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Thursday, February 22, 2024

What’s next for Hillary?

By Ardain IsmaCSMS Magazine Staff WriterNew Analysis If anyone had doubts about Hillary Clinton’s political pathology, last Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina and Indiana should have been enough to erase those doubts. With a huge loss in North Carolina and a narrow victory in Indiana, the future looks bleak. Obama has considerably widened his lead, positioning himself within the 200 delegates’ bracket needed to clinch the nomination—a strategic threshold that has already delivered a psychological blow to the Clinton war room and has also forced the media to acknowledge what CSMS Magazine has been saying all along: the game is practically over. Yet, she does not seem to acknowledge the moment of truth is up on her. At least, this is just the façade for on Tuesday night, her body language along with her carefully-chosen words, as she stood against the backdrop of the wistful faces of her eternal Bill and daughter Chelsea, betrayed her.      “We’re moving full speed on to the White House,” she said in her primary-night speech in Indianapolis. Unmistakably, that night, was her elegiac tone crafted under a repressed nostalgia and a bitter realization as well as a resignation that the undaunted former First Lady’ s electoral bandwagon has run out of steam. Her graceful thanks to some of her die-hard supporters who have always been there for her in a journey “that has been a blessing for me,” were clearly sufficed to tell everyone that from then on, it is all going to be a farce.     But even as she stumbled behind the microphone, she gave no indication that she was about to concede. Her stoic pride will never allow her, especially if she has to concede to an African American junior senator who, just few years ago, was nothing but an obscure politician. The princess crowned queen even before the contest got under way few months ago is now trapped in an electoral labyrinth that proves impossible to get away from. So, for all practical purposes, the democratic primaries are over. Obama will perhaps fall short of the 2, 025 pledgedelegates to secure the nomination; but since he is way ahead of Clinton who will never catch up with him, the Democratic Party will have no choice but to name him the victor. The electoral map will certainly dictate the conventional wisdom. It’s over.Playing the politic of fear If there is only one card left to play for Hillary is the card of politic of fear. This strategy was put in place soon after Obama’s stunning victory at the Iowa caucuses when he walked away with a 10-point lead over all of his rivals. In doing so, he effectively dethroned Hillary whose nomination at that time was considered a fait accompli. So confident, the Clinton team made it clear that the Democratic primaries were going to be a dress rehearsal, a sweet interlude before the major showdown in November. Little did they know that this year the voters had other things in their minds. They were clearly ready to try something new.     In playing the game of fear, the Clinton team has used every tool at its disposal to make sure that America takes a second look, a closer look, before they cast their vote for someone whose “appearance, patriotism and faith” should be a matter of close scrutiny. Now the campaign seems to have been practically doomed, the only way to parachute Hillary to the top of the nomination is to stage a political coup. That prospect, however shameful it can be, according to insiders, is the subject of serious consideration. Can she succeed? She probably can, but not without exploding the Party, further polarizing a divided society and utterly exposing the true nature of American democracy. Still against all odds, Clinton’s egocentrism will not be swayed “until there is a nominee,” as she made it clear last Tuesday.How does it get to this point?For a campaign that seemed so flawless from the start, it is hard to imagine that Hillary could find herself in this political sinkhole. As I said earlier, misjudging the mood of the voters is perhaps Hillary’s number one strategic blunder. “In a cycle that has been all about change, Clinton chose an incumbent’s strategy, running on experience, preparedness, inevitability – and the power of the strongest brand name in Democratic politics,” wrote Karen Tumulty of Time.com. This was confirmed by her countless cry of “ready on day one,” a theme that was backfired when Obama started to associate it with the traditionally Washingtonian politic at a time when Change is the order of the day. “Being the consummate Washington insider is not where you want to be in a year when people want change ……initial strategic positioning was wrong and kind of played into our hands,” says Barack Obama chief strategist, David Axelrod. Many political observers in Washington confirm this assertion.       An other aspect of this strategy was the campaign’s insistence in overlooking Obama’s strength, belittling him even after many big party insiders like the Kennedys, the Bill Bradleys, the John Cary’s and others were lining up behind him. Obama’s sizable victory in South Carolina was greeted by a suppressed nonchalance. “Big deal, Jesse Jackson carried it in both 1984 and 1988,” suggested Bill Clinton in an attempt to portray Obama as a fringe candidate, and his campaign “is nothing but a political distraction” that should be ignored as we need to focus on the biggest and most serious prize: beating the Republicans in November. So, running on experience while downplaying Obama’s growing popularity was a two-pronged strategy doomed to failure right from the start.       Many critics also got bewildered over the Clinton team’s clumsiness in studying the electoral map. She focused on winning big in big states like California, Texas, New York in hope of delivering a knockout blow to Obama who remained resolute in his drive to move ahead. According to observers, the winning-big strategy was engineered by “chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state’s 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all,” acknowledged Karen Tumulty in her article on Time.com. Maybe they did not seem to understand proportional allocation.      These are some of the major blunders along with some other dreadful mistakes made by the campaign like underestimating the role of the smaller states and never anticipating a protracted contest that has substantially reduced her ability to compete with Obama in the fundraising fight.Obama raises the stakeAccording to Politico.com, Obama is planning to declare victory on May 20th in Oregon. In doing so, he hopes to force the hands of the undecided superdelegates, who still have not come out in support of either candidate. From then on, Obama will focus on the general election. Hillary, who still hopes the superdelegates will in the end vote for her nomination, stands a chance of being ridiculed. She will continue to lay the bait of politic of race in the hope that the elusive Obama will finally take it.     Obama was in Washington on Friday, looking presidential and pledging to remain committed to Israel security as the country celebrates its 60th anniversary at the expense of millions of Palestinians who continue to live under the longest and most brutal military occupation in modern time while continue to wallow in abject misery and humiliation.     This is the first glimpse anyone can get on an Obama’s Administration foreign policy totally dedicated to upholding the status quo. The candidate of change will only offer some cosmetic changes, thereby deceiving millions who had hoped the cry for change was genuine and irreversible. In CSMS Magazine, we always say that a bourgeois democracy has only one recipe that all bourgeois politicians know by heart: Change means the continuation of the old order in other camouflaged ways. Genuine changes, however, will not come to bear unless the commitment itself is faithful and holy.Also see Hillary Clinton’s Paranoia and the Democrats DilemmaHillary Clinton wants to clinch the nomination at all costIs Barack Obama unstoppable after his stunning victory in Iowa last week?   The Obama campaign plunges deeper into the defensive after the Nevada lost last SaturdayNote: Dr. Ardain Isma is the chief editor for CSMS Magazine and the executive director of the Center For Strategic And Multicultural Studies. He also teaches Cross-Cultural Studies at Nova Southeastern University. He is a novelist and the author of several essays on multiculturalism and Caribbean politics. He may be reached at publisher@csmsmagazine.org.  

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