Magazine | May 4, 2015, Issue

Who Is for Hillary

Below, for posterity, a partial list of the things that happened in the first 24 hours of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign:

  • Clinton’s announcement, the circumstances of which she had nearly seven years to plan, came three hours late, in the form of a two-minute, 18-second YouTube video in which Mrs. Clinton does not appear until the 1:33 mark.
  • The accompanying press release, the content of which she had nearly seven years to write, included the bracing acknowledgment that Mrs. Clinton has “fought children and families all her career.” Sic erat, as they say, scriptum.
  • The campaign brandished its basic mastery of colors and shapes by revealing this . . . well, this — as a its logo, which, insofar as lots of things are red or blue or angular, called any number of associations to mind. I joked darkly that there would be those who saw a nose-touch to Truther conspiracy theory in the image (wait for it, I’ll pause), only to find out that, of course, the boggiest corners of social media were full of just such speculations.
  • The campaign unveiled its working slogan — “It’s your time” — which, even if it didn’t evoke the over-50 dating site, just doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Hillary ’16: What Difference, at This Point, Can We Make?”
  • Clinton embarked from New York, in a vehicle dubbed the “Scooby van,” for a roadshow with voters. NBC’s Charles Todd remarked on Twitter: “So hard in this new media age to do anything that looks spontaneous to political world. This Hillary road trip idea has done just that.”
  • Moments later, RNC strategist Sean Spicer replied, pointing out that in launching her 2000 Senate campaign, the Clinton team toured New York State in a vehicle dubbed the “Scooby van.” Like, zoinks.
  • Clinton and said van were spotted at a Chipotle Grill outside Toledo, Ohio. None less than ABC News obtained the security tape of a sunglassed madam secretary Being Approachable, and appended to the footage the shoe-leather fact that Clinton ordered “a chicken bowl with guacamole, a chicken salad, and fruit juice.”

And just think: As I write there are a mere 574 days to go until Election Day.

The only thing we can say for sure about these proceedings is that Hillary’s will be a content-free campaign. There will be some bits about income inequality and the “middle class,” to be sure, and she will assure recent graduates of the unis she charges three-hundred large per benediction that their student loans are albatrosses around their necks. But it will all be so much fury and sound.

At its core it will be the world’s safest run, a kind of “don’t make any sudden moves” show that makes G. H. W. Bush ’92 look positively Bull Moose. Bill Clinton’s chief political innovation was to stand on the leftmost edge of the Overton window and then start walking rightward, one step at a time, until his approval rating went over 50. I expect his better half to follow that playbook.

There are those who think that Clinton’s nomination-cum-assumption is a subsidy to the GOP field — that the primary cage match will get the eventual victor rowdy and ruddy and, as it were, ready for Hillary. But I’m sure that that is a wash. Because while Clinton is refining her messaging algorithm to the thousandth decimal place, Republicans will be lanced and barbed and run into exhaustion like so many Andalusian bulls, by a media of picadores using gotcha questions in primary debates to bleed them gentle for the slaughter — for the matadora.

This isn’t to say that Hillary doesn’t have her own weaknesses. She’s probably a crook, and people don’t like her once they remember what she’s like, and she’s quite literally as old as the electronic transistor. But . . .

I suspect it will come down to the woman question. Hillary is running as the First Woman because it’s the blueprint. Because the incumbent won twice by mobilizing “First _____” voter coalitions.

But it’s no sure bet those Obama voters will be there again. Obama significantly outperformed every Democratic nominee of the last 30 years among 18–29-year-olds and minorities, and even the One slipped in both these categories between 2008 and 2012.

If Clinton is to be, then, she will be because she did with women — especially unwed women — what Obama did with Millennials and minorities. In 2012, there was no bigger predictor of how a woman voted than whether she had a ring on it. Romney won married women handily but lost the unwed — who constituted nearly a quarter of the electorate — by nearly two to one.

If Hillary can dial in the right combination of policies and signaling and good old-fashioned false consciousness to run up the score with these gals, then I’ll bet no profusion of vowels in the GOP nominee’s name will be enough to make the demographics work.

Which means our republic is in the hands of all the single ladies.

As a GOP sympathizer who has spent his adult life trying to please this very group, I have my concerns.

– Mr. Foster is a political consultant and a former news editor of National Review Online.

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Hillary, Herself

Every Mystery Machine must have its Velma. You’ll remember Velma Dinkley, the grim-faced young fogey of the Scooby-Doo gang: turtleneck and knee socks, orange; pleated skirt and pumps, red; spectacle lenses ...
Politics & Policy

The RFRA Furor

Nothing better illustrates the sheer irrationality of the national furor over the religious-freedom law passed by Indiana than the absence of a national furor over the religious-freedom law passed by ...


Politics & Policy

John Doe’s Tyranny

‘They came with a battering ram.” Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered ...
Politics & Policy

Drydock Time

A battle of the hawks is raging on Capitol Hill. Defense hawks say the nation’s security will be endangered if the caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act aren’t ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Bold Fusion

By the second page of the introduction, I knew I would like this book. American conservatism is “marked by its unorthodoxy and its radicalism,” observes the British-born National Review writer ...
Politics & Policy

Genres without Borders

Everything changed in 1922. Until then, novelists were novelists. End of story. So to speak. Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and Emily Brontë wrote beautiful, moving narratives that examined the relationships between men ...
Politics & Policy

Way to Live

‘Strength and gentleness go hand in hand.” That’s one of the lessons Dana Perino learned from her grandfather early on, living the ranching life in Wyoming. Her new book is ...


Politics & Policy


Learning from Dorothy Jay Nordlinger’s piece on Dorothy L. Sayers (“Sing It, Dorothy”) in the April 6 issue of National Review spoke to my heart. More than a decade ago I ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ In the tense negotiations over a nuclear deal with Iran, Obama swore he would make no concessions to America’s most dangerous enemy. Unfortunately for him, Congress held firm. ‐ Farmer’s ...

Rand’s Riposte

Hillary is running for president, a turn of events so shocking you could knock me over with a feather or a dossier of her Senate accomplishments. Expect the press to ...
Politics & Policy


FOR MARIA SHARAPOVA Harder, harder, harder — slam the ball Down through the claws of those opposing hands. The prince and duchess, present in the stands, Will soon invite you into Anmer Hall. They recognize ...
Happy Warrior

Who Is for Hillary

Below, for posterity, a partial list of the things that happened in the first 24 hours of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign: Clinton’s announcement, the circumstances of which she had nearly ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More

The Rise of the Chinese-American Right

On June 13, during a nasty storm, a group of Chinese New Yorkers gathered in front of the gates of Gracie Mansion, the New York mayor’s residence on the Upper East Side, to protest. Inside, Mayor Bill de Blasio was meeting with two dozen or so representatives of the Asian-American community to discuss his ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More

How Beto Made Himself into White-Privilege Guy

Robert Francis O’Rourke is white. If it’s any consolation, he’s very sorry about that. “Beto” has been running from his Irish ancestry for some time now. Long before the Left fell headlong into the logical termini of its triune fascination with race, power, and privilege, O’Rourke sensed that there ... Read More