Trump is almost certainly going to lose this election. Clinton should allow herself a moment of celebration for defeating Trump, a feat the Republicans failed to accomplish in the primaries.
Her real battle, though, has only just begun. Now she has to persuade people she will be a strong president. Thanks to the terrifying prospect of a Trump presidency, Hillary has had little scrutiny of her own policies and ideas. How can you criticise someone for being a Neo-Con when their opponent has boasted about sexual assaulting women, uses the phrase ‘bad hombres’, has said the election is ‘rigged’ and has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US?
The Clinton Campaign’s tag line, “I’m with her” sums up the sentiment of most of the American people. It’s not “I’m for her” or “I support her”, but a slightly reluctant acceptance that on balance she is preferable to “the Donald”
Clinton has begun to persuade people more effectively. In the last debate, she spoke passionately about the necessity of Roe v Wade and showed her skill and stamina when outlining what she had done in her 30 years of politics. But she still has some major obstacles ahead, and I don‘t mean conspiracies about her health or Wikileaks documents, which seem to have little basis in truth or relevance.
Clinton has to face much more serious problems than alt-right conspiracy theories. She is a neo-conservative who becomes Commander-in-Chief as the US enters its most difficult relationship with Russia since the Cold War. Her use of Cold War rhetoric throughout the debate has gone unnoticed because of the terrifying prospect embodied in Trump. But it has been very present, and it is not a promising feature of her campaign.
Indeed, in spite her ‘Stronger Together’ tag line, she has not run a campaign from the bottom up.
According to OpenSecrets, 55 percent of her campaign donations have come from large individual donations, from people like Mark Cuban, Warren Buffet and Michael Bloomberg. She also has a tricky history with sound bites. Politifact have shown a number of uncomfortable views from her past. In a 2004 Senate Speech, she said that marriage was “a sacred bond between a man and a woman” and though she has long supported LGBTQ+ rights, it is only in 2013 that she came round to the idea of same-sex marriage.
Her historic comments about race are also worrying. Black Lives Matters has criticised her for using the phrase “super predators” when referring to a bill that sent a disproportionate number of young African-Americans to prison. Clinton has said she would not use these words today, but their existence on record may cause some to pause before uttering “I’m for her”.
Clinton is an intelligent and highly skilled politician, yet she may find gaining positive support harder than the previous year’s campaigning. She must bring together a country that is bitterly divided between the Bernie left, the Trump right and the large group that simply dreams of another Obama term. We can only hope that in 2020, when she faces re-election, her campaign is “I’m for her” and not just “I’m with her”.