The rise of Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party's presumptive presidential candidate, in 5 pointsBinjal Shah
Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, and has become the first woman to become the nominee of a major political party in the 240-year history of the United States. She did so by securing the number of delegates needed (2,383) to become the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee. She has thus mathematically ousted her competitor Bernie Sanders from the race.
Speaking in Long Beach, California, Hillary announced, “We are on the brink of a historic, historic unprecedented moment but we still have work to do, don’t we? We have six elections tomorrow and are going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California.”
From writing a letter to NASA as a child, to her experience as First Lady of the United States or FLOTUS and finally, her formidable attempts at becoming the most powerful ruler in the world, here is everything you wanted to know about her:
- Early political leanings
Born in Chicago, one of her earliest memories as a child is writing a letter to NASA to join them as an astronaut, to which, she received a polite rejection, with them explaining that she couldn’t because she was a girl. Hillary Clinton’s life has been building political inroads ever since she met Bill Clinton, the man who went on to become the 42nd President of the United States, in the Yale Law library as a student. In 1977, she co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. She was appointed the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978, and, the following year, became the first woman partner at Rose Law Firm. Her stint as FLOTUS in the 1990s was ridden with the Lewinsky controversy and a failed attempt at enacting the Clinton health plan of 1993. In 1997 and 1999, she helped craft programmes for children’s health insurance, adoption, and foster care – and made her mark with her flair for policy. She survived the Whitewater investigations with husband, and then Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton.
- Rise to prominence
Her coming of age moment is arguably her declaration at the UN Women’s Conference at Beijing in September 1995, where she said,“Women’s rights are human rights.” Since then, and right up to this point, she was hailed as a feminist icon, backed by noted feminists of our time Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem even in her current presidential campaign. After a fairly successful yet controversial stint as FLOTUS, Hillary stood for and subsequently won the post of senator in New York. Her campaign was centred on visiting every county in the state, in a “listening tour” of small-group settings, promising jobs and tax reform. She was in office when the September 11 attacks transpired, and was instrumental in securing $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center site’s redevelopment. She subsequently took a pivotal role in investigating the health issues faced by 9/11 first responders, an issue she still feels strongly about. She stood for re-election for a second term and successfully held her position in the Senate. After that, the former FLOTUS developed aspirations to become POTUS (President of the United States).
- Presidential Campaign against Obama
In 2008, Hillary Clinton formally declared her intentions for running for presidency through her website. Barack Obama, Senator of Illinois, and John Edwards, former Senator of North Carolina, were her strongest competitors. The biggest threat to her campaign was her past support of the Iraq War, which Obama had opposed from the beginning. When the first vote unfolded, Hillary placed third in the opinion polls, trailing behind Obama and Edwards. Following the final primaries, Obama had gained enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee and Hillary suspended her campaign and in turn endorsed Obama. Clinton conceded with another dig, at failing at the doorstep of the “highest, hardest glass ceiling.” After Obama was historically elected, she accepted his invitation to become Secretary of State on his administration. In her tenure, she came under the scanner for travelling a total of 956,733 miles, to 112 countries, which equals to 38.42 times around the circumference of the world.
Come January of 2015, as Obama prepared to step down after serving two consecutive terms, Hilary decided to gun for the highest office once again. Upon entering the race, she was locking horns with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Vermont “fringe” candidate Bernie Sanders – a self-proclaimed Septuagenarian Democrat Socialist candidate who turned out to be more trouble than anticipated. All along, Clinton has prioritised women’s issues with policy-based solutions, like paid family leave, equal pay and affordable child care. In California, she was joined by 17 female leaders and celebrities, including Sally Field, Mary Steenburgen and Debra Messing. Her popularity among female voters, however, is not as high as one would think –64 percent of women under the age of 45 supported Sanders, and only 35 percent backed Clinton. She has become the presumptive presidential candidate of the Democratic Party mainly due to her impressive performance in the Deep South and big states like New York and Pennsylvania, along with her advantage among superdelegates.
She used a private email server as secretary of state, which raised questions over her transparency and honesty as a public figure. She is now tasked with unifying a fragmented Democratic Party that is divided between the Clinton and Sanders camp, in order to take on the Republican Trump brigade that is growing in girth. Mindful of the fact that she will be the first woman President of the United States, if she wins, Trump accused her of playing the “woman card.” The amassing of personal wealth by the Clintons through their books and speeches and appearances has also invoked the ire of voters. Her resistance to press scrutiny or her often criticised campaigning skills are also conspiring against her.
She will go to Philadelphia next month to accept the nomination at the Democratic National Convention, and will face presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in a battle that is already one of the nastiest campaigns in modern US history.