Three Reasons Hillary Won't Win the Democratic Ticket

At this point, I understand how this prediction will be received.  It’s been common belief for some time that Hillary Clinton would headline the ticket.  And there’s ample reasoning to think that she will.  So let’s begin there.

First, she’s got something that more than half of the field doesn’t have.  Namely, a pair of x chromosomes; she’s a woman (and not the Bruce Jenner kind).  As such, opposition to her ascendency to the highest seat of political power in America can immediately be panned as archaic fear among a misogynistic rabble of conservative men (and the crowing of millions of simple and unliberated conservative women that are subservient to them, no doubt) before any policy positions are considered.  The Republican “War on Women” farce was established during the 2012 campaign season, and it was lapped up by the media to great effect.  There’s no reason to think that her campaign would not enjoy a bit of immunity due to this preceding phenomenon.

Second, she’s American royalty, so to speak.  I’ve had more than a few friends tell me that they don’t know anyone who likes Jeb Bush for the Republican presidential ticket.  Yet here we are, listening to possibility that he’s a Republican frontrunner for no other reason than his pedigree.  Similarly, Hillary hasn’t done much worthy of note, and what she has done offers no signs that she would be a qualified leader of this country (more on this in a bit).  But since lack of leadership experience, considering our current two-term president, is clearly not a deal-breaker for the Democrat voting bloc, sharing her husband’s last name should carry a good bit of weight.

The first two reasons lead to the third reason that Hillary is the leading candidate for the Democratic ticket.  She has a potential war chest unlike anyone on either side of the field, and she will undoubtedly enjoy singularly focused media support to attain it.  As Democrat Gary Hart said about the Clinton campaign’s aspiration of a billion dollar campaign, “that ought to frighten every American.”  A campaign of that size is certainly formidable.

Now, I know the odds are stacked against the title prediction, but hear me out.

Reason 1: She’s mired in serious controversy.

Yes, I know, Democrats and the gaggle of devoted Democrat voters don’t typically care when their own are the subject of controversies.  They can create controversies to Republicans’ detriment seemingly at will, but they never have to account or atone for their own.  Consider that Bill Clinton pursued a young intern, engaged in a sexual encounter at the White House and thereby disavowed any fidelity toward Hillary, then under oath misled a court, Congress and the American public as to the nature of that encounter.  Even still, Slick Willie is a fondly remembered good ol’ boy in the Democratic ranks whose charisma is counted on (and was perhaps necessary at the 2012 DNC) to woo the Democrat masses.

But the nature of Hillary’s controversy is quite different.

After four Americans were killed in Benghazi, she stood amidst their coffins and told a bald-faced lie to a grieving father and the American people about their deaths being in retaliation to a YouTube film disparaging Islam.  Shortly after, Congress inquired as to whether she knew, as could have been reasonably deduced at the time and was later verified, that the attacks were calculated and had nothing to do with the film.  A defiant Hillary famously carped “What difference, at this point, does it make?” 

Then there’s the issue of her private email server, which she apparently used to “conduct official business as US Secretary of State.”  Representative Trey Gowdy (R – S.C.) had “issued a subpoena for the private server” to acquire emails pertaining to the Benghazi scandal, but Americans then discovered that the server was “wiped” of about 30,000 to 60,000 emails.  We are to take at her word, in a case which is specifically meant to investigate the merits of her dubious integrity, that she only had emails that were “personal in nature” deleted?

Yes, that’s a rat you smell.  What’s more, if you work for any company with a somewhat coherent risk management and compliance protocol in place, you’d find it downright preposterous.  For example, in a recent compliance meeting for my own company, employees were warned that business is not to be conducted via personal mediums, such as text messaging, personal email, or social media.  Furthermore, we were assured that all correspondence on the company server is monitored and stored for future review.  One colleague in attendance asked how long the emails are stored, and the one-word answer that followed was “forever.” 

Without missing a beat, another colleague was not shy about saying aloud, “Unless you work for the IRS or the State Department.”  His response was met with a shoulder shrug by the compliance officer.  The point is, the use of Hillary Clinton’s personal email server to conduct official business, and certainly the disappearance of the emails, represents a level of deceit that would not be tolerated outside of the realm of corrupt government agencies.  And the perceived level of corruption in this current administration leads to reason number two.

Reason 2: Hillary represents the unpopular Washington status quo.

I touched on this reason in an American Thinker article published in August of 2014, titled “Democrats Face the Republicans’ Familiar Dilemma in 2016.”  Hillary’s lack of political traction was evident, signified by a painfully dismal reception to her book, Hard Choices, and all the early discussion about “Hillary fatigue” seemed even then to be an anchor to her presidential ambition.

Having served as Secretary of State for Barack Obama was undoubtedly meant to pad her résumé (though for reasons aforementioned, may have yielded more harm than good), but an ancillary result of that service is that she is bound to the Obama administration in terms of public perception.  This creates the uncomfortable circumstances in which she now finds herself.  The New York Times posits that “Republicans are betting that attacks based on the incumbent’s record will be as effective against Mrs. Clinton as the tactic was in 2008, when Democrats equated a victory by John McCain to four more years of President George W. Bush.”

The ultimate premise of this Times piece, however, is focused on the nuance in how Hillary may embrace Obama, while simultaneously distancing herself from him just enough to represent something fresh.  Doing that, however, even with her impressive credentials as a “mother and a grandmother” which might appeal to women voters as the Times suggests, might be a difficult dance to time.  The left loves the notion of change because change, for whatever reason and by whatever unwritten rationale, means progress.  And for the left, nothing is more important than the belief that progress is being made.  So for Hillary to appeal to Americans, she needs to represent new ideas, a new direction, and above all, she needs to deliver all of that with charisma and appeal to the masses.  Which leads to reason number three.

Reason 3: She’s Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, Hillary was the clear frontrunner for the Democrat ticket.  Seriously, it was all but a given, and Republican strategists undoubtedly planned for it as the likeliest of outcomes.  And yet, Hillary was roundly rejected by Democrats in 2008, trounced in the primaries by a junior Senator from Illinois with little more to his credit than a good 2004 DNC speech and having been president of the Harvard Law Review -- a publication in which he never published one article.  A charismatic community organizer-turned-neophyte politician capitalized on an unpopular incumbent, social disdain for the status quo, and ultimately, a weak competitor in the Democratic primary.

Yes, Obama had the added benefit of a sickeningly powerful command of the black voting demographic (96%, all said and done in 2008), not to mention the added benefit of his campaign being a method to atone for white guilt.  But the simple fact is that Hillary possesses none of the qualities that have won her husband popularity, nor any of the qualities that won Barack Obama the Democratic ticket.

In short, Hillary Clinton lacks charisma, and the Democrat powers-that-be may soon come to understand that they can only exploit her appeal as a potential woman president and her name recognition only so far before that reality sets in. 

Hillary has bouts where she is unendurable and indeed, unmarketable as a speaker and as a personality.  Her shrill and pathetic barking of “Yes, we will!” in 2008 as an effort to leech from Barack Obama’s popular “Yes, we can!” slogan comes to mind, as does her “I’m sick and tired of being called unpatriotic” diatribe, to name just a couple of examples.  To the extent that she’s been tested in terms of engaged public discussion, she’s proven she can be less than poised when pressed, i.e., suggesting that it makes no difference whether she lied about the reason for four Americans’ deaths.  Given the assumed weight of presidential debates these days, does the Democratic establishment really want her going toe-to-toe with, say, a Ted Cruz or a Rand Paul?

And the political baggage that she now carries will only hasten Democrats’ understanding of these things.  If there is anyone else, as I imagine there will be, that seems the slightest bit more capable of headlining the Democratic ticket, Hillary will not.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.