Hillary Clinton officially announces: It Could Be Worse 2016

Hillary Clinton is running for president. This shouldn’t be news — she’s been winking and nodding for months — but her campaign officially launched today, which means that we have to talk about it like it’s something new.

But on a number of levels, Hillary Clinton and her campaign are nothing new.

Hillary Clinton is a known quantity, having been heavily involved at the highest levels of American politics for over 20 years, so she can’t seriously bill herself as a reformer with new ideas that will shake up Washington. Her rhetoric on domestic policy is a janky recitation of the Democratic Party’s small-ball tweaks to America’s wealth distribution; her understanding of America’s role in the world is even more hawkish than President Obama’s. She’s got sketchy ties to Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and even sketchier ties to the Religious Right. Voters seeking “change” in 2016 really should be looking elsewhere — not that they’ll find anything they like.

All signs point to Hillary Clinton running an intentionally boring campaign. She’s starting with a big lead and no serious primary challenger. Barring a major scandal — unlikely for a candidate that’s been as thoroughly vetted as Clinton — or national crisis, she can spend the next year and a half being, as Jonathan Chait put it, “the candidate of the only major American political party not run by lunatics.”

As long as Clinton remains the only candidate in the race who understands (not believes in) science and isn’t actively working to dismantle the Civil Rights Act, she doesn’t need to go out on any limbs in order to win the White House. I think that’s a shame, but until the Republican Party sobers up and offers a credible alternative — which isn’t going to happen any time soon — she has no incentive to do otherwise, and we have no choice but to go along and vote for her.

So it’s no wonder that Clinton didn’t seize the opportunity to make a grand announcement — no grandiose speech to a captive audience — that forcefully answered the “Why am I running?” question. The answer is something along the lines of “Why not? It could be worse.” Unlike her Republican opponents, who in no uncertain terms represent radical, tyrannical, oligarchical change, Hillary Clinton represents all of the things from the 1990s and 2010s that poll well, and a couple of things that don’t. She doesn’t need to make any hard choices in order to win; until that calculus changes, we can’t expect her to.

Hillary Clinton, via Alan Freed / Shutterstock

Hillary Clinton, via Alan Freed / Shutterstock

To be sure, Clinton seems primed to run an excellent version of this boring campaign. She has her finger on the pulse of the median American voter and, as evidenced by her announcement video, seems ready to capitalize on the fact that said median voter considers marriage equality, immigration reform and expanded economic opportunity to be noncontroversial must-dos before the decade is out.

That says more about how much progress the country has made over the last eight years than it does about her as a leader. On issues ranging from military intervention to marriage and economic equality, the median American voter in 2016 is safely to the left of where Hillary Clinton stood in 2008. Clinton’s done plenty of evolving since she last ran for office in an attempt to catch up; if and when she wins, she’ll enter the White House with a clear mandate for progress on these issues.

The question that remains, then, is how serious she is about following through on that mandate if and when she’s elected.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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39 Responses to “Hillary Clinton officially announces: It Could Be Worse 2016”

  1. Jon Green says:

    When we have a Euro-style proportional representation and a prime minister, I’ll stop voting like we have a 50%+1 presidential system.

  2. Bill_Perdue says:

    What could be more boring than being a reactionary. We going to be give the choice of voting for the lesser reactionary.

  3. Bill_Perdue says:

    Obama lied and abandoned single payer.

    public option – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acc6Wn_BWlk

    Democrats in Congress would have never voted for good medical care, They’re political prostitutes who service the banksters, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.

  4. Bill_Perdue says:

    Hillary will be the same.

  5. Jade says:

    And harsher drug penalties and raids (especially with regard to pot), hardly any presidential pardons, and arresting citizens whistle-blowers.

    Remember when Obama questioned Snowden’s patriotism? I don’t recall
    anyone asking, “how does it feel?” when Giuliani did the same to him,
    but I couldn’t help thinking that at least a shred of justice (no matter
    how small and insignificant) had been served.

  6. Jade says:

    “I’ll hold my nose and vote for…”

    My God. People have been doing this my entire adult life. It’s why my generation inherited the remnants of 12 years of Reagon/Bush. This kind of shoulder-shrugging, flaccid, bent-backed, “Daw! Oh well” way of voting is how we got to this horrid place to begin with.

  7. John Smith says:

    A boring campaign is a losing campaign. She needs to give every Democrat and Progressive a reason to vote FOR her.

  8. Bill_Perdue says:

    Both Warren and Sanders support the existence of the racist zionist colony in Palestine, both have ties to the banksters and the Military Industrial Complex , both are Democrats, a right wing party moving right. One is in the guise of an independent, neither are socialists (Sanders is a fake socialist, a social democrat) and both are too cowardly, unlike the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, to criticize Obama’s illegal and racist murders of Arab Americans.

    And thanks for not engaging in personal attacks.

  9. Jon Green says:

    When Clinton and Obama were fighting it out for the nomination, I was 16 years old and certainly wasn’t aware of any anti-HRC policy on Americablog ;)

    If my (our) writing isn’t your cup of tea, I’m not going to tell you different. But when I plant a flag and declare someone to be wrong, I normally do them the courtesy of explaining why I think that’s the case. And who knows? Maybe they’re actually right and I learn something!

  10. Jon Green says:

    “I don’t engage I personal attacks.” <– exactly, that's why I engaged with your comment, and said that you expressed yourself *without* personally attacking me or the site.

    On the rest, if Sanders and Warren are too corporate for you then we're just going to have to agree to disagree. And that's OK! It's how discourse works.

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    We got more of the same.

  12. Bill_Perdue says:

    I don’t engage I personal attacks. You confuse political criticism with personal attacks. Quote me engaging in personal attacks or attacks on the ‘site’.

    Krugman is a Democrat. I occasionally agree with him on economic questions like his description of the current economic crisis as a “Long Depression” similar to the one in Japan or the one in her from 1873 to 1879. I don’t ever remember agreeing with him about the Democrats on anything.

    You’re wrong. HRH HRC is not moving left, she’s a rightist moving right and playing populist just as all Democrats and Republicans do at election time. Their election promises are worthless. Looking at her record proves that she’s a racist, a tool of the corporations, a rabid warmonger and an opponent of the Bill of Rights.

    Democrat candidates are not worse than Republicans on the key questions, they’re the same. So voting for any Democrat or any Republican, including Sanders and Warren, is a vote for racism, a tool of the corporations, rabid warmongering and gutting the Bill of Rights. holding your nose won’t help the rest of us if she or any Republican gets elected.

  13. Tex4Dem says:

    You’re writing about your opinion. You don’t support Hillary Clinton as a candidate. The last time I read an article on Americablog was when Clinton and Obama were fighting out for the nomination. Back then, Americablog was also against Hillary Clinton. Funny thing is, the writers then expressed the same sort of opinions and interpretations. It’s like there’s a anti-Hillary Clinton policy in effect.

    Opinions are fine, except I believe you’re wrong. Americablog was wrong then; It’s wrong now. You say you want constructive criticism, but I seriously doubt it. It’s like when someone on the left tries to debate someone on the right. Most of the time, no amount of constructive criticism is going to change your mind, so I’m not going down that road.

    I guess you’re just not my kind of blog.

  14. 2karmanot says:

    Definitely got short-changed

  15. Jon Green says:

    “How’s what done?” Constructive criticism. You have a legitimate grievance with the article, and expressed it well without attacking me or the site.

    To answer your question:

    As the title gives away, I’m not exactly *jazzed* about Hillary, but she’s the only Democrat running and, I know you don’t see any difference between Ds and Rs, but it could be a LOT worse. And if you don’t agree with me, try Paul Krugman:


    So I’d love to vote for someone else in the primary — I may even write in Tom Perriello if no one jumps in — but when push comes to shove, I’ll hold my nose and vote for her in the general.

    That said, as I mentioned in the article, the fact that the general election electorate is more progressive than where she was in 2008 is significant. You say it’s significant because it means she’s a corporatist hawk; I say it’s significant because it’s already moved her somewhat to the left. I think we’re both right.

  16. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’ll try again.

    Why did you ask us to support HRH HRC’s policies like NAFTA, Bill Clintons deregulation bills of 1999 and 2000, a warmongering supporter of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the torture and jailing of Chelsea Manning, an opponent of socialized medicine and a union buster. Etc.

    How what’s done?

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    Or even worse, as Bill Clinton’s seventh term.

  18. Jon Green says:

    See? That’s how it’s done :)

  19. Bill_Perdue says:

    Those are just excuses and not very accurate excuses.

    Obama has always been a reactionary. “The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.” Obama, in an interview with Noticias Univision 23. ABC News, 12 15 2012 http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/obama-considered-moderate-republican-1980s/story?id=17973080.

    Obama, as a candidate, promised Hope and Change. What a crock “Once in office, Obama chose:

    – three successive White House chiefs of staff who’d made fortunes in the financial industry: Rahm Emanuel (amassed $16 million within a couple years of exiting the Clinton White House), William Daley (JPMorgan Chase) and Jacob Lew (Citigroup/now U.S. Treasury Secretary).

    Wall Streeters to dominate his economic team, including Clintonites like Larry Summers as chief economic advisor and Peter Orszag as budget director.

    – Monsanto executives and lobbyists for influential food and agriculture posts.

    – a corporate healthcare executive to preside over healthcare “reform,” while allowing pharmaceutical lobbyists to obstruct cost controls.

    – an industry-connected nuclear power and fracking enthusiast as Secretary of Energy.

    – two successive chairs of the Federal Communications Commission who’ve largely served corporate interests, including former lobbyist Tom Wheeler now undermining Net Neutrality.” http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/15/hrcs-candid-motto-for-democratic-party-represent-banks/

    Republicans are the enemy and so are Democrats. Neither party can or will change.

  20. Bill_Perdue says:

    You asked us to vote for a supporter of NAFTA, Bill Clintons deregulation bills of 1999 and 2000, a warmongering supporter of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the torture and jailing of Chelsea Manning, an opponent of socialized medicine and a union buster. Etc.

  21. Naja pallida says:

    I’m just going to see a Hillary Presidency as George W. Bush’s fifth term, because I don’t really see much of anything changing in any serious way.

  22. Jon Green says:

    I’d say that regardless as to whether it’s OK for the author of the article to vent (I don’t think this article was a “vent,” but that’s just me), that’s one of the things the comments section is for. However, constructive criticism is always preferred. What was so bad about what I wrote? What did I get so wrong?

  23. Houndentenor says:

    I can’t imagine any scenario in which we get to single payer. I’m for it. the current “system” is a nightmare. I have insurance. I have a PPO and never go to out of network doctors. I still never know what I’m going to be charged until I get the bill. Reimbursement takes at least months (I’m still waiting for one from January so I’ll let you know if the months needs to be upgraded) because a fully covered visit asked me for payment up front. There’s no live person to be found on the phone. I know single payer has it’s problems (note for anyone reading this: if you don’t know the difference between single payer and socialized medicine like in the UK then go read about the difference before responding to me, because I am in no mood). I can’t imagine any other service for which I would agree without knowing what I was going to be charged in advance. Not a one. But as it is we can’t even have a reasonable debate about health care because the public loses its shit and even the so-called liberal politicians are so far removed for what health insurance means for those of us not in luxury plans (mostly paid for by the taxpayers) that they are clueless and worthless. And then there’s the fact that the health care service industry has they bribed to the point that no one else has access to them anyway.

    We need a long list of reforms to get anywhere near what you’re asking for. They aren’t unreasonable demands. It’s just that our current system is so corrupt that anything that benefits citizens rather than corporations is doomed until then.

  24. Jade says:

    We’ll never know because it wasn’t even considered. Believe me, I get what you’re saying. The Democrats are useless and the Republicans are insane. But why should the Democrats in congress move even an inch from the safety of the center if their president is as milquetoast as they are?

  25. Houndentenor says:

    Do you really think a single-payer plan could have gotten out of committee much less passed? He barely got the watered down ACA bill passed.

    (Note: I’m acknowledging the NSA, etc part of your post. You are right and I won’t be making any excuses for the president on any of those issues.)

  26. Jade says:

    This can’t all be blamed on Congress. Obama’s own, personal record on the drug war, the war on terror, the Patriot Act, NSA spying, and whistle-blowing is abysmal. He took for fucking ever to support marriage equality (and finally did only after Biden forced his hand). He’s timid about using the power of executive order. He never even tried for single-payer healthcare. And he never even considered charging the Bush administration for war crimes.

    He’s appeased and appeased, and then appeased some more. He interviewed with Bill O’Reilly during the goddamn Super Bowl, pretty much solidifying that channel’s legitimacy as a “news network” for good. I know he’s better than those he ran against (including Clinton), but not by much. So much of his election rhetoric and his ultimate presidency comes off as a bait-and-switch that I doubt I’ll ever cast a non-cynical vote again in my life.

  27. Tex4Dem says:

    If it’s OK for the author of the article to vent, it’s OK for me. As far as Clinton is concerned, it’s early yet. Maybe someone else with run for the nomination. So, don’t panic. No need to jump off the cliff just yet in despair.

  28. Houndentenor says:

    We got all the change Congress would allow. Let’s put the blame where it’s due. Spineless, incompetent Democrats like Reid and obstructionist Republicans.

  29. Houndentenor says:

    Agreed. Wake me up the day before the primary and then again the day before the election. Is anyone going to say anything new or interesting in those interims? If not, you can easily catch me up in 24 hours before I go vote, and I’ll miss the “horse-race” nonsense and “commentary” by idiot talking heads on cable news channels.

    Isn’t there any real news to be covered? Of course there is but they have to leave Manhattan and their comfy chairs in the tv studio to do that.

  30. Opinionated_Lady says:

    True. He will be the reason so many voters won’t turn up at the polls. We had so much hope in 2008, but got little change.

  31. Jade says:

    We had that with Obama, and look how far that got us.

  32. Guest says:

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  33. rmthunter says:

    It’s April, 2015, and I’m already sick of hearing about the November, 2016 election.

    Maybe that’s what they’re counting on.

  34. B00Z says:

    It’s definitely shaping up to be another “lesser of two evils” election. Gentlemen and women, choose your lesser! IMHO, this country desperately needs new and untainted blood in the White House.

  35. mark_in_toronto says:

    “. . . how serious she is about following through on that mandate if and when she’s elected.”
    About as serious as any other candidate . . . NOT.
    This “lesser of two evils” system is a joke. 300 million people and these are the choices?
    Oh well . . . when you consider the futility of the job . . . I wouldn’t want it either.

  36. Knottwhole says:

    Yet, here you are. You didn’t need reaffirmation. You needed to vent. Congrats.
    Mission accomplished!
    Another Clinton, is just the confirmation of royalty.
    Let’s just announce a king and queen. Back the the good ole days before the revolution.

  37. Tex4Dem says:

    I stopped reading Americablog ages ago. Now, I realize there was a very good reason for that decision. Thanks for reaffirming things for me.

  38. Bill_Perdue says:

    Go for it, Democrats, nominate H Clinton, is a right wing christer. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/09/hillarys-prayer-hillary-clintons-religion-and-politics

    H Clinton is a graduate of the Wal-Mart school of union busting and scabbery and a paid tool of Sam Walton’s litter, a family that’s stolen hundreds of billions from underpaid workers. H Clinton sat on the Wal-Mart board of directors for six years while B Clinton used the office of Governor of Arkansas to spread the influence of Wal-Mart across the country. Big business knows who loves ’em.

    The Clintons wealth is subsidized by Wal-Mart through Wal-Marts contributions’ to the Clinton Foundation and by speaking fees that can go for $200,000.00 a shot. It’s the corporations way of saying thank you for NAFTA, DOMA, DADT and deregulation. Chelsea Clinton is the Vice Chair of Clinton Foundation. It’s the family business scam.

    The Hill: “Hillary Clinton’s K Street network is preparing for a White House run in 2016. With Democrats in Congress already anointing Clinton as the party’s standard-bearer, lobbyists are pledging their allegiance and making clear they will do whatever they can to help the former first lady become first in command.” http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/200059-several-lobbyists-say-theyre-ready-to-support-a-hillary-clinton-white

    H Clinton is a racist whose political role in the 2008 primaries shifted from being HRH Hillary Clinton to a mean spirited race baiter. She played the race card against Obama every chance she got.

    She’s warmonger in the tradition of Obama, B Clinton and the Bushes.

    She and Obama were enraged when Chelsea Manning exposed their role as war criminals and empire builders. Chelsea Manning was tortured and jailed.

    Democrats will idolize her and the left, for our part, couldn’t ask for a better object lesson in the utter senselessness and assured destructiveness of the right wings version of the twin lesser evil in the persons of Hillary Clinton or whoever the Republicans put up. When any Democrat or Republican wins their regime will just anger more and more working class Americans.

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