Candidate Profile: Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton once remarked that it takes a village, but the only village in 2016 is the increasingly crowded Republican field: on the Democratic side of the aisle, Clinton still leads her opponents by over 18%. Campaigning on the idea that it’s time for a female president and that the only thing better than President Clinton is President Clintons, the former Secretary of State has yet to feel the Bern. But Clinton faced similar circumstances in 2008, when she emerged as an early favorite only to lose the presidency to then-senator Barack Obama. Is 2016 Hillary Clinton’s year, or is she the Leonardo DiCaprio of the political world?
Who is Hillary Clinton?
Hillary Rodham Clinton, an Illinois native, holds a B.A. in political science from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Yale. Upon graduating college, Clinton worked several jobs in law and political campaigning before serving as First Lady of Arkansas after her husband, Bill, was elected governor in 1982. 1992 brought the Clintons to the White House, where Mrs. Clinton was promoted to First Lady of the United States. Under her husband’s presidency, Mrs. Clinton worked on health care reform, women’s rights issues, and children’s initiatives. In 2000, Clinton was elected a United States Senator, and served there until President Obama appointed her Secretary of State in 2009. Clinton currently splits her time between Washington, D.C., her Brooklyn Heights campaign office, and upstate New York.
Fun fact: Clinton was the first First Lady with a postgraduate degree and a career that had continued until her time in the White House.
What is this candidate's campaign theme?
It’s Your Time.
The Iran Deal?
In a speech last month at the Brookings Institution, Clinton vocalized support for President Obama’s controversial nuclear deal with Iran. While praising the agreement, Clinton emphasized that it “isn’t the start of some larger diplomatic opening.” She then laid out a five-part plan to counter Iranian extremism, including providing Israel with advanced weaponry, reaffirming the United States’ support for Gulf Allies, building a coalition to counter Iranian proxies and enforce sanctions, “standing against” the nation’s human rights violations, and adopting a comprehensive regional strategy to fight terrorism and promote stability.
Clinton told NBC last week that battling the Islamic State and Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad would take priority under another Clinton administration. While not advocating a specific strategy, in the past Clinton has promoted arming moderate Syrian rebels and did admit her need to figure out “the right balance” with Russia, who is currently providing logistical support and weaponry to Assad.
Clinton, the original donor of the infamous ‘reset’ button, has not laid out any strategy for tackling Russian expansionism. She did, however, compare Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hitler, leading conservative commentator Paul Craig Roberts to speculate that there is no other presidential candidate “that we can end up with as president that would be more likely to go to war with Russia than Hillary.”
Shortly after announcing her candidacy for president, Clinton allegedly held sitdowns with Jewish donors to signal stronger support under a Clinton presidency than the current Obama presidency. In fact, last year Clinton delivered a scathing indictment of Obama’s policies towards Israel, promising solidarity with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu.
In an interview with Telemundo this week, Clinton chided the Obama administration for promoting an immigration strategy too hard on undocumented immigrants. On the Clinton campaign website, however, Clinton promises to uphold President Obama’s executive orders regarding amnesty and to offer law-abiding illegal aliens a path to citizenship.
Clinton supports the Affordable Care Act and has sworn not only to defend it but to build on it. At a community forum last week in Iowa, Clinton introduced an expansion of the ACA that would cap out-of-pocket drug expenses at $250 a month in order to stop “price gouging” in the drug market. She also opposes the law’s “cadillac tax”, which imposes a tax on high-cost health care plans. As First Lady, Clinton helped her husband design a health care plan that would have provided more government subsidies to consumers and workers, set lower limits on out-of-pocket costs, created a National Health Board to set a health budget for the nation and regulate private insurance premiums, and put “regional health alliances” in charge of collecting premiums and setting fee schedules for doctors.
Rather than proposing an overhaul of the tax code (as her opponents across the aisle have done), Clinton views it as a mechanism for solving the “defining economic challenge of our time– [raising] incomes for hard-working Americans.” Rather, when Clinton rolled out her tax proposals in June, she included a so-called “Buffet tax” (stipulating that high-income households pay at least a minimum percentage of their income in taxes), tax relief for small businesses, new taxes for multinational businesses that benefit from overseas loopholes, and various tax credits and subsidies. All these policies, however, are meant to complement her main goal of raising the minimum wage to at least $12.
In August, Clinton unveiled The New College Compact, a comprehensive plan that aims to help students graduate from public colleges debt-free, cut interest rates for those currently in student loan debt, and expand existing aid programs. The campaign estimates the proposal will cost the federal government $350 billion, to be paid for by limiting tax expenditures for wealthy taxpayers. Regarding pre-college education, Clinton does not believe in school vouchers and has advocated for universal preschool.
President Clinton famously said he wanted abortions to be “safe, legal, and rare”, a statement mostly echoed by the possible next President Clinton ever since she spoke to the National Abortion Rights Action League (a group that promotes legal and unrestricted abortions) in 1999. Clinton’s voting record in the U.S. Senate reflects this view; while a senator, Clinton voted for numerous measures that removed restrictions on abortion and against pro-life measures. In fact, the National Right to Life Committee rated Clinton a 0% on abortion issues. Most recently, Clinton took to Twitter to attack House Republicans for passing a bill that would ban late-term abortions. “When it comes to women's health, there are two kinds of experts: women and their doctors. True 40+ years ago, true today,” Clinton tweeted.
Last Saturday, Clinton spoke to gay-rights lobby Human Rights Campaign, chastising Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (ironically, President Clinton signed the federal RFRA in the 1990s) before coming out in support of the federal Equality Act, a sort of anti-RFRA that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and bar states from appealing to the federal RFRA in cases of religious-liberty infringement. At April’s Women in the World Summit, Clinton told the crowd that in order for women to enjoy full reproductive rights, “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed”, a statement seen by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as a possible attempt by Clinton to infringe on First Amendment rights.
“The reality of climate change is unforgiving no matter what the deniers say[,]” Clinton said when asked about Republican opponents who deny climate change or reject government intervention in environmental policy. Clinton has presented a multi-layered plan to combat this climate change by producing 33% of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2027, installing half a billion solar panels by 2020, and generating enough carbon-free energy within 10 years of her inauguration to power every home in America. The campaign estimates that the plan, which Republicans contend could raise utility costs and lead to blackouts, will cost $60 billion.
Is she a controversial figure? Why?
Apart from the controversy generated through her left-wing views and progressive morals, Clinton currently faces legal repercussions for, among other charges, using a personal email account while Secretary of State. While the FBI has reportedly recovered some deleted correspondences, Clinton deleted her email server following the accusations, raising questions about whether the destroyed emails reveal new details about the Benghazi attack that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens dead, leaked information regarding classified documents, or even a hacked server. The scandal comes on the heels of allegations that the Clinton Foundation (run by Hillary, Bill, and their daughter Chelsea) didn’t make the disclosures it needed to while Clinton served as Secretary of State and that speeches the Clintons gave on behalf of the charitable organization were actually for-profit.
What’s one humorous or summarizing quote from this presidential hopeful?
"There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country."
Photo Source: Florida Politics