Clinton’s announcement came in the form of a campaign kick-off video where the candidate was featured alongside different groups of Americans expressing their stories.
“Everyday Americans need a champion.
And I want to be that champion,” Clinton said in the video. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote — because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”
This will be the second time Clinton has run for president, as she lost the Democratic nomination to then-Senator Barack Obama back in 2008.
Clinton’s impressive political résumé makes her a heavy frontrunner for the nomination in 2016. In addition to serving as First Lady both in Arkansas and in the White House, she served as a U.S. Senator from New York from 2001-2009 and as Secretary of State from 2009-2013.
Current polls for the nomination give Clinton a 40-58-percentage point advantage over her next closest opponent.
Vice President of the R-MC Young Democrats Kelsey Wilkinson told The Yellow Jacket that Clinton certainly represents a formidable candidate.
“People know who she is, she served in the White House as the First Lady, so she is well-acquainted with the job and understands the expectations that come with the position,” Wilkinson said. “I also don’t think she’ll have a problem fundraising. So no matter the Republican candidate the fundraising, people say that fundraising primarily drives elections, fundraising won’t be an issue in this particular election.”
However, some key Democratic groups have made it clear that they want Clinton to show her support for key liberal issues before they choose to back her candidacy.
President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka has expressed that he is waiting to hear Clinton’s position on several issues before he considers issuing an endorsement.
Clinton will likely have to deal with taking a position on the controversial trade deal that the White House is currently trying to get through Congress, which labor groups like the AFL-CIO have expressed their disapproval of.
Trumka told AFLCIO.org that he is not inherently opposed to trade negotiations, but wants them to be on favorable terms.
“We’re opposed to bad trade deals, not trade deals,” Trumka said.
Trumka has worked closely with liberal favorite Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the past, but Warren has announced repeatedly that she is not running for president in the 2016 cycle.
Democrats looking for an alternative to Hillary have not given up yet, though.
Perhaps the most serious-looking candidate currently is former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
O’Malley has been travelling across the country hitting key spots for candidates looking to get in the primary race.
He has recently visited Hollywood (CA), New Hampshire and Iowa to talk with potential backers.
O’Malley has already emerged as an opponent of the trade deal that President Obama has supported, and he has also come out in support of crafting a solution to the student-debt crisis.
O’Malley’s surge also comes at an opportune time as Clinton is currently dealing with controversy surrounding how funds were managed for the non-profit Clinton Foundation. Clinton has also faced questions about using her private email account to do business while she was secretary of
O’Malley has also been taking subtle (and not-so subtle) jabs at Clinton since he began touring the political scene.
“American workers whose jobs are on the line right now are owed more than lip service,” O’Malley wrote in an email. “They deserve to know where their leaders stand.”
R-MC Professor of Political Science Dr. Elliott Fullmer told The Yellow Jacket the he believes O’Malley’s best chance politically would come from exploiting these types of progressive positions.
“He knows, as others do, that if [Clinton] has a weakness it’s on her left, and the idea is that the progressive base has some issues with her,” Fullmer said. “This goes back to her supporting the Iraq war and some of the seemingly less progressive positions she’s taken on things like trade in the past.”
Fullmer also noted that to improve on their performance from 2008, the Clinton campaign would have to make some adjustments.
“2008 was a really mistake-ridden campaign for [Clinton],” Fullmer said. “First of all, they didn’t understand the delegate math and they got outsmarted by Obama’s folks who knew that because of the complicated proportional way they award delegates, it makes sense to win big in some places. [The
Obama campaign] used their resources more efficiently.
“Clinton had a lot of staff from the 90s that were not in tune with some of the new aspects of campaigning like the web, social media, and some of the new fundraising tools.”
It is certainly possible, however, that none of the potential stumbling blocks will slow Clinton down on her run to the nomination. Kelsey Wilkinson told The Yellow Jacket that she believes that with a little research, voters would come around on Clinton.
“In order to make an educated vote, you have to understand some of the background of a candidate, “ Wilkinson said, “and I think that with some effort, people will come to see that Hillary Clinton as an individual and as a potential president would be the best option for our country at this time.”
-Henry Ashton ’15, Senior Politics/Opinions Editor