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YFG Blog - Why Hillary Can Win-If She Runs - News - Young Fine Gael

YFG Blog - Why Hillary Can Win-If She Runs

Blog Post from Niall Ryan, Chairman of Limerick YFG

Will she or won't she? If you are like me, a close follower of US politics, you will likely know that this is one of the biggest questions on the minds of America's political class.

Personally, I would have been an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton when she first ran for President in 2008. Much to my disappointment, the charismatic Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama ultimately won the Democratic Nomination. I begrudgingly supported Senator Obama for President, wanting to see an end to what I then thought was a disastrous eight years of the Bush administration. Four years of John McCain and another Republican President seemed unappealing. However, in the years to follow, my views did change somewhat. 

President Barack Obama is not even a year into his second term and speculation has already turned to who will succeed him as President of the United States. It is phenomenal to see that in 2013 media speculation is rife that Hillary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, Senator from New York and First Lady will launch a second presidential campaign and finally break the "Glass Ceiling".

In modern times, it has been rare for a President to be succeeded as President by a member of their own party, excluding in the circumstances of the death or resignation of the incumbent. Al Gore couldn't manage to succeed Bill Clinton as President of the United States, despite the huge popularity of President Clinton and his administration back in 2000.

In recent memory, George H.W. Bush has been the only member of his party to succeed a president of his own party, in this case President Ronald Reagan. The reasons for Bush's landslide election in 1988 can be attributed to two factors. Firstly, the weakness of his gaffe prone opponent, Governor Michael Dukakis. Secondly, many Americans remembered the "Malaise" under four years of the Carter administration. President Reagan had done much in his eight years to rebuild national morale and improve the economy. Many Americans were unprepared to elect another Democrat to the White House, seeing as memories of Jimmy Carter were still fresh in voters' minds.

Despite the incumbent president being a member of her own party, I believe Hilary Clinton can succeed for three reasons.

Firstly, her popularity is high, with favourability ratings in the 60's; back in 2008 Clinton's favourability ratings were barely reaching 50%. Although seen as an extremely capable candidate then, she was also perceived to be a cold individual. Memories of the Whitewater and Lewinsky scandals during her husband's presidency did not help to assuage these fears. Most significantly, her vote (while Senator) authorising President George W. Bush to proceed with the Iraq war was a major stumbling block. This was a major disadvantage in the Democratic primaries, with many Democrats becoming extremely hostile to the Iraq war as it continued and as casualties mounted.

By 2016, however, the scandals of the Clinton administration will be a distant memory. This is arguably the case already as her husband's popularity continues to soar. The Iraq War has ended and it is hard to imagine voters holding this vote against her, 13 years after the war ended, while we are now arguably in a different politically era, where then foreign policy took precedence over economic policy.

Secondly, the prospect of a female president has huge appeal not just with women in America, but also in many demographics across the entire country. Having seen an African-American President elected, many now feel it is time to shatter that "Glass Ceiling" and change the title from Mr President to Madame President for a term or two.

Lastly and most significantly, Hillary's chances are enhanced by a Republican Party that is disjointed, in disarray and consistently at odds with the public mood. The Republican Party used to be the party of ideas. Gone are the days of Ronald Reagan and the eternal optimism he held for America, best illustrated by his oft repeated phrase "It can be done". Now we find a Republican Party basking in negativity, whose confused political stance is arguably exacerbated by the arrival of the Tea Party.

The Republican Party's opposition to gay marriage and passing immigration reform are at odds with the general public view. Their stances and lack of tolerance on social issues make them unelectable to the White House. Former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida recently stated that neither his father, George H.W. Bush, nor Ronald Reagan would be capable of winning the Republican Presidential Nomination in 2016 - I would agree with this argument. I would even go so far as to suggest that the most recent Republican President, George W. Bush, would now find it difficult to win the nomination - a candidate who supported greater regulation of the financial sector, tried to pass immigration reform and increased federal spending on Medicare.

In closing, I accept I have been critical of the present day Republican Party. However, in the last election I wanted to see a Romney win. His promise of rolling back the role of the Federal Government resonated with me and a political standpoint, like Reagan's belief in the American people to do things for themselves, without relying on the Federal Government. I don't back either party vehemently; both parties have their faults.

Barack Obama has been a huge disappointment and as a result, America stands at a crossroads. This is why I believe Hillary Clinton can win, as her experience and popularity stand in contrast to a relatively inexperienced and increasingly unpopular President Obama.

Ronald Reagan always said he believed that America's best days were ahead. While this may be true for the country as a whole, it is unclear whether this is true for the party of Reagan, Bush, Ford and Eisenhower. In contrast, at this moment and time, it looks like Hillary Clinton's best days lie ahead.

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