From the early 1990s to the present it seems that the Democratic Party has been good for Bill and Hillary Clinton. But have the Clintons been good for the Democratic Party? I think not.
As President, Bill Clinton presided over a shrinking Democratic Party during an era of prosperity. In the 1994 Congressional elections we saw a historic switch in Party power that gave Republicans control of both chambers for the first time in a generation. Many feel he and his wife Hillary were catalysts in this transition.
Fast forward to 2007 to present and Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic nomination for President. Recent efforts by her campaign, including her husband and former President Bill Clinton, seem to be polarizing the traditional Democratic coalition of white liberals, Hispanics and Black voters.
In her effort to attract a majority of the Democratic primary vote, Hillary Clinton’s campaign seems to be driving a wedge between Black and white voters in general and Black and Hispanic voters in particular. This is being done, I feel, by using racial stereotypes and drawing unfair comparisons to paint Barak Obama as the “black candidate.” Simultaneously, subtle suggestions are being made that Hispanics don’t support “black candidates” and thus should vote in block for the “white” candidate.
If I am right, and it seems many political pundits would agree, this is a very risky move for the longterm health of the Democratic Party, especially when when delivered by one some have called America’s “first Back President.” It effectively peals off a loyal block of voters and hangs them out to dry. Judging from history, a Republican Party with the ideals of Lincoln and a populist message like that coming from Mike Huckabee could once again attract a significant group of Black voters in the future.
With this in mind, I’m once again thinking about the Clintons and the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has been good for and to the Clintons but, apart from raising lots of money and attracting large crowds, the Clintons have not returned the favor. Instead, it seems that the Democratic Party is torn, twisted and harmed in the wake of a Clinton’s advance. Yes, I’d say the Democratic Party has been good for the Clintons but the Clintons have definitely not been good for the Democratic Party.