Hillary Clinton at a Glance
For Hillary Clinton, it looks like the second try’s a charm, as her margin over Bernie Sanders has increased to nearly twice as many delegates. Sanders has not yet conceded, though. As of March 18, Clinton is leading with 1,614 delegates over Sanders’ 856 delegates, including 467 superdelegates versus Sanders’ meager 26. On average, polls place Clinton with 51% of potential voter support and Sanders with less than 40%.
If Clinton becomes the first female president, this will be one of many historical firsts for her. After receiving her J.D. from Yale in 1969, Clinton became the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation, the first female partner at Rose Law Firm, the first female senator from New York, as well as the first First Lady to even seek elected office. Clinton served as the First Lady with Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. She continued her work in politics as senator from 2001 to 2009, and as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.
Bill Clinton described his presidency as “two for the price of one,” as the “Billary” team worked together on public policy. Hillary led the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, which became known as the Clinton health care plan. “Hillarycare” had its critics in both parties, and failed to launch, but other programs of hers succeeded, including the creation of the Office on Violence Against Women and more specifically, the Adoption and Safe Families Act. The Clintons’ successes were somewhat overshadowed by the media and legal explosions surrounding the Lewinski scandal and the eventual impeachment of Bill Clinton.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton failed to seize the presidency, despite a campaign based on her experience versus then Senator Obama. As his Secretary of State, Clinton faced criticism for the 2012 Benghazi attack and a moment of emotionality: “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans. What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?" Clinton’s comment concerned the irrelevance of media coverage versus the importance of preventing something like Benghazi from happening again. Although many critics have used this excerpt to paint her in an unsavory light, Hillary continued to insist the focus should be preventing a similar tragedy from happening again.
The email controversy followed in early 2015, when the State Department discovered Clinton had used personal email accounts on private servers rather than the accounts on Federal government servers. Although the information exchanged was not considered classified at the time, over 2,000 emails were retroactively deemed to contain classified material.
Clinton’s 2016 presidential run has been colored by these scandals, but it has in no way been halted. Clinton is presently the front-runner over democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, presumed to face Donald Trump. Compared to bombastic and even vulgar Republican antics, Clinton and Sanders’ race has remained mutually respectful. As Clinton has often emphasized, "No matter who wins this Democratic nomination, I have not the slightest doubt that on our worst day we will be infinitely better than the Republicans on their best day."
Clinton’s campaign has focused on a more practical, moderate approach to social issues compared to Sanders’ progressive approach, and his call for revolution. Clinton embraces and underlines Obama’s success and has gained a large support base from African-American Democrats in turn. Clinton and Sanders share support of same-sex marriage, increased access to education, increased minimum wage, equal pay, and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their families. Clinton hopes to make preschool universally available to decrease the gap in privilege early on, as well as debt-free public college. Like Sanders, Clinton plans to pay for such a plan with increased taxes on the rich. Clinton understands that gaining bipartisan support will be difficult for universal healthcare of Sanders’ standards and proposes to instead continue to expand Obamacare, reminding voters of its origins in Hillarycare.
Because Sanders’ chances of overtaking Clinton are considered slim, the campaign has begun to turn its gaze to Trump. Hillary has remained level-headed and well-spoken for the majority of her campaign, deemed the winner of the majority of debates. Trump, also a frequent debate-winner, has gained a perception among liberal and conservative voters alike as an “un-presidential” candidate due to his penchant for crudeness and below-the-belt blows to competitors, often on subjects unrelated to politics. Whereas Hillary focuses on politics and dodges the media’s criticism of her cool personality, loud voice, and fashion sense, Trump has thrived off his celebrity image, constantly reminding the public of his financial successes. Perhaps most strange about this election is that the two frontrunners are not well-liked across the board, which has led to a highly divisive field. Both have a large number of voters who question their honesty and trustworthiness. Although Hillary has nearly surpassed Sanders, she still has much campaigning ahead of her, and potential for a lot of drama with Trump on the other side of the ring.