Columns 9.5.2016 07:00 am

The other Clinton presidency

Gwynne Dyer

Gwynne Dyer

The Democrats really may win control of both houses of Congress

Shortly before John Kasich dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, leaving Donald Trump as the only candidate, the Ohio governor put up a spoof video on the internet.

Modelled on the old-fashioned intro that scrolls up the screen at the start of a Star Wars movie, it envisioned a future in which Trump won the candidacy, lost the presidential election and left Hillary Clinton triumphant.

Titled Our Only Hope, Kasich’s video began: “Upon defeating Donald Trump in the largest landslide since Reagan in 1984, President Hillary Clinton is preparing to name her newest Supreme Court justice, Elizabeth Warren.

(House) Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning new tax hikes, hoping that Senate President Chuck Schumer and his new Democratic majority can swiftly get it to the president’s desk for her signature …” It was a roll call of the nightmarish things Republicans fear a Clinton presidency would do: create a “liberal” majority in the Supreme Court, raise taxes, bring in gun control and spend more money on healthcare for poor Americans.

Kasich, of course, was the “only hope” to prevent this disaster. (It was his video, after all.) If Kasich didn’t get the Republican nomination, according to the video, then Trump would win it, but then lose the national election and put Clinton into the presidency.

That would be followed by dragons, plagues and strange portents in the sky, leading to the full-on “End Times” during her second year in office. Well, Kasich is out of the race, Trump will get the Republican nomination and Clinton will win the presidency by a landslide.

Not only that, but the Democrats really may win control Monday 12 9 May 2016 of both houses of Congress. Clinton probably will create a liberal majority on the Supreme Court, tax the rich a bit more and expand the Affordable Care Act (what Republicans call “Obamacare”).

She probably will tackle gun control, too, although you should not hold your breath while awaiting a positive result. She will push on with Obama’s initiatives on climate change and add to them.

But will she do anything genuinely surprising? On foreign policy, she belongs to the “Washington consensus”, so she is suspicious of Russia and Iran, reflexively pro-Israel and uncertain what to do about China.

She resents that people still bring up her vote in support of George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, but it does highlight her inability to think outside the box.

But if this makes Clinton sound like an unexciting president, that would not bother her a bit. Nearly three decades of experience with the political game at the highest level has reinforced her natural tendency to think only in terms of incremental change, and her approach to politics is managerial, not transformational. She will not rock the boat.

This is perhaps not such a bad thing in a peacetime national leader – and the US really is at peace, despite the small overseas military commitments that entail an occasional military casualty. It’s also the best way to assure a second term in office – also within Clinton’s grasp if the Republican Party splits either before or after the electoral debacle that, with Trump as its candidate, now seems certain. Although that would make her 77 at the end of her second term.

 

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