has normalized the use of drone warfare, something that will obviously continue into Hillary’s presidency. Trump has been criticized for his amiability with Vladimir Putin but Hillary’s foreign policy is soaked with Cold War revivalism, a doctrine that seeks American domination and micro-managing at all costs and could very possibly lead to ideological — if not physical — war with Russia.
WikiLeaks revelations continue to denude Hillary of any modicum of credibility that she once had. From endorsing duplicity on policy positions, to condoning deadly policies in regards to the war in Syria, to scapegoating Russia as a deflection tactic in response to damning information from WikiLeaks, Hillary’s campaign and now-presidency has and will put the banality of the Establishment on full display. The only silver lining is that this election signifies the collapse of the two-party system. Whatever you think about millennials, the fact is that we can no longer be sold “business as usual” irrespective of how it’s dressed up. In a rightful attempt to distance themselves from Trump’s monstrously fatuous rhetoric, those who say “I’m with her” have forgotten to ask: Is she with me? Is she with us? Only time will tell, but don’t hold your breath.