Between being a former First Lady, Secretary of State for the Obama Administration, and a female presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton is well aware of her strengths and weakness and is translating them into her strategy for the upcoming presidential campaign. With a focus on women and minorities, Clinton is invoking the coalition that won President Obama the presidency, according to the Washington Post, and her policies center around the projection that up to 31 percent of the electorate will be Americans of color, and that independent voters will lean left. With these assumptions, she is unafraid to run as the most liberal candidate in the election. However, more than what the polls project, Hillary Clinton is relying on her gut; unlike in 2008 when her campaign was focused on polling data and ideology, this time Clinton refuses to be paralyzed by the fear of saying the wrong thing. This bold fearlessness is clear through her stance on gay marriage. From stating that she considered marriage to be between a man and woman while she was first lady and backing civil unions in 2008, she is now in full support of gay and lesbian marriage and will meet with Democratic activists at the home of one of the first gay couples to be married in the state during her trip to Iowa.
While this may seem like a risky policy, her approach relies on the assumption that due to social and demographic shifts in recent years, her left-leaning position on social issues such as gay marriage and immigration will not affect her image to moderate and independent voters, because these voters are already more likely to be left-leaning on these social issues. However, even with moderate and independent voter support, in order to attain the same coalition that helped Obama win, Clinton will have to appeal to the Hispanic population, increase turnout of women voters, and obtain the vote of the African American voters who were pivotal in electing Obama. Her support of citizenship for undocumented immigrants, paid family leave and call for changes in policing and prosecution in response to the police killings of black men over the past year will help her appeal to all three minorities.
The only two proposals that Hillary Clinton remains cautiously unclear on are the two key proposals that many liberals oppose: the Keystone XL pipeline and Obama’s free-trade deal. Republicans state that her shifts on issues such as free trade and gay marriage make her a “fake” progressive voter, and that her left positions are outside of mainstream American ideology, however Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta stated that her approach is less about ideology, and more about focusing on the problems American people are facing, a stance popular in the polls. Perhaps Hillary Clinton’s campaign is an embodiment of a newfound secret to success: a focus on intuition rather than ideology.[The Washington Post]