Hillary Clinton’s speech at Roosevelt Island shows that she has learnt from the 2008 campaign and that we’ll be seeing an entirely different Hillary this time around.
Hillary Clinton’s epic address at Roosevelt Island has set the speed for her entire campaign. Although it started as the standard state of the unionesque address that we expect from candidates, Hillary’s spiel soon deviated into the issues that matter most to her and show that she will be running a radically different campaign this time around.
During the 2008 campaign, Clinton did everything she could to avoid being labelled as a tax and spend liberal, but this time around, she’s making
statements that would not be out of place in a speech by Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.
“While many of you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, you see the top 25 hedge fund managers making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined,” she said. “And, often paying a lower tax rate.”
Either Sanders entry into the campaign has forced Hillary to the left on certain issues or she recognises that the Democratic Party is moving in an increasingly left-wing direction and has moved to harness this. Regardless, we are unlikely to see the Clinton campaign playing it safe this time around. Left wing pundits have recognised that if Hillary represents the center of the Democratic Party, this speech shows that it is moving away from corporate Democratic policies and towards more populist ideals.
Clinton also recognises that she needs to harness Obama’s base to win. Far from distancing herself from the current administration, Clinton recognises that Obama represents the latest in a long line of progressive presidents, including her husband. She played this up by referring to the economic “bargain”.
“When President Clinton honored the bargain, we had the longest peacetime expansion in history, a balanced budget — with the bottom 20 percent of workers increasing their incomes by the same percentage as the top 5 percent,” she said. “When President Obama honored the bargain, we pulled back from the brink of Depression, saved the auto industry, provided health care to 16 million working people, and replaced the jobs we lost faster than after a financial crash.”
Despite this, there was very little talk of Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Except for breezy references to foreign policy, she barely mentioned ISIS or other threats to America.
Clinton also addressed her age in a light-hearted manner, saying that she may not be the youngest woman in the race, but she will be the youngest female President of the United States.
By far the most popular lines addressed to the crowd were progressive issues such as LGBT marriage and women’s rights. Clearly, Clinton knows that she has to play to the younger crowd of voters, many of whom are clearly drawn by leaders of their own generation such as Marco Rubio or libertarians such as Rand Paul.
Although it is far from clear whether Clinton will triumph in the general election, she clearly leads the Democratic field and with more speeches like this, it’s hard to see where she can go wrong.