Student Voice: October 1, 2015

By Nick Tantillo, third-year journalism major

Hillary Clinton has been in politics for a very long time. She first gained national exposure in 1992 as the wife of the then presidential nominee, Bill Clinton. Her husband’s election in 1993 cemented her place in the national consciousness. During her career as First Lady, Clinton was appointed head of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. In 2000 Clinton ran for and cinched the position of New York State Senator. In the latter years of her Senate career, Clinton announced her intention to run for president in the 2008 election. She lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, but sustained media attention when she was selected to serve as U.S. Secretary of State in the Obama Cabinet.

Two cases have largely marred Clinton’s political record. The first is the Benghazi Incident in 2012 that, without conclusive evidence in Clin- ton’s defense, paints the former Secretary of State as a negligent public servant. The other is the email controversy that now sits at the forefront of Clinton’s campaign. In the wake of the controversy, Clinton has, again, found herself without much to defend herself with. Transparency has never been a Clinton strong suit. Without it, such incidents confirm public suspicion of politicians.

Clinton has retained a lead as the Democratic forerunner since she announced her candidacy in April 2015. Recently, however, Clinton’s ratings have dropped to an all time low. A poll published by Real Clear Politics measured Clinton’s ratings in the low 40s. Most journalists point towards the email controversy as the source of Clinton’s eroding support. The controversy brings to mind questions of authenticity and national security, and coupled with the Benghazi Incident frames Clinton as self-serving. Other journalists note a shift in support towards fellow blue ticket candidate, Bernie Sanders as another possible explanation.

To combat this downward trend, Clinton has undertaken what one reporter from the Daily Beast calls “millennial pandering.” Consider Clinton’s interview with celebrity, Lena Dunham. A video excerpt of the interview features music by the feminist-oriented group, Le Tigre, and was released to the alternative news outlet, Politico. The interview is largely Dunham setting up Clinton with safe questions whose responses are intended to appeal to Dunham’s audience. “I think the question on every Lenny reader’s lips is,” Dunham asks, “Do you consider yourself a feminist?”

“Yes,” Clinton responds, “absolutely.”

As one reporter from Mother Jones puts it, the way we understand American politics is changing. GOP political ‘outsiders’—Carson, Fiorina, and Trump— have captured an overwhelming 52 percent of the Republican electorate marking a clear shift in the po- litical landscape. Even Sanders, whose policy reflects socialist ideology, appears to be an ‘outsider’ when side by side with Clinton. Political ‘insiders,’ have become unfavorable. It is this label that character- izes Clinton: she is an insider. She comes from a household name of American politics. Her recent appeal to millenni- als, through a tour of morning talk shows or cheeky selfies with celebrities, is an ill-con- ceived attempt to wash herself of the stigma that now threat- ens candidates on both sides of the political aisle. Clinton has been, and always will be, old politics.

The views expressed in op-eds are solely those of the student who wrote and submitted it. They do not necessarily reflect those of The New Paltz Oracle, its staff members, the campus and university or the Town or Village of New Paltz.