7 Themes Emerge for Hillary Rodham Clinton and 2016
Republican operatives are as lost as last year’s Easter eggs when it comes to stopping Hillary Rodham Clinton. It’s two years from the presidential election, important 2014 elections are in front of us, and Clinton hasn’t even decided whether she will run. But the well-oiled Republican attack industry has thrown everything at her but the kitchen sink.
Last week, the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee confirmed what we’ve known all along: its most tried and most misleading attack, Benghazi, is baseless.
The committee’s two-year investigation-turned-political-shenanigan has further discredited right-wing conspiracy theorists. No deliberate wrongdoing occurred, there was no intelligence failure before the attack and no stand-down order was issued. Furthermore, Clinton took responsibility, took action and was fully transparent.
Now, the right is left with nothing. And yet they continue to try to mislead the American people.
Why would right-wing extremists devote their time, energy and money so far away from an election attempting to discredit someone who hasn’t even decided to be a candidate? It’s as simple as apple pie: If Clinton runs, their agenda is in trouble.
They have to stop her in order to secure a shot at the presidency for themselves.
But their baseless and politically-motivated attacks on the tragedy in Benghazi haven’t worked. They have been proved false time and time again. Truth rises; lies sink. In the course of our work, I’ve seen seven key themes emerge. I wanted to share them with you all.
1. Public opinion is much better for Clinton now than it was in 2008. The strength of Clinton’s poll numbers now, compared to this time in the 2008 cycle, is astonishing. This widespread favorability extends outside the Beltway to Iowa and New Hampshire, where her favorability ratings with Democrats are 89 percent and 94 percent respectively.
2. Americans across the ideological spectrum are looking positively to a potential Clinton run. Republicans are trying every tactic in the book, even trying to convince Democrats that Clinton is not liberal enough. But only 6 percent of liberal Democrats don’t think she should run for president.
3. Voters, specifically Democrats, are eager for her experience. If Clinton chooses to run, she will be the most qualified candidate in the modern history of the United States.
4. Clinton is in step with her party on core issues, particularly income inequality. While Republicans try to convince people that she doesn’t connect with the liberal base on income inequality, her lifelong record and her own words tell us differently.
5. No credible challenger can amass the kind of broad party support Clinton has. The energy and excitement for Clinton is unprecedented. In all my years in politics, I have never seen such unified excitement for a single potential candidate, while the Republican field is anemic at best.
6. Voters are behind her, not just politicos. What’s special about Clinton’s broad support is that it’s not just people inside the Beltway. Americans across the country have attended rallies, hosted house parties and donated small dollar amounts to Ready for Hillary. On her book tour, people have waited for hours, sometimes even overnight, just to see her, just to get a book signed.
7. Lastly, but most importantly, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s work ethic has been on full display for months. Clinton and her supporters, if she chooses to run, do not want a coronation. America is a democracy, not a monarchy; and we do not crown our presidents. Instead, our candidates work for it. Clinton has demonstrated that she’s ready and willing to put in the hours. Competition makes you work hard, and she will; she does. And we, her supporters, will work hard, too. These seven themes showcase the excitement, anticipation, and dedicated support for a Clinton candidacy. We must stay focused on the future, because I believe that Hillary is the best person to lead us there. We want someone focused on the hard choices that loom.
In the meantime, I’m waiting to see how House Republicans explain to their constituents back home this August that they’re continuing to waste millions of taxpayer dollars funding a wild-goose chase on Benghazi, when their own, Republican-led committee has already determined this attack to be baseless. While they’re stuck in the past, Democrats are looking forward.
Burns Strider is a national Democratic political strategist currently working as the senior adviser of Correct The Record and is the executive vice president of American Bridge. He is also the founder and principal of Eleison Group, a political consulting firm focused on faith and values.