On both mystery and ease, Hillary will have a challenge. But the area where the race will truly be won and lost is the final piece: the promise of escape to aspirational future. (This is the element of glamour that makes sleek auto advertisements compel us to look up the prices on luxury cars, because we badly want to be zipping down that coastal highway, too.) So what, exactly, is Hillary Clinton selling? Can someone who has been at the center of American politics since before “pogs” were popular credibly offer to provide an “escape,” a turning of the page to a bright new future?
Despite economic improvement, middle and working-class voters are still struggling, particularly white working class men who have abandoned the Democratic Party in droves in recent years. It’s certain that Republicans will talk directly to these voters, aiming to persuade them that we need to move on from an era that saw the middle class hollowed out while nearly eight trillion dollars has been added to the national debt. Whether Republicans are successful will depend on if they can credibly propose policies that people think will lead them to greener pastures.
But with a GOP field largely full of fresh faces, almost none of whom have ever run for president before, the race will be on to claim the mantle of being the candidate of innovative ideas and the future. Clinton, by virtue of how long she’s been immersed in the swamp of politics, will struggle to credibly say she’s what’s “fresh and new.”