Now that it is official that Hillary Clinton is running for President, it is time to ask piercing questions. This announcement came as expected, so there is not much in the way of excitement around it. Democrats for the most part are expected to fall in line. Already, this early the browbeating has begun, at least directed at the progressives that still orbit around the Democratic Party. Instead of focusing on continuing to apply pressure on varying progressive causes, the emerging narrative is to focus on who is most electable.
There are a few problems with that strategy. It subverts the nascent progressive strides that are being made, particularly when it comes to the living wage movement. The Clinton’s who are neoliberals, here and abroad, are fundamentally at odds with the emerging voices around labor issues and standard of living for working people. TPP ring a bell to anyone? Furthermore, as the establishment candidate, Hilary Clinton has little to say about the aftermath of Ferguson and the issue of police brutality. How she will get that base of support behind her, should be a cause of concern for Democratic strategists. But, that is their concern, not that of the movements. For example, the Black Lives Matter movement which has sprung up in the second term of President Obama. It’s not up to the movement or its supporters to figure out a way for the Clinton candidacy the capture their thunder, so to speak.
Another major problem with the approach of focusing on electability, is that it hamstrings progressives into endorsing candidates who will eventually have to turn around and attack parts of their own political base. President Obama, who has been very measured in dealing with racial issues has had to excoriate his Black constituents to win the trust of moderates on more than a few occasions. These various dressing downs, have had the affect of disabusing many Black political thinkers from the progressive possibilities of the Oval Office.
A similar dynamic is forthcoming. Clinton, has gone on record saying that she does not plan on distancing herself from President Obama campaigning for President in 2016. In the primaries, she wont have to. However, once the general election is underway, the pressure to turn right will be strong. We will see how long that proclamation lasts when its no longer convenient. It appears that the coronation ceremony has begun, but will the “subjects” play their role?