Despite the closeness in the polls, to many African-American voters the election of Hillary Rodham Clinton to the presidency of the United States seems almost inevitable. In fact, the presidency of Hillary Clinton has seemed inevitable since November of 2004, when then-Senator John Kerry lost in a close race against President Bush in an election that many Black Americans believed Democrats would have won if they had had a stronger candidate.
Some would say the inevitability factor kicked in with Clinton’s first senate campaign, in 2000, while she was still the first lady of the United States. It is this sense of inevitability, even entitlement, that does not sit well with many Americans, including Black voters.
Hilary Clinton’s Gender
No doubt gender is an issue for a number of people as well; those would be voters who cannot accept the idea of having a woman as the head-of-state and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. These voters find their parallel in people, in the last two elections, who could not accept the idea of an African-American holding those positions. In both cases, such voters will find themselves under the steamroller of history.
But many Americans do not see the inevitability of a Hillary Clinton presidency as a historic moment, although historic it will be. They would have preferred to have voted for an underdog, who came out of nowhere to capture the nomination and the presidency, as Barack Obama seemed to have done back in 2008. The inevitability of Ms. Clinton detracts from the historicity of what will be accomplished when she is elected.
And elected, she will be — barring extraordinary circumstances. It is true that many younger African-Americans are reluctant to support Clinton because they believe she has not been attentive to their interests and concerns. In Clinton they see the same old pattern of the Democratic Party taking the votes of minorities and labor for granted while offering little more than symbolism and tokens.
Clinton vs Trump
Nonetheless, Clinton’s opponent in the general election will be Donald Trump, and Trump doesn’t seem to be able to help himself. Every time he opens his mouth he alienates yet another group of voters, even as he grows in popularity among the base of the Republican Party. This is because the Republicans do not remotely resemble the racial and cultural diversity of the United States. Republicans at the grass-roots appear to be tone-deaf to how Trump is playing outside of their insular circle.
The establishment of the Republican Party, however, the Party elite, seem to be alarmed by the effect that Donald Trump is having not only on their prospects for re-capturing the White House, but also on the strength of the party in state and local elections, and in races for the house and the senate. The base of the Republican party doesn’t think much of the establishment, so they ignore these concerns as they defiantly steer their party into the jagged rocks of the shoreline.
As the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign unfolds, African-Americans, young people, and labor may never come to love Hillary Clinton, or the Democratic Party leadership, but Donald Trump will most likely make Hillary palatable to them — and almost inevitable.