The race begins

By | News & Politics
Hillary Clinton shaking hands with people at an event in Penn State in 2008. Credit@Penn State.

The Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has entered the race for the White House by launching her bid to become the first female President of the United States. With the launch of her campaign website on Sunday, she stated that she wanted to be the “champion” for Americans. Mrs Clinton previously ran for President in 2008 although Barack Obama received the Democratic Party nomination on that occasion. In a video on her website she announced, “I am running for President” and that, “everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion.” As it stands, Mrs. Clinton is seen as the early favorite to receive the nomination due to her status and involvement within US politics, although it is just the early stages of campaigning.

Mrs. Clinton has a considerable status in US politics due to her long-term involvement within the government. Married to President Bill Clinton she was First Lady of Arkansas and First Lady of the United States once he arrived in office as President in 1993. She was, at the time, the most travelled First Lady having visited 79 countries as a US representative. Mrs Clinton was eventually sworn in as Senator for New York in 2001 having received 55% of the vote and won reelection in 2006 with 67%. This led to her running in the Democratic Presidential primaries and following Barack Obama’s eventual election she became the 67th United States Secretary of State on January 21st 2009.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign may look to build on the perception of her as a competent and experienced operator in both domestic and international politics. Having been at the forefront of US politics for so long, she has links with leaders across the world, which might aid her in campaigning as a secure operator in foreign policy. Pitching on this she may campaign on a stronger foreign policy having originally voted for the Iraq war and support the arming of non-Islamist rebels in Syria. Equally, in a political system dominated by the Democrats and Republicans in her time as Senator she was known for bipartisanship and deal-making ‘across the aisle’. Mrs. Clinton has been expected to run for President and her announcement marks the beginning of the race as she is regarded as the Democratic frontrunner. Surprisingly for so early in the campaign Paddy Power already gives her about a 48% chance of becoming President in 2016.

In the race for the White House, Mrs. Clinton might be seen by some as the favorite amongst Democratic candidates due to her visibility and status. Of the potential candidates, there are yet to be competitors, she appears to fit the bill most effectively and may plan on campaigning on a more grassroots level and emphasizing her billing as the “champion” for the American people. The possibility of Vice-President Joe Biden running might be a key component in the Democratic primaries. Mr. Biden might provide competition that may also eventually strengthen the Democratic Presidential candidate as competitive debate often raises interest, which can translate into support for a nominee in the General Election.

In the Republican Party there appears to be any number of potential candidates with Senators Marco Rubio (Florida), Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Ted Cruz (Texas) all officially announcing their candidacy. Equally, Jeb Bush has formed an exploratory committee analyzing a potential campaign. Rising Republican stars such as Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker and Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal also appear as possibilities to announce a candidacy. Interestingly, the Presidential campaign may potentially come down to the two political dynastic families of Bush and Clinton competing for the White House.

To some, Hillary Clinton has gained important experience since her campaign in 2008 by operating as Secretary of State. The experience and connections which her presence in both US and international politics brings might also aid her Presidential ambitions. She is also expected to raise significant amounts of campaign money due to her established fundraising from her previous campaign. Hillary Clinton’s announcement might be seen as the race for the White House truly beginning – albeit with a significant way to go.

How might Hillary Clinton’s campaign raise the profile of female participation in American politics?

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