I suppose, as a Democratic-affiliated blog, that there’s only one thing I can possibly write about this week. After much delay, stalling, anticipation, and speculation, it’s finally here.
The US government took Cuba off of their state-sponsored terrorist list. Congress passed a version of the Iran nuclear deal. Game of Thrones is back! Grand Theft Auto V came out on PC.
Hillary Clinton announced that she’s running for President.
Yes, the 2016 race has its first Democratic candidate, with many suspecting that this first candidate will be the one to eventually secure the nomination and in some cases the Presidency. And they have a point. Hillary is the most qualified candidate in the history of American elections. She has experience in the Arkansas State House, White House, Senate, and State Department, and is a veteran campaigner. To some, she is a more threatening Claire Underwood, a comparison that holds if Frank presented himself as a lovable dunce and Claire sucked less at basic communication skills (still not over that shitshow of a season). To others, she is the Iron Lady of American politics, with her shadow hanging over both recent Democratic administrations, seemingly unfeeling but reliant on personal experience and political toughness. So who’s the real Hillary? Looks like we’ll have to wait and see.
The other female Democrat looming over the 2016 race is, of course, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and initially, it seemed like she might run opposite Clinton in the primaries, the liberal firebrand to Clinton’s tempered moderate stance. That seems less likely by the day, as Warren has repeatedly stated that she’s not interested, and Clinton’s campaign strategy, at least in the primaries, seems to be in part based on capturing that same populist liberal fervor. Hillary’s campaign announcement, for example, used typically Warren language, notably saying that “the deck is stacked for those at the top.” Since then, she’s also taken up the position of wanting to overturn Citizens United and written a flattering blurb on Warren for Time’s Top 100 people of the year.
What does this mean in the long run? Potentially nothing. It very well might be a ploy to garner support among the party’s liberal base and discourage Sen. Warren from running. But it also could be a genuine redefinition of Hillary’s politics for the next 4-8 years, which is something that would do the country a lot of good. Let’s face it, the situation we’re facing is pretty dire. Congress hasn’t done anything for years save barely prevent the government from collapsing and enrich their corporate
owners donors. Someone in the Oval Office willing to tackle these issues head-on, combined with Warren’s continued salvos in the Senate, seems like just about the only shot this country has of making genuine progress towards the restoration of American democracy. Is Hillary the perfect candidate? No. Will she do the job, provided she sticks by her new-found populism? Perhaps. Either way, while she will likely crush any Democratic competitors under the weight of her inevitability, Hillary just might be the best shot we have of restoring the notion of progress to Washington and beyond.