As the 2016 presidential election has already begun to dominate headlines nationwide, the nation has turned its attention towards the woman who appears to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, Secretary of State and New York senator.
While multiple Republican candidates have announced their campaigns during public speaking engagements and transitioned into very public personas, meeting with potential voters and making various appearances, the leading female face of the Democratic Party remained silent, announcing her intention to run on Apr. 12 with a bizarre viral video in which she only appears in the final few seconds.
With overwhelming support from several voter demographics that will prove crucial to winning the November 2016 election, Clinton, whose 2008 campaign ended after being unceremoniously booted from the hearts of the Democratic Party by Barack Obama's explosive emergence onto the national scene.
After a first half of the year characterized by evidence heavily suggestive of severe misconduct regarding a secret Internet server installed in the Clinton home during her time as Secretary of State, some have argued in Clinton's favor, saying that the reason she has been lying low is to allow the public's anger to recede from the email scandal, I don't think this is really necessary.
Hillary Clinton has been at the center of scandal after scandal after scandal in her long political career, and the public has time and again quickly forgotten, forgiving her where any other's political career would be in ruins. Between the 2012 Benghazi attacks, this recent email controversy, and allegations regarding suspicious foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, the public very well may have permanently lost their trust in Hillary Clinton like I have.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi will not release their report on the 2012 attacks that took the lives of four Americans until next year, but if you ask the average American, they would most likely tell you that the blame lies directly on the inadequacies of then-Secretary of State Clinton. The same goes with the email controversy; Clinton’s decision to delete emails from her private server before handing it over to the federal authorities indicates she either has something to hide or is not very intelligent, and I happen to think that Hillary Clinton is not an unintelligent woman.
As much as I once was a supporter of hers, and still believe that, at the end of the day, she has good intentions and a good heart, I can’t in good conscience promote a presidential candidate with so many suspicious incidents on her record. I was willing to forgive her for Benghazi three years ago, but I don’t think I can forgive everything else that has happened in recent months.
It should be noted that incompetent female representation is a problem in the Republican Party, as well. The two names that come to mind when I think of Republican women are Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate, and Michele Bachmann, former representative for the state of Minnesota. Both women have been heavily criticized and mocked by major media outlets and ostracized from the most powerful members of their party, as well as the general public, due to their extremely right-wing views and a number of disastrous media appearances.
So, who are Democratic women supposed to turn to in November 2016, if not Hillary Clinton? Locally, we have Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has generated huge amounts of support from the Democratic Party both in the state of Massachusetts and nationally. Elected in November 2012 on a platform almost exclusively reliant on education reform, condonment of rising student loan debt and the ever-increasing cost of higher education, Warren has drawn criticism from members of both parties due to her six-figure Harvard professor salary.
According to a 2012 financial report released by her campaign for senate, Warren received over $700,000 over a two-year period teaching a single class at Harvard Law School. While this is not a surprising salary for a law school professor, to me it seems hypocritical of a woman whose entire campaign platform was based on righting the wrongs of our higher education system to have been employed by an institution and paid a salary that represents everything she says she is against.
There are some other noteable women active in the Democratic Party: Rep. Katherine Clark, who represents Malden’s district in the House of Representatives; Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxar, D-Ca.; and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH. Unfortunately, none of these women have expressed interest in running for president in 2016.
The Republican takeover of the House following the 2015 elections cost female Democrats several key roles: the nine women who led committees in in the Democrat-controlled Senate last year has been reduced to two Republican senators from Maine and Alaska. “You cannot deny that women were in a more powerful position in the United States Senate when the Democrats were in control,” Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, was quoted as saying in a Feb. 2015 New York Times article.
Personally, I think I know who the best candidate will be in 2016: Britney Spears. Britney might not be the typical candidate, but she has support: several write-in ballots with her name on them were submitted in the 2012 presidential election. She has overcome greedy corporations in the form of manipulative music labels, a debilitating mental illness, and has experience with foreign relations due to her years touring the globe as a pop singer. She’s also a single, working mother of two young children, and has expressed empathy towards the plight of women of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds through her music.