Hillary Clinton Makes it Official

Hillary Clinton makes it official

Image courtesy of Hillary for America

Hillary Clinton Makes it Official
| published April 13, 2015

By R. Alan Clanton
Thursday Review editor

After more than two and a half years of speculation, intense political analysis, and hundreds of widely watched public appearances, Hillary Rodham Clinton has made it official: she intends to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for President in 2016. The announcement came via a slickly-produced video released Sunday via Twitter, and later replayed millions of times over the following hours on cell phones, iPads and computers. The video stressed her inclinations toward a populist liberalism and a widening gap between the poor and the rich.

Probably no candidate in U.S. history has received as much attention in advance of making a presidential run official. Clinton has been the presumed leader of Democrats waiting in the wings for the post-Obama era to begin, and she has remained the de facto front-runner among all candidates—both Democratic and Republican. Current polling shows her beating most of her potential GOP opponents in the general election of 2016, and no polls show her facing a significant rival among Democrats.

But Republicans wasted little time sounding the war whoop, many of them already in attack mode over the weekend in advance of Clinton’s online announcement, which came on Sunday. The GOP considers Clinton vulnerable numerous fronts, including the overlapping issues trustworthiness, honesty and accountability—themes which several Republican candidates used to hammer her throughout Saturday and Sunday. Recent polls show that nearly half of those surveyed think that she was untruthful or evasive in the wake of her recent email imbroglio. According to a Bloomberg poll, 53% said Clinton purposely withheld or deleted email.

And among independents and some Democrats who consider themselves progressive, moderately conservative, or independent, Clinton’s presumed-leadership of the party is not a given. According to some polls these groups are among the weakest in their support of her candidacy.

Further, some Democratic strategists worry that if Clinton faces no genuine competition from within her party, she will be underprepared for the severity of the Republican attacks, which will begin early—as soon as it is obvious she is the nominee-apparent. Other Democrats worry that if Clinton is granted a coronation, it will undermine her credibility going into the general election.

Still, Clinton and her team are unfazed by such challenges. Rarely has a candidate enjoyed such otherwise powerful polling so early in a presidential campaign, and there are few instances in recent U.S. history where a major party has had one candidate who looms so large that hardly any other potential candidate seeks to enter the fray. The only Democrats to express any interest in challenging Clinton are Vice-President Joe Biden and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. Other Democrats who have been widely discussed as challengers—Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick—have either demurred, or have such low polling numbers as to have a negligible factor on the outcome.

Clinton’s presumed spot as front runner has also galvanized financial support and helped to shepherd major Democratic donors in her direction early. Clinton can be expected to channel a river of fundraising capacity in her direction early enough to scare off potential Democratic rivals. By some estimates, and based on remarks by some Clinton strategists, her campaign has the goal of raising hundreds of millions by the end of this year, followed by a fundraising push which may set a record total of one billion in spending by November 2016.

Clinton’s weekend announcement came by way of a video which was scheduled to be released on social media on Sunday. The video includes average people seen in the context of work, school, home and community, and features Hillary in lots of small group environments and one-on-one encounters with potential voters. In the video Clinton stresses her populist economic vision.

“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,” Clinton says, “but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get by…so you can get ahead and stay ahead.”

Although the video makes official her candidacy, Clinton plans a formal campaign kickoff in early May, possibly at a large televised rally.

Though Clinton is the only Democrat to announce her candidacy, there are dozens of Republicans jostling for the honor of facing her in November 2016. Those who have made their intentions to run official include Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, and businessman and TV personality Donald Trump. Among those who are days or weeks away from making their candidacies official: former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (a presumed front-runner and the GOP candidate who is raising cash the fastest), Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio is expected to make his official announcement on Monday.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Rand Paul to Announce Candidacy; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; April 6, 2015.

Clinton’s Email Problems Trigger Legal Actions; Thursday Review; March 28, 2015.

Ben Carson Enters GOP Contest for 2016; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; March 14, 2015.