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Could Hillary Clinton Win the Presidency in 2016?
A Political Powerhouse for President
On October 26, 2015, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turns sixty-eight years old. This admirable woman will be the focus of first, the 2016 Democratic primaries, and then most likely the 2016 Presidential election.
Clinton's life and career have taken her on an impressive course, and there's a sense among her supporters that her best contribution to American society may still lie ahead.
The Presidential field of candidates for 2016 will likely consist of many names we already know today. Some new political powerhouses are sure to emerge, too.
It's difficult to imagine anyone within her own party upsetting Clinton for the Democratic nomination. The United States voting public, which has yet to elect a woman leader in its 239 years of existence, appears ready to at least give the former Secretary of State an opportunity to run against whomever the Republican party elects out of its primaries.
It is Hillary Clinton's accomplishments in public service that have endeared her to American voters. She won't have to rely on charm or wit or speculation to win votes. She is a known commodity and that will both help her and hinder her in her quest to become America's 45th President.
A Determined Activist
By the late 1960s, Hillary Clinton had developed a set of values which were undoubtedly conservative. With civil liberties at the forefront of American life, the young woman realized that she needed to change if she were to take any active role in that undiscovered part of herself which would soon surface: a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of those who society had deemed as being treated unfairly.
While she studied at Wellesley College, the Civil Rights movement influenced her like it did so many other Americans. She began to realize that there were changes coming and that they were sorely needed if America was to become what it was supposed to have been all along: a free society.
The young woman was actionable. She realized that Civil Rights was a movement that needed all the help it could get to move forward. She helped further the rights and opportunities for blacks at Wellesley College, learning at a very young age that having political clout (she served in various leadership roles in student government at the school) was an effective way to see that issues important to her were addressed.
Formidable Representation for the Poor
Hillary Clinton went on to Yale Law School. She developed an instinct to use law as a tool to help the poor and less fortunate. Her exhaustive studies and writings concerning social law earned her the opportunity to work for influential Democrats Walter Mondale and George McGovern. She worked on political campaigns and learned the finer details of the American political and election systems.
While working as legal counsel for people that otherwise would have been left with less vigorous effort on their behalf, she met future President of the United States Bill Clinton. They married in 1975. Both lawyers were well on their way to exceptional legal careers. By the late 1970s, Hillary Clinton was considered one of the most influential social cause lawyers in America.
It is not required that persons who run for the Office of the President of the United States be a lawyer. Yet, there is no question that one who strives to work with America's legislative bodies should understand American law. Secretary Clinton hasn't just studied law for a few years, she was one of the major influences on American social law. She has written opinions and studies that are still quoted in American courtrooms today.
Hillary Clinton's Service to the United States
Bill Clinton was elected governor of Arkansas in 1978, at age 32. By the 1980s, Hillary Clinton chaired the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, and helped the state turn around an educational system that had ranked among last in the United States. She served as First Lady of Arkansas for over twelve years, with all the responsibilities that go with that title, and still found time to provide legal services and further social causes as a full-time occupation. Her work for Arkansas children will go unmatched among the spouses of governors.
Hillary Clinton's time as First Lady of the United States was not indicative of her ability to lead or create policy. She went into office with a new set of goals to expand her work in aiding the poor and unrepresented. She saw, as anyone would, a place to take her successes in Arkansas and bring them to the country as a whole.
Her work to explore providing health care for those that could not afford it was attacked as socialist and never saw a vote in the legislature. This was a major work that was unfairly labeled, and was seen by some as a political maneuver to keep the First Lady position as ceremonial.
Next came the Whitewater investigation in 1993. Her husband appointed a special prosecutor to examine the evidence - a move that Hillary opposed. She felt that her innocence was verifiable through documentation already provided and did not want to add any credence to the charges with the prosecutor. In the end, her and President Clinton were both exonerated of any legal wrong doing.
Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 (acquitted in 1999) for lying about his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. This was a terrible embarrassment for the first lady. She stood up for her husband and even called the charges conspiracy, but through it all and even until today, she stood by her husband.
The White House years were tough for Hillary Clinton. Positive accomplishments were achieved for the less fortunate citizens of the US under Bill Clinton's presidency. It's widely known that Hillary Clinton's opinions were, and are, valued by her husband. President Clinton's two terms are generally viewed positively, even with all the turmoil that happened. Women around the world saw this powerful First Lady and listened to her message of equal rights for all. Perhaps things would have turned out less positively if she hadn't been so firmly dedicated to her husband, and the people of her country.
US Senator from New York
On January 3, 2001 Hillary Clinton became a United States Senator from New York. On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the people of the state she represented. Naturally, much of her work was focused on the safe cleanup of New York City and her nation's security. She showed a willingness to work with conservatives by taking part in activities like the Senate Prayer Breakfast. She listened to more experienced voices, and learned to quietly work to further security and quality of life for the residents of the state she represented. Today, the redeveloped WTC owes its existence, in part, to her work with other legislators.
Senator Clinton voted in favor of sending United States forces to war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. She was particularly interested in the welfare and readiness of the troops that would be sent into combat. She traveled to both countries (along with other legislators) to inspect conditions for herself. Some people might be surprised to hear that she lobbied in favor of increasing benefits for veterans, against the closure of certain military installations, and served as a member of the Armed Services Committee.
While serving her second term as senator, Clinton announces that she will seek the Presidency in 2008. Her opponent in the Democratic primary is the charismatic and popular senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. By June she concedes defeat. Obama goes on to defeat Republican challenger John McCain and become President.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
On December 1, 2008, President-elect Obama announced his choice for Secretary of State of the United States, Hillary Clinton. In yet another show of willingness to serve and compromise, she readily accepted the offer from her former political rival.
In her time as Secretary of State, Clinton has focused her efforts on strengthening security ties with allies and building new economic relations with developing nations. If one takes a tour of the State Department's Policy Issues, one can easily see the activist progressive influence. There is a focus on the people of nations that are facing dire circumstances in one form or another. Her tendency to reach out to the less fortunate is still intact, and a primary reason she has earned the trust of officials from other nations. Promises made are kept and that has helped the State Department to repair its image.
Like her predecessor, Condoleeza Rice, Clinton has spent much of her time as Secretary traveling. At a time when America was being viewed negatively on the world stage, Hillary Clinton and President Obama have worked together to successfully improve not only America's image, but its policies concerning international diplomacy. She has brought a sense of trust and stability to the table in meetings with other world diplomats, and some have dubbed her one of the finest diplomats in American history.
"A strong economy has been a pillar of American power in the world. It gives us the leverage we need to exert influence and advance our interests. It gives other countries the confidence in our leadership and a greater stake in partnering with us."
In October, 2011, Hillary Clinton uttered the above words while addressing the Economic Club of New York. There is not likely to be a greater concern to American voters in 2016 than the US economy.
On September 11, 2012, the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya is attacked and US Ambassador Christopher Stevens murdered. Secretary of State Clinton takes responsibility for the attacks and by February 2013, Hillary Clinton steps down from her post as Secretary of State.
But were the attacks really her fault?
Because she was Secretary of State at the time on the attack on the consulate in Libya, she was responsible for the security measures in place. The nature of preventing a terrorist attack is, however, an intelligence matter; a fact that was flatly exposed on 9/11.
If in fact SOS Clinton was notified by any US intelligence agency that an attack on Benghazi was imminent and she failed to act in beefing up security forces there, she failed in her duty and she shouldn't be considered for higher office. Was that the case? There's no evidence to support it.
Where intelligence failed (failed is a loose term due to the nature of gathering intelligence; it's impossible to expose every threat against any nation) the US in so many previous attacks on US soil and abroad, this was probably the case with Benghazi.
Critics will say that Clinton's personal e-mail account, improperly being used by the Secretary of State for some official matters, has information that will prove her guilt. Other critics will say that President Obama conspired with the Secretary of State to withhold evidence that will prove her guilt. Both assertions are such that we'd have to draw the conclusion that either or both the President and Hillary Clinton would conspire to evade any wrongdoing on Hillary Clinton's part to the point where they'd break the law. Unlikely.
Clinton took full responsibility for the tragic event. She resigned her position shortly thereafter. A diplomat with powerful connections and persuasive rhetoric sidelined was yet another casualty of the Benghazi tragedy.
Will Hillary Clinton Run for President in 2016
Hillary Clinton has spent much of her life in public view. That is a huge asset to the American citizenry that plans to vote in 2016. Her remarks and speeches are verifiable through more than one or two sources. She has a voting record in the Senate. The causes she has chosen to champion are apparent.
2016 will be a year where Americans are going to need a President that possesses many skills; economic, diplomatic and, in light of the recent events in Missouri and Baltimore, educated and experienced in civil rights issues.
The two most important might be negotiating skill and sensibility. It's very hard to imagine Hillary Clinton allowing spending to go out of control. She has proven to be conservative in her attitude toward responsible spending.
The negotiating skill will be a crucial necessity because of the probability of more and more social programs seeing cuts. A continued poor economy coupled with social program cuts could spell disaster for a leader that doesn't possess the political skills to negotiate a common ground. This could be the key ingredient to ensuring that workers who are unable to find work aren't cut off - and the key to keeping an American public satisfied and motivated.
Clinton has stated that she will take some time to write and teach. Whether that means she will do that soon or after 2016 is unknown. Her position is that everyone will have to wait and see, because she herself doesn't know if she will run or not. It will probably depend on whether or not America needs her to or not. Because, one thing we all know about Hillary Clinton, when America has needed her, she's been there.