Hillary “Most Liberal” Candidate in Years
According to Anne Gearan in the Washington Post, Hillary Clinton is easily “the most liberal Democratic presidential front-runner in decades,” espousing positions that would have labeled her a left-wing nutjob in previous years. With bold, progressive stances on immigration, gay marriage, and black incarceration, Clinton is betting on “social and demographic shifts” to put her in the White House.
Critics say such a bet could be a risky one. There is no guarantee that the so-called “Obama coalition” will come out for her on election day; regardless of her policies, the young voters who so eagerly supported Barack Obama are not nearly so energized by Clinton. Obama also benefited from his race, drawing record numbers of African-Americans to the polls to elect the first black president. Surveys indicate that women may not be quite so enthusiastic about making a similar kind of history.
Her credibility on these far-left positions is also in doubt. Her political history is rife with declamatory statements on these issues, many of which conflict with her current positions. She has gone from endorsing a traditional definition of marriage to supporting civil unions for homosexuals to her current stance in favor of full-fledged gay marriage. This shift is roughly parallel with changes in American opinion, making it look as though she is just pandering to the crowds.
“The game plan,” wrote Gearan, “also hinges on a conclusion by Clinton strategists that the broad appeal of issues such as paid family leave, a higher minimum wage and more affordable college will help outweigh any concerns about costs.”
Indeed, the kind of people who vote Democrat are rarely concerned with costs in the first place. Since much of the base toils away in low-paying jobs (if employed at all), they know that they won’t be responsible for whatever tax hikes are necessary to pay the tab. And since they don’t believe in the theory of trickle-down economics, they have no reason to fear the effects those taxes will have on wealthier citizens and large businesses. This opens the door for Clinton to espouse as many liberal positions as she wants, confident that her broke base will support just about anything.
The fact that she is able to run such a liberal campaign is a sign of how ignorant the electorate is becoming. Pie-in-the-sky promises have always been a part of politics, but it is only after the era of “hope and change” that Clinton can feel good about running on such empty platitudes. Watching the country fall for media fictions about racist police and college rape has undoubtedly emboldened her as well. We’ve left accountability behind. We’ve left facts behind. What we’re left with is a country that believes in the kind of idiotic narratives that would have been called conspiracy theories not long ago.
Democrats think that Clinton will be able to come back to the center in the general election with much greater ease than the Republican nominee. It’s a far shorter path from the extreme left than the extreme right, they say. That may or may not be true, but it shows how desperately we need a challenger who can not only sell himself but also the merits of conservatism. As much as anything, the 2016 election will come down to a battle of ideology and philosophy. We need someone who can make a factual, passionate argument against the kind of dreamy liberalism that Clinton supports.
Because if she gets to push her leftist policies on the country for four long years, it’s going to take more than a Republican president to put things right again. It’s going to take a miracle.