Hillary Clinton’s Identity Politics and the Implosion of the Left

by on 27 November, 2015

At the most recent Democratic Debate when asked whether she was a Washington insider Hillary Clinton said ‘I can’t think of anything more of an outsider than a female President.’

That got treated to a round of applause despite being obviously untrue.

What about a Muslim President of the United States? What about a President who is a first generation immigrant? Or what about a Presidential contender who is a non-politician such as the GOP’s Ben Carson and Donald Trump? Or what about the thousands of Americans who are homeless and the prospect of a run for President would never even cross their mind?

If a Republican of Hillary Clinton’s public profile and net worth made that statement they would be lambasted for their insensitivity. Yet when Hillary Clinton says it she is celebrated as part of the fairy-tale that she is any more of a minority than her Republican opponents.

In America women make up 50.4% of the population and are represented by 55% of university enrolments and according to the United States Census Bureau.

However f you break down the conferral of degrees along racial lines according to the U.S. Department of Education, you find that racial minorities are distinctly disadvantaged.

In 2009-10, 72.9% of Bachelor’s degrees were given to white people, compared to 10.3% to African-Americans, 8.8% for Hispanics, 7.3% to Asian/Pacific Islanders  and 0.8% to Native American/Native Alaskans.

If, in each of those ethnic groups, you then separate the awarding of degrees between women and men you find that the percentage of female graduates is 56% for Caucasians, 65.9% for  African-Americans, 60.7% for Hispanics, 54.5% for Asian/Pacific Islanders and 60.7% for Native American/Native Alaskans.

Of course the often quoted statistic is that women earn an average of 22% less than men over the course of a life-time which is at first glance alarming given the higher rates of education across the board.

Yet a look at a 2013 report by the U.S. National Committee on Pay Equity showed that African-American men earned 25% less than Caucasian men and for Hispanic men the disparity was 33%.

For African-American and Hispanic women, the pay gap between them and white men was 36% and 46% respectively.

Even if she was not blessed with superb intelligence and an Ivy league education, Hillary Clinton would still not be an outsider compared to her GOP opponents- Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio who are all from more statistically marginalised groups.

Electing Hillary Clinton as President is not ground-breaking or revolutionary, there is nothing about her career that shows any overcoming of adversity.

In fact a study of Hillary Clinton’s career shows that of a calculated political operative, a devout follower of Saul Alinski’s ‘Rules for Radicals’, she chose against pursuing an academic career under him in order to enter the bar.

Reports of her time on her husband’s campaigns show a person more concerned about his political success than the fidelity of their marriage, with reports of extra-marital affairs both before, during and after his time in the White House.

And her move to the Senate in 2000 coincided nicely with Bill Clinton’s exit from politics, deliberately entering in the state of New York to contrast with her husband’s Arkansas identity.

From Hillary Clinton’s decision not to seek the nomination in 2004 to her distancing herself of her prior stance on Iraq in the 2008 Primary, Clinton’s career has been pre-meditated at every turn.

In 2008 he played down her gender, now it is the focus of her campaign and her policies on equal pay for equal work.

Hillary Clinton didn’t invent the system, nor does she have any interest in changing it, but she has undoubtedly mastered it.

Since losing to Barack Obama in 2008, she has embraced the identity politics that she so conscientiously avoided and as a result paid the price.

When asked which is the real Hillary Clinton, between her in 2008 and her in the current Primary, the answer is both and neither.

Clinton is a political professional and will pivot whichever way her advisers see benefits.

Nor is there anything gutsy about her candidature in the Presidency race.

Where Bill Clinton contested what many deemed to be an unwinnable election and came through as the winner, in the face of adversity from an incumbent President and his own party, Hillary Clinton has sought to be the highest profile candidate and stitch up the contest internally.

Any suggestion that her ascendancy is a generation-defining moment is misguided.

Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is part of the same vapid identity politics that won Obama the Presidency in 2008.

Nearly eight years on and with no solution to the rising debt and the instability in the Middle East, the Democrats are trying to once again pull off the same cheap trick.

The question is whether the people will fall for it twice.

‘Tim O’Hare is a free-lance commentator and blogger on http://politicslaidbarewithtimohare.tumblr.com/. He has been published in Online Opinion, Quadrant and Menzies House. The issues he talks about, among other things, relate to internal party politics, ‘economic policy, political theory, culture wars and media criticism. When not airing himself in writing he performs stand up comedy and has co-written and co-produced two shows, ‘Pending Approval’, in 2014, and ‘Problematic’, in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Majoring in History) and a Graduate Diploma of Education from the University of Queensland

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