Beyond the propensity to generate scandal, there is a larger reason that Clinton’s administration will be a slog. The 2016 election has been characterized by a demand for great change. And Hillary Clinton has run as the defender of the way things are, the way they’re going, and who they’re going for.
Hillary Clinton received a vigorous challenge from a left wing that isn’t afraid to label themselves socialists. America’s center-right party ditched its commitments to establishment doctrine on free trade and liberalized immigration, and challenged the wisdom and justice of America’s post-Cold War political order. But Hillary Clinton will enter the White House as the caretaker for the status quo in American political life.
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were not the men to carry forward this message of discontent to real political triumph. Both candidates represented their cause poorly. Trump was at once too crude and unethical himself. And Sanders had none of the political instincts and savvy to really go after Clinton in the primaries.
Clinton is the face of a prosperous, grasping establishment that won’t bear challenge from the left or right. Her ability to survive scandal after scandal will not be received as some testament to her political canniness or some deep integrity. It will be received as just the system defending its own from attack.