By Nick Tantillo, third-year journalism major
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.
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