Hillary Clinton Is Right To Bring In Her Husband

| by Nicholas Roberts
Bill and Hillary Clinton at Clinton Global Initiative Bill and Hillary Clinton at Clinton Global Initiative

Hillary Clinton has recently suggested that she wants her husband to play some kind of role in her White House should she be elected president and indicated that this position would be related to "revitalizing the economy." It's clear Hillary's presenting her presidency as a package deal -- and it's a smart strategic move for the Democratic front-runner.

Emphasizing former President Bill Clinton's presence in her life and future administration works for Hillary in a myriad of ways.

First, the phrase "revitalizing the economy" helps Hillary to appeal to Americans' nostalgia for the relatively-booming economy of the 1990s, which her husband, who presided over this time in U.S. history, further represents.

Second, it helps to separate herself from President Barack Obama and his policies: It implies that all has not been well under Obama's presidency, despite the president's insistence that the economy has come a long way and that his administration's handling of the 2007-2009 recession was by far the best way to manage that crisis. It is a signal to moderate voters dissatisfied with Obama that she hears their concerns.

In essence, by appealing to nostalgia, Hillary is doing her own version of "Make America Great Again" -- except with the 1990s, rather than the 1950s.

It is also a signal to moderates of both the Democratic and Republican variety that she has not forgotten about them, even after being pulled to the left on a host of issues due to the stubbornly-persistent candidacy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

These voters are often skeptical about throwing a wrench in the status quo as Donald Trump and Sanders have proposed and prefer to pursue gradual change and careful management of the economy. Putting Bill, who was a popular centrist president, visibly in a position of influence over the economy can assuage these voters' fears and herald a political realignment wherein the Democratic Party effectively represents the entire center (and most of the left) of American politics.

Additionally, on the campaign trail she could utilize Bill to do damage control in states -- like West Virginia, for instance -- where her own economic proposals have been perceived as being far too left-wing and anti-business to be palatable with voter preferences and where she is not perceived as trustworthy.  

Of course, Hillary Clinton needs to be very careful about tying herself too closely to her husband's legacy so as not to undermine her message of fundamental change. 

For example, using Bill to appeal to blue-collar white voters in economically-depressed regions could backfire, particularly if Trump uses Bill's presence on the campaign trail to remind voters about NAFTA and the outsourcing of American jobs.

There is also the fact that many voters are not exactly eager to return to what they see as Bill's overtly corporate-friendly policies during his presidency, such as the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which kept commercial banks separate from investment banks. But this is something which could be mitigated by a President Hillary Clinton choosing more progressive-minded candidates to serve as her Vice President, Treasury Secretary, and/or Labor Secretary.

Overall, any political calculation comes with risk. While there are many voters who will refuse to throw their support behind the Clintons, there are still plenty of moderate swing voters who will be drawn to Bill's centrist policies during an election cycle marked by ideological extremism.

If Hillary uses Bill's presence and influence carefully, it could help secure her the White House.

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Sources: ABC News, The New York Times / Photo Credit: Independent Journal Review

If she is elected president, is it a good idea for Hillary to have Bill Clinton be in charge of 'revitalizing the economy'?
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