There is a fantastic video that Vox produced (watch it here), that assesses how Hillary Clinton would govern as commander in chief. It took a long look at why she has been successful in politics so far in her life, and how the characteristics that have given her success can also be her downfall at times. The video discusses her ability to listen, why that makes her an excellent politician and how listening to too many voices can sometimes lead to confusing and complicated policy decisions (like her Health Care Reform legislation in the 90s).
After watching I was slightly skeptical about the methodology, though it did give me more confidence in her ability to compromise and listen to all sides of an argument. What pains me, is how a recently leaked conversation shows the opposite side of Secretary Clinton, it displays a deep misunderstanding of the political landscape of the country she wants to govern. Both Trump and Sanders have inspired fervent loyalty from their supporters, perhaps it would be best for Clinton not to write off half the country without any attempt to understand them. Here is the most frustrating part of the leaked conversation,
“There is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates……And on the other side, there’s just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough, and that we just need to, you know, go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel.”
To utterly dismiss the idea of free college and free healthcare shows an incredibly closed minded attitude. Some of the most developed and progressive countries in the world manage free college and health care for all their citizens, so why isn’t that possible for the US? The dismissal of Scandinavia is perhaps the most baffling, why dismiss a group of countries who lead the world in renewable energy, health care, workers rights and education. There is a lot the rest of the world could learn from Scandinavia, especially the United States, and failing to recognise that is a poor move from a politician who claims to be about her willingness to listen. Until Hillary really learns to listen to the entire electorate, she will continue to struggle to beat Donald Trump.