While President Barack Obama calmly waits out the remainder of his term, confidently pushing for relaxed relations with Cuba and reveling in a revitalized economy, 2016 Republican presidential candidates uneasily pace as they theorize as to whether Hillary Clinton will run or not. While several viable and noteworthy Democratic candidates exist, they live in a vacuum – waiting in the wings until word descends from on high as to whether the 44th First Lady, 37th U.S. Senator from New York and 67th Secretary of State will throw her name in the ring to become the 45th President of the United States.
For years, speculation has brewed as to whether or not Hillary would run for the presidency soon to be vacated by Barack Obama. The political action committee Ready For Hillary, started in 2013, has already raised millions of dollars in support of her still-undeclared candidacy. Priorities for USA, the wildly successful super PAC which aided Barack Obama in 2012, has shifted its focus to a pro-Hillary support agenda in 2016.
Meanwhile, Clinton herself has declined confirming whether or not she will actually seek the office. Clinton has maintained a relatively low public profile since leaving the Department of State amidst high (70%) approval ratings in early 2013; concentrating her efforts on her memoirs, efforts towards early childhood development, the progress of women and girls, and being a new grandmother.
It has been nearly 6 years since Clinton has held elective office, so provided that she does decide to run – what should we know about Hillary IF (i.e. BEFORE) she officially announces her candidacy?
- In her first term as Senator from New York, she was initially a proponent of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, in her second term, she grew increasingly displeased with the meandering pace of the Iraq war, human and monetary cost, and excessive warmongering. To that end, she opposed the 2007 Iraq War troop surge, voted in favor of war-spending bill that required President George Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq with a firm and fast deadline, and was harshly critical of then-General David Patraeus’ accounts of the conditions in Iraq.
- As a Senator she voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act, which called for the creation of a 700 mile fence along the U.S. –Mexican border.
- As Secretary of State was sharply criticized over her handling of the 2012 Benghazi, Libya bombing which claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans.
- She is pro-gay rights, supports drug treatment over incarceration for drug offense crimes, increasing the federal minimum wage, voted in favor of the DREAM ACT and pathways to citizenship, and believes “trickle-down economics” has failed.
Both parties are as eager to hear a 2016 presidential campaign platform as much as the average citizen (or non-citizen) is. Since she last held elective office she has had time to sit back and evaluate the political climate to craft an agenda that accommodates the possibility of a Republican-led Congress. She is also comfortably ensconced in the fact that she is the presumptive Democratic nominee, giving her wide leeway to set forth an agenda which aligns more with her personal beliefs in the months leading up until the primary. So despite a prolonged departure from the political sphere, her hiatus from politics may prove to work in her favor.
Clinton faces an election which is, arguably, hers to lose. So when Hillary decides that she is Ready For Hillary, we then must decide if we are.
About the Author, Eric C. Henry Jr.
Eric is a 2005 graduate of Binghamton University, where he double majored in Africana Studies and Philosophy, Politics and Law. Currently, he works for the New York City Council. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and serves as Co-chair of the Community Service Committee of the New York Urban League Young Professionals.