So Hillary Clinton is running for president

The Internet exploded with comments the moment Hillary dropped her announcement video like a hot, new record. 

Of course, many people are concerned that this iteration of Clinton’s politics is not new, but rather plays more like a broken — or perhaps stale — record. You know, kind of like that collection of three songs that is on every station all the time. (“Jealous” by Nick Jonas comes to mind.) Whether it’s the logo or the last name Clinton, there has been and will continue to be pushback against the current front runner’s candidacy.

One of the main knocks against Clinton’s candidacy from some is the claim that her inevitability represents a “coronation.” Yes, there is something uncomfortable about a possible Bush vs. Clinton general election in 2016, since the United States rejects the notion of hereditary political power and instead values hard work. But despite the fact that her husband has already held this office, the former Secretary of State’s possible ascension to the presidency doesn’t create a political dynasty. She was not born to be president. She bided her time, serving alongside her husband in various capacities before building her own political career. The success of Clinton’s career and brand reflect not hereditary achievement, but one of a powerful partnership.

Furthermore, to say that this announcement is the beginning of a victory lap with a coronation at the end is not just melodramatic, but objectively ignores the political realities of this nation. The United States was not ready for a woman politician with presidential chops in the 1980s and 1990s and 2000s. We have never elected a woman president, nor a president whose spouse was also president. This is uncharted territory for the entire nation, and therefore the furthest thing from a forgone conclusion.

Another common criticism of Clinton is that she’s politically calculated. And I won’t lie, the announcement video seems like a Bravo TV show making money off of product placement. The first thirty seconds are one giant checklist. Woman of color? Check. Interracial couple? Check. Queer men saying one sentence about marriage? Check. Audible Spanish? Check. Barely visible queer women looking cute? Check. Working class man? Check. One after another, the video acknowledged and centered the coalition that makes up the emerging faces of the Democratic party. It’s a video generated directly from a focus group comprised of voters that should lead the Democrats to victory. And it worked. Twitter Data reported that Hillary’s name was used 420,000 times in 2.5 hours following her announcement, while Facebook showed 10 million interactions with the announcement post in 24 hours, more than both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul combined. 

While Clinton is a conventional candidate with more political savvy and gumption than many — and I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her — I am curious and intrigued. Hillary has a long history, which means plenty of skeletons, including voting for the war in Iraq, the decried defense of an alleged rapist, and a complicated history with mass incarceration and drug penalties. Though she is a woman, her history and issue positions leave plenty for feminists to debate in the coming months. And if 2016 is anything like 2008, we’ll have lots to cover in our Hillary Sexism Watch.

I am sure Clinton will be challenged by everyone on her current and past positions, as she should be. I’m eager to see how she will appeal to the coalition she represented in her video, when that has not historically been the group with which she has been associated. I also fundamentally believe that people can change their minds and develop more nuanced positions. This is not 1996 or 2008. Our political landscape has changed dramatically, and it looks like Hillary’s direction may be in line with the changes on the left.

Personally, I’m kind of just excited for the return of the memes.

Header Image Credit: Innov8tiv


Katie Barnes (they/them/their) is a pop-culture obsessed activist and writer. While at St. Olaf College studying History and (oddly) Russian (among other things), Katie fell in love with politics, and doing the hard work in the hard places. A retired fanfiction writer, Katie now actually enjoys writing with their name attached. Katie actually loves cornfields, and thinks there is nothing better than a summer night's drive through the Indiana countryside. They love basketball and are a huge fan of the UConn women's team. When not fighting the good fight, you can usually find Katie watching sports, writing, or reading a good book.

Katie Barnes is a pop-culture obsessed activist and writer.

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