Hillary Clinton campaign leaves Democrat voters with few choices
Where, oh where are the Democrats?
Hillary Clinton announced her run for president on Sunday, to the surprise of no one. Her candidacy has been one of the worst kept secrets in politics. She announced her bid for the Democratic nomination with a video to her new Facebook page. Her video had more than 2.3 million views as of Tuesday evening.
But the rest of the Democratic field is eerily silent.
While it is still early in the campaign trail, Clinton’s dominance of the Democratic Party right out of the gate is alarming. She has nationwide name recognition, an enormous war chest of campaign funds and a résumé that includes First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State to boot – but that does not mean she should just get the nod.
For better or worse, Americans love a good fight. Events like boxing, wrestling or Mixed Martial Arts have enormous followings. Hockey fans get up and cheer when two players decide to drop the gloves and are usually disappointed when the referees break up the scrum.
Politics is no different. According to a recent Bloomberg poll, 72 percent of Democrats and Independents would like to see a robust primary with legitimate challengers.
That is exactly what people should want.
Democracy only works if voters have choice. Getting stuck with Clinton just because she is the only legitimate candidate running would be a massive injustice to the American people. Choice forces candidates to take a stance on the important issues, speak candidly and work to earn the vote of their constituents. Candidates in a contested primary can’t hide behind their partisan rhetoric because they are running against members of the same party.
Allowing Clinton to run virtually unopposed in the primary would enable her to spout the usual talking points without committing to any concrete details – something she is no stranger to. Hillary sticks to her script and gets upset when people try to deviate from it.
In Clinton’s recent interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, Gross questioned Clinton’s dubious record on same-sex marriage. She wanted to know if Clinton’s views were motivated solely based on political reasons, or if it was a true change of belief. Clinton refused to answer the question numerous times, even going so far as accusing Gross of playing with her words.
Up until 2013, Clinton was a firm opponent of same-sex marriage. In 2000 she even said: “Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman." Clinton said she would have signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage to be between a man and woman until it was declared unconstitutional in 2013.
Clinton started to back away from her statement as the gay rights movement began to take off and she was seeking a U.S. Senate seat. It wasn’t until 2013 that her flip-flop was complete. Clinton officially came out in favor of gay marriage in a video made in collaboration with the Human Rights Group, according to USA Today.
Her presidential announcement video conveniently features not one, but two same-sex couples – something that certainly polls better today than it did back in 2000. The comments laud her for including same-sex couples and it seems all her previous actions have been utterly forgotten.
Hillary should have to answer for her past.
The Clintons are a cold and calculating couple. They will say what people want to hear, what polls well or what focus groups say they like. They have even planned vacations based on polling data. Presidential historian Stephen Hess said, “The Clintons turned vacations into a political exercise; let's poll and see where people think we should go.”
A contentious primary would force Hillary Clinton to answer for her obvious flip-flop and take ownership of her record. It would also force her to say what her true ideology is instead of relying on polling data.
Putting a candidate on the spot where they must say what they truly feel is what primaries are all about. A candidate doesn’t have access to vast amounts of polling in the heat of a debate; he or she must actually say what his or her issue positions are. The American people should want someone in office who truly represents them, not someone who just spouts talking points that pander to certain demographics.
As the primary season heats up we need to see some legitimate challengers, because the American people want and most importantly deserve a good fight.
William Krause is a Political Columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org