Clinton vs. Trump – Hillary Clinton presidential campaign (4)
Clinton vs. Trump: the political rhetoric of the 2016 presidential election, or will Hillary have the last word?
The Democratic Party will nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Senator and Secretary of State, as its candidate for President of the United States. That’s not a surprise, but no one expected it to take this long. Ms. Clinton has struggled to claim her position for many reasons. Differences in the political rhetoric of her campaign and that of the competition reflect much of her trouble.
Hillary Clinton presidential campaign – Clinton: the weighty baggage
Sen. Bernie Sanders will concede and request a unanimous acclamation by the Convention. Following a similar schedule, the convention will approve the nominee for Vice President. The choreographed event will end with persuasive speeches by the nominees.
This year things will be
Philadelphia: There is a potential for violence in the streets surrounding the Democratic Party’s convention. For one thing, there is a problem hosting the convention at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center because it is some distance from the hotel clusters at the airport and in center city. Attendees will have to travel the streets and that increases their vulnerability.
Democratic National Conventions draw every social and political fringe group. But, this year the they are likely to be hostile and vocal. For example, if Black Lives Matter supporters take to the streets, they will confront a police force pre-disposed to protect its own. Philadelphia managed the visit of Pope Francis with care and sensitivity, but there was no anger on the street to worry them. If she has not taken ownership of social “revolutionaries,” they may take over the streets as they did as the 1967 convention.
Senator Bernie Sanders: Ms. Clinton has not muted Sanders or his rabid followers. She seems to assume they will come around, but she has not addressed their expectations. She creates doubt by refusing to answer his charges, and she fails to acknowledge the real difference in their platforms and agendas. Her public assumption that Sanders represents a minor difference in the Democratic Party mission begs a lot of questions.
She has failed, at the time of this writing, to persuade Sanders to release his delegates to vote for her. She has failed to accept his platform input or leverage her power into promising cabinet appointments or a share of the spoils. Their continuing conflict consumes time and energy better spent on her fight with Trump.
President Barack Obama: Clinton’s relationship with Barack Obama has always appeared strained. He has shown no real passion in his public dealings with her or in his lukewarm endorsement. She cannot claim connection with any of Obama’s major achievements, but she cannot break her connection with Obama in the eyes of those who despise him.
Barack Obama has disappointed a large number of Americans and party loyalists. They forget or ignore his successful policy moves to solve the financial crisis that welcomed his inauguration, the oil shortage that choked American consumers, the targeted elimination of top terrorist leaders, the restoration of relations with Cuba, and the passage of the broadest attempt at universal healthcare. But, she has closer ties to major failures in foreign relations like the collapse of the Egyptian Spring, Benghazi, Syria, and Russian relations.
Her past: The Clinton name burdens Hillary. She and former President William Clinton have failed to smother rumors of corruption and infidelities dating well before his first election. They have been accused of real estate shenanigans in Whitewater, the murders of Chief of Staff Vince Foster and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, and Bill’s serial sex escapades.
Bill Clinton, strangely enough, still enjoys the adulation of Democrats despite his sexual harassment of Monica Lewinsky, lies to the American people, and perjury under oath before Congress. That popularity is not covering for her alleged email conspiracy and Goldman Sachs dealings. The public as a whole may be dynasty fatigued.
The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign & her rhetorical strategy:
While Trump promises solutions so huge that no one can test them, Hillary Clinton responds in a more tempered rhetorical style, and it is costing her. She believes her style sets her above the fray, but this may leave her outside the game. While Trump works on his brand, she pursues down home relationships, a style that better suits folksy Bill. As such, it fails to distinguish her from Bill and his brand.
Hillary centers speeches on small town stories, anecdotes that place her among the common folk and model a progressive theme. Focused on consolidating an existing electorate, she touches base with all the classic progressive issues and vocabulary. But, where Bill was winsome, she seems condescending and old-school. She debates with force and intelligence, but Trump has changed the playing field.
Relying on the emotional vocabulary of Roosevelt-era liberalism, Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric wears a dated pantsuit. Political correctness traps her into circumlocutions and avoidance. Preaching to the choir does little to expand her base. And, it will not stop a Trump who has no interest in subtlety or turn of phrase.
Conclusion: Hillary is in a bind. In 2012, she lost to the soaring rhetoric of Barack Obama’s Black Baptist call-and-respond rhythms. And, Donald Trump leads with a style she cannot match without sounding shrill and petty, a sexist bind, but real nonetheless. She leaves him so much more room to bluster and fluster if as a woman she is forced into an androgynous mode. Given the choice between her ideas and his anti-elitist, anti-institutional posture, Trump’s followers seem to prefer the simple. So regarding to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign,
will Hillary have the last word?