But will she enjoy it?
This weekend I think we can begin to see the end, the final outcome of what has been quite the most extraordinary and peculiar election I have ever witnessed and God knows I’ve seen a few.
It now seems clear that even with the enormous hit that Hillary’s campaign has taken from this latest October surprise of the FBI looking into more of Hillary’s bloody emails turning up on some stray file’s home laptop (along with his attempts at amateur pornography) the old girl is going to limp across the line pushed over by the weight of the Electoral college.
It’s going to ugly, it’s going to be undignified, but it will be unmissable, and the rest of world will sit up on the night of November 8 slack jawed in amazement at the circus that America makes of its elections. We might remember that despite what the establishment says about the strengths and superiority of America’s way of elections, not one other country thinks fit to follow. It is unique and that is just how the rest of the world would like to leave it.
So, we might usefully turn our minds to what kind of Presidency Hillary will be able to pursue, because it’s going to be one of a kind – truely sui generis, and not simply because she is a woman.
Hillary Clinton will be a lame duck President from day one and will never even be able to get out of the starting blocks. For the last 188 years every Democrat President has been able to begin their term controlling both houses of Congress. Not so dear Hills. And the Republicans will be on her case from day one. There will be no honeymoon for this beleaguered President.
Only three times ever has a President faced both houses in opposition; Zachary Taylor in 1848; Richard Nixon in 1968 and George W Bush in 1988. None of them shout success, do they? Additionally, we will recall those three Vice Presidents who were faced with unified opposition on their elevations to President. This is apposite as we might consider that Hillary’s health still has several large question marks over it. Millard Fillmore who came through after Taylor’s death; Gerald Ford after Nixon’s resignation and Andrew Jackson following Lincoln’s assassination. None were ever elected in their own right in the following election.
Even if (and boy is it a big “if”) the Democrats manage to regain the Senate, Clinton will has far less operational space, or old fashioned wriggle-room, than any other President since Grover Cleveland’s second administration way back in 1892. 124 years ago.
The Republicans are going to be holding the House of Representatives Gerrymandering and the increasing division of the urban and rural voter have long since seen to that. The Democrats hold the cities where their vote is bottled up (packed and stacked) and the Republicans are spread through the great outdoors.
Now, there will be those who will argue with me that it would only take say 30 seats to overcome this. True enough, and thirty sounds like a manageable number. However, a swing of that size has only occurred in a Presidential election twice in the modern era. And it’s going to happen next week? Yeah right.
Time was that the Republicans made life difficult for themselves by fronting up a host of idiots, fruit cases and window-lickers. Who can forget the gloriously loopy Christine O’Donnell who single handed raised the spirits of the nation, if not the hopes of Republicans. Not anymore. The latest batch are more likable, more competent and way more savvy. One might suggest the likes of Rob Portman (Ohio) a veritable rain maker for funding or Kirk in Illinois who has a huge sympathy vote following his struggles to overcome the effects of a stroke.
So Hills is NOT going to be that great transformative President she, America’s soft left, and the Democrats have hoped for. Yes indeedy she is a woman, but she is old and too obviously tired. She has been in politics for decades and is too closely aligned with the corporate elite, that same elite that so many now associate with all the ills that beset their lives – low wages, poor jobs, falling living standards, globalisation and the feeling that if there is good stuff out there then it ain’t coming anywhere near where they live. Hillary also has a difficult off-putting polarizing personality. Not a good start for a President.
So Hills on that cold blustery January afternoon in Washington will be looking out at a hugely hostile audience whose sole aim will be to bring her down. And it’s going to be downhill from there.
Like Nixon a number of long burn issues are going to dog her from day one. Even allowing for a compliant press they are going to re-surface. Like Nixon doubtless these will be lurking about at page 12 of the broadsheets only, before slowly building steam to gain pages 4 or 2 before never being off the front pages, the blogs the visual media.
So what might these be?
Emails. As Bernstein has said about her campaign, and others will say about her Presidency, the one issue that is most likely to bring her down are these confidential emails and the accusations of her having lied about them. This is going to be wrapped round her legs from day one. She will never be rid of it. President yes, but never the Queen Bee, these bloody emails mean Hillary will be condemned to being forever the Drone Queen.
Bengazi. Hillary does not have a good rep with the armed services. She does not like nor appreciate them and the feeling is mutual. Bengazi is just a focus of these feeling of dissatisfaction.
The Clinton Foundation and its money. There are good questions that need answered about where the Clintons have gained their wealth and how, and we should expect the pressure on this subject to grow.
There are continual questions about the unfortunate number of people who suffer accidents or strange suicides when investigating the more touchy elements of Hillary’s past. Expect further enquiries should anyone connected with the FBI enquiry (or any of the above), lose their position, take sudden early retirement, have a bad fall or take an unexpected heart attack under their pillow in a lonely cabin on a hunting estate somewhere out in the desert.
Hillary’s own health. Any cough, tick, lapse of concentration, walking awkwardly or falling over will be seized upon as confirmation that she is too ill to manage the job. Mind you it could also literally be her “Get out of jail free” card should the kitchen get too hot and she needs to step down.
Add to these specifics Hillary’s lack of credibility with the public and its an uphill struggle all the way. The Washington Post and ABC News had a poll recently which showed 59% of the public do not think she is honest or trustworthy. Its only because they like Trump even less she has any chance of being President at all.
Hillary also has an unfortunate habit of blaming everyone else if something goes wrong and she lacks the ability to be persuasive. If a President has any core skill at all it has to be that of being persuasive.
So when Hillary stands on that platform in the January cold and wind she will have need of persuasion more than ever before, and it would help if can cobble together some sort of policy platform people can believe in. Sadly Clinton’s agenda may be even weaker than Trump’s. There are no tax incentives, no easement of regulations, no incentives beyond a rather vague promise about infrastructure “a comprehensive plan to create the next generation of good jobs”, “the biggest investment in American infrastructure in decades” but only by taxing everything in sight. Will that raise wages or give secure full time jobs to those who feel so left out by the policies she espoused so strongly for the last two decades? Who knows. All we can be certain of is that Hillary is not going to have an easy ride of it.
She will finally have achieved her lifes ambition of being President, but will it be just ashes in her mouth?
Copyright David Macadam 2016