Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has greater experience than any other candidate in American history but it is “ironical” that she could win the election more due to the “weakness” of her rival Donald Trump, an expert has said.
“No previous female or male presidential candidate in American history has ever put together this particular set of experiences than Clinton,” Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire Ellen Fitzpatrick said at a session on ‘Gender Politics and the 2016 Elections’.
“It is ironic that in vaulting over the hurdles that all of her previous predecessors were felled by, Clinton’s successes have been construed as liabilities by her critics in the current race,” she said.
Fitzpatrick noted that Clinton benefited from the challenges that civil rights activists and feminists posed to the rules of the Democratic Party.
Clinton came to national attention through her husband and former President Bill Clinton which gave her a “national platform and kept her in the spotlight.”
“When she left the White House, she ran for the Senate on her own, was elected for two terms, and used that position to further advance within the Democratic Party.
“She had unrivalled access to money and party support as a United States senator. And then when she was defeated in 2008, she took a job in her rival’s (Barack Obama) Administration, having further experience as a secretary of state,” Fitzpatrick said.
The professor was asked whether it ironic that despite Clinton’s experience from First Lady to Secretary of State, she might be elected just because of who her opponent is.
She said, “What’s ironic is that it will be said about a candidate who probably has greater experience than any other candidate in American history for the office of the presidency.”
Fitzpatrick added that whatever Clinton’s merits or deficiencies as a candidate may be, she has overcome “enormous obstacles” to get where she is today.
She said Clinton’s achievement of winning the Democratic Party’s nomination may not merit the votes on Election Day but gender is playing a crucial role in the 2016 elections.
“No one should vote for a candidate simply on the basis of their sex, but no one should harbour the illusion that gender doesn’t matter in American presidential politics and that a woman will be elected to the American presidency just as soon as that perfect candidate comes along,” she said.
Fitzpatrick said that if Clinton becomes president, she is going to face a divided nation and a divided Congress.
“Difficult issues will come before her immediately, and that will be true if Trump is elected as well. What we do know about Secretary Clinton is that she has a long record from her time in the senate, she was quite respected by the opposition party as a senator and was quite good at ‘crossing the aisle’ to work with opponents in the Republican Party.
“So one would hope that these assets would be brought to Clinton presidency and she might do better in that regard,” Fitzpatrick said.