For most registered voters, Hillary Rodham Clinton needs no introduction. Having served terms as the Secretary of State and US senator from New York, run for president in 2008, and been the First Lady while her husband Bill held the highest office in the land, Hillary has long been in the spotlight as a prominent member of America’s political scene.
Now, with the 2016 presidential election approaching, she hopes to improve on her disappointing campaign from eight years earlier, in which she was the early frontrunner only to be outstripped by a charismatic young senator from Illinois named Barack Obama.
As things stand now, Clinton remains a relatively strong favorite to win the Democratic Party’s nomination. According to the Huffington Post’s Pollster feature, which averages together the results of more than 150 reputable nationwide polls, she maintains a nearly 20 percent lead over her closest competition—leading Bernie Sanders at 43.6 percent to 25.4 percent—with virtually no other potential threats from within the party having yet declared their candidacy (Joe Biden looms as a dark horse but has yet to officially announce that he is running).
Still, momentum is not on Hillary’s side, as her numbers have been falling rather alarmingly over the past few months in the wake of Bernie Sanders’ well-publicized rise as a legitimate contender. Perhaps the voters are starting to realize that despite being the presumptuous favorite, she might not be the best option.
Many of those who represent bad choices for president are considered bad choices because they lack the experience or qualifications for such an important job. I profiled one such person in last week’s Collegian: Carly Fiorina.
This is most certainly not Hillary’s problem. One does not become as accomplished and influential as Clinton is by accident. Even her staunchest detractors never question her intellect, work ethic or political savvy, nor the fact that she has extensive political experience. Rather, it is her questionable and irresponsible performance during her accumulated experience that defines her as an unfit candidate.
Transparency is something that voters universally claim is a desired trait in their candidates and their government, and while a complete and total directness with the American people is an idealistic fantasy, it remains important that the masses can maintain a well-deserved trust in their elected officials.
Hillary Clinton is, above all else, a figure with a rather shady political past, one filled with a number of scandals and mismanagement.
She has perhaps taken the most heat for her involvement in supposedly covering up details concerning the terrorist attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. While her culpability was likely exaggerated, the fact remains that she was Secretary of State during one of the most poorly handled responses to a terrorist attack in recent memory.
In addition, Hillary has come under fire in the past for insider politics and nepotism. She was involved in the changing of the occupation status of one her aides (Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin) which ensured Abedin a lucrative position in a Clinton-connected consulting firm, as well as a paycheck from the Clinton Foundation.
The Clinton Foundation, through charitable in nature, comes with many of the same problems that arise from the existence of Super PACs. It creates a conflict of interest as special interest groups can buy their ways into the good graces of Mrs. Clinton.
Notably, the foundation has received generous contributions from such foreign government entities as the Saudi royal family and a Ukrainian oligarch, among others.
Most important and worrisome of all Hillary’s scandals, however, is the most recent: the revelation that during her time as Secretary of State she conducted business and sent emails from a private server rather than using the secure, government-mandated one supplied to her.
While the details over the legality and the extent of Clinton’s actions are still being hashed out, they have been described as a major national security concern by NSA head Michael Rogers.
This should set off alarm bells that a person could be either so irresponsible or arrogant as to discuss classified government information over a server that could be breached by an enemy.
There exists a camp that is fundamentally opposed to Mrs. Clinton’s political positions, especially as she tends to take hardline stances on many of the most controversial issues: her insistence on abortion being a fundamental reproductive right and her full support of the Iran nuclear deal, for example.
But those of you who find yourselves aligned with the left-center Democratic ideology should ask yourselves the question of whether you can really put your faith in Hillary. She hasn’t always shown she is deserving of it in the past and there is nothing to suggest that this will change.