Hillary Clinton, the Single Player
Enough has already been said about Hillary Clinton's current predicaments regarding her completely unsecured "home-brew" email server allegedly operated out of her home, in direct violation of the Federal Records Act. Amid the noise of that scandal, perhaps not enough has yet been said of the scandal behind that one: the receipt of millions of dollars of foreign money by the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was Secretary of State, which is a conflict of interest at best and a severe national security threat at worst.
But let's set the details of those two unethical acts aside for the moment, and talk about the hard lessons that Hillary's damaged candidacy can teach liberal Democrats.
The Washington Post's Dan Balz recently wrote a piece noting the lack of options in the Democrat presidential primary, and describing Hillary's cutthroat tactics when it comes to eliminating her competition. It's been discussed at length even in left-leaning publications and TV news, but there's another angle that should have deep meaning for Democrats.
Think about this: the party that prides itself on diversity and embracing the collective knowledge of humanity has put all of its hopes on one person. One very known, very established person who represents the party's past: a curious stance for a group of thinkers whose primary claim to relevancy is progressivism, even considering the idea of the first woman president.
The party that claims to defend Main Street against the juggernaut corporations of Wall Street has embraced a candidate who has grown her proto-campaign into a behemoth, one whose first purpose is to devour all the money in the pockets of large donors (themselves behemoths in their own right) before any of her competition could mobilize to do so. (This is to say nothing of her endless paid speaking tour that has kept her far, far away from Main Street concerns both financially and psychologically.)
The party that claims to be so anti-bully has begged for this particular woman to enter the race, a woman who hulked her way through all the smaller contenders in the field, and growled them out of the ring before they ever stepped into it.
But here is one thing that does make sense: the party that asks for big, centralized government is clamoring for one big, monolithic candidate. One who is extremely well known, but also extremely vulnerable. Because of this adulation, Hillary has come to see herself as that candidate and has assumed all the expectation and entitlement that comes along with it. This is proved by her press conference this past Tuesday at the U.N., in which she only peripherally addressed the email scandal and flatly refused to make her home server available for review. She doesn't need to come clean, she doesn't need to answer to anything. Her party has fallen prostrate before her in plain obsequiousness, calling for her to be their queen. Some on the far left might argue that Elizabeth Warren is the solution to this problem, but the Democrat establishment has largely ignored her as a potential candidate in favor of Hillary. By the Democrats' obvious desire and deliberate design, Hillary Clinton is the only game in town.
Now, to Democrats, l'état, c'est seulement Hillary. All of the Democrats' hopes of retaining the White House are currently on her. Contra Yoda, there is no other. If she fails, everything goes down. Liberals and Democrats: if you are wise, you will see the moral in this, one that may be very uncomfortable to your worldview.
Hillary Clinton is the Wal-Mart of presidential candidates. Are you sure you want one company running the entire show here? Are you sure it’s beneficial (or “fair”) to have one player with that kind of influence on your presidential market? Are you sure you can succeed when you have a single point of failure -- and such a vulnerable one? Wise Democrats and pundits are hoping for a competitive primary. They know that a true debate and a free exchange of ideas (at least those within their orthodoxy) is a good thing for all their candidates. But what if Hillary succeeds completely in pushing out all the littler "Mom-and-Pop" candidates? As Balz states, "Clinton has been such a dominant front-runner that she has smothered most potential competition. Who rightly thinks they can seriously compete with her for money or institutional support?" Isn’t this the exact kind of behavior that the left fights against when it comes to the perceived consequences of Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United -- only intra-party instead of inter-party? Balz goes on: "[T]he power and reach of the Clinton network has so overshadowed everyone else that prospective rivals have virtually disappeared."
Does this sound like a healthy political ecosystem? The grand drama of Hillary Clinton's candidacy for president, even before it’s been announced, is simultaneously vindicating two conservative principles: the benefits of a free, competitive market, and the diversity enshrined in federalism. Her failure endangers the entirety of the Democrat party, just like the failure of AIG or Lehman Brothers in 2008 endangered the entire economy. Far better to have a broad, diverse bench, as the Republicans currently do, for voters to choose from. Her consolidation of more and more political power mirrors a bloated government's insatiable greed for more legal and regulatory power over the voters' lives; and Hillary lords it over both her political adversaries and her potential supporters when she stands up and refuses to make her email records -- which truthfully belong to the American people and to history -- available to the State Department. If there were other voices in the Democrat Party courageous enough to call for an end to her dissembling, her power would be checked, and she might step more lightly when addressing the public. As it is, we can expect her behavior to remain exactly the same should she become president.
Conservatives would think of Hillary's candidacy as the single-payer health care system of presidential campaigns: one party’s hope for healing and restoration, but really one point of failure that endangers everyone. As it is, Democrats have the "single player" presidential primary they asked for. If Hillary falls under the weight of her many scandals, it's quite likely their hopes for a presidential victory fall with her. And then true competition and diversity can flourish -- not only for a presidential race, but for the nation.