Politics & Policy

How to Defeat Hillary

(Joe Raedle/Getty)

The suspense is over. Hillary Clinton is running for president. Gird yourselves for a grim forced march to a Democratic coronation.

Republican candidates should do more than that, obviously. Although the Republicans will spend the next several months running against one another, none should lose sight of their likely general-election opponent and her message. Making the case for themselves should encompass making the case against Clinton and for conservative principles and policies that will appeal not only to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina Republicans next spring, but to most Americans come November 2016.

Although Hillary Clinton has mostly avoided statements of substance, she obviously sees America’s economic sluggishness much as the current president does — as a consequence of income inequality, a stingy minimum wage, the decline of labor unions, and, in general, America’s turn to the right in the Reagan era.

RELATED: Hillary Clinton’s Truman Show Campaign

All indications are that Clinton plans to repackage her husband’s economic policies, peddling the notion that they turned the economy around in the 1990s and can do so again — dubious contentions both. The recession that Bill Clinton ran against in 1992 was already over when he took office, and while he was sound on a few issues — NAFTA, for instance — his most extravagantly liberal initiatives were defeated early in his presidency, and thereafter the new Republican Congress brought needed restraint on taxes, regulation, and spending. In any case, the economy is greatly changed from the 1990s, so we cannot benefit from the favorable demographic and geopolitical trends of that era. And we aren’t going to boost stagnating middle-class incomes by promoting labor unions or rationing carbon.

Running against a recycled agenda is a necessary component of a Republican victory next year, but not a sufficient one. Clinton’s opponents should articulate an economic agenda broader and deeper than cuts to marginal tax rates and vague calls for deregulation. That agenda should include market-based health-care policies to replace Obamacare and increase coverage while lowering costs; reforms to break up the higher-education cartel that has saddled millions of Americans with crushing student-loan debt; tax relief for middle-class parents; and policies that would capitalize on America’s rich energy resources, which the current administration has ignored or abandoned.

RELATED: Hillary’s Record: Free of Accomplishment, Full of Setbacks

Clinton’s tenure as America’s chief diplomat, meanwhile, will help her little. Beyond her being famously well traveled, Clinton led a Department of State best known now for the misbegotten “reset” with Russia, for administering special favors to administration donors, for ignoring requests for increased security at the American consulate in Libya, and for an illicit e-mail arrangement for Clinton and her closest aides. Clinton was complicit in President Obama’s failed foreign policy from the beginning, and there is little to suggest that she rejects its erroneous premises. What we can expect from a Clinton administration is a continuation of Obama’s policies, with even worse ethics.

#related#The current Republican field should set out a strong, responsible alternative to the Democratic strategy of preemptive capitulation. Reasserting the vitality of NATO, arming our allies in Kurdistan and Ukraine, redoubling sanctions against the Iranian regime, reaching out to alienated allies (such as Israel) — there is much the United States can do, in both the short and the long term, to secure America and American interests abroad.

No one is inevitable. Hillary Clinton has been hovering about the heights of American political power for nearly three decades, yet she has almost no substantive accomplishments to show for it, and her best plans for the next eight years are likely to be the repurposed policies of Democratic administrations past. She’s beatable, and the substantive work to prepare the ground for defeat should begin now.

The Editors — The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More