Hillary Clinton 2016’s strengths and weaknesses

On April 12, 2015, former First Lady and Senator (D-NY) Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency in the 2016 election. Her main strength is obvious: Clinton is – very – famous. Five times named among the Time 100, Clinton is universally known and has developed close relationships with prominent leaders around the world like France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy, once again a presidential candidate himself. Like Marco Rubio for the GOP, Clinton is currently leading all other possible Democratic candidates by wide margins in national polls. Except former Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and two-term US Vice-President Joe Biden, it is very difficult as of today to identify any other strong competitor who could have any real chance against Clinton. Nonetheless, caution should be exercised.

Indeed, Clinton experienced a similar trend of irresistible ascent in 2008 when she ran for the Democratic nomination for the first time, and there is fear among her supporters that she might start as a favorite then end second to another relatively inexperienced but better organized and more focused candidate. Yet this time Barack Obama may be one of Clinton’s best assets. After the unprecedented Yes We Can election of Obama as the unexpected, young, energetic, first black US President, the voters may this time prefer experience over newness, chiefly as doubts are growing about US influence abroad. Clinton has legislative experience with two mandates as US Senator during which she proved her ability to find consensus with her harshest Republican opponents at the time. Also, thanks to Obama, Clinton has government experience with her four years as US Secretary of State. Despite such bright resume, Clinton will have to clarify again her role regarding the Benghazi incident and find a more convincing explanation for having set up her own e-mail server contrary to the State Department’s statutory requirements.

Her quite undiplomatic comparison of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Adolf Hitler will be some additional ammunition for her contenders and will likely be something she regrets when she has to convince her fellow Americans she’s the one they need as commander-in-chief. Similarly, it’s unsure how much a positive impact the support of her daughter Chelsea will have as the 35-year-old seems a bit far from her generation’s average American voter by all standards. On the contrary, former President Bill Clinton whose two mandates mainly remind America about the X-Files-ambiance economic vitality of the 1990s will likely boost popular support for Hillary. In the end, if Clinton manages to set up a united team of people determined enough to put aside their differences and concentrate all their energy on sending her to the White House, she may become, at last, the first woman to ever win both the nomination of a major party and the US presidency.

Good luck Hillary.