Hillary Clinton may not be Progressives’ first choice, but considering the GOP alternatives, she looks very good, indeed. Most of us at Ring of Fire are pulling for Bernie Sanders, who could increase his support among women voters by adding Elizabeth Warren to the ticket. Nonetheless, this early in the campaign, nothing can be taken for granted. Without trying to prognosticate, it behooves us to examine all possible outcomes.
Hopefully, Clinton has been taking note of the Sanders campaign and realizes that she will have to move further to the left if she hopes to garner more voter support. She has at least been giving lip service to Progressive ideas, but has been sketchy about details. Chances are, she will have to start taking unequivocal stands on these issues as the elections play out over the next fifteen months. This will be necessary if she wants to differentiate herself from the GOP (as opposed to coming off as “Republican Lite”) among Progressives.
Like that of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton’s Administration would be historic in that she would be the first woman head of state in U.S. history. Because of that – as well as her party affiliation, should the GOP keep control of Congress – she would face many of the same issues. She is likely to receive criticism from the Right, which will claim she won the election based on her gender. Those on the Left will be unhappy with what is certain to be perceived as the “status quo.” It is unlikely that Clinton will ever be as Progressive as Sanders, but Bernie’s influence could force her to move in a more Progressive direction. That said, a Hillary Clinton Administration would be similar to the last eight years without a major shift in Congress – at least on the domestic front. At best, Clinton would be somewhat progressive, and probably wouldn’t cause much in the way of further harm.
On the other hand, Clinton’s foreign policy views have been on the “hawkish” side. As a Senator in 2002, Clinton voted in favor of the resolution authorizing George W. Bush to invade Iraq. She has since expressed regrets over that vote. This suggests that she is able to learn from past mistakes. As late as 2008, she was taking a hardline approach on Iran and Venezuela, yet she is supportive of the current treaty with Iran. It is possible that as a Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton is beginning to understand that the majority of Americans – particularly veterans and those with family members in uniform – favor diplomacy over force of arms.
The jury is still out on how well Hillary Clinton would handle her tenure in the Oval Office, and much remains to be seen. One fact is abundantly clear, however – Clinton at her worst would be far better than Bush or Trump at their best.