June 13th is almost here and that means that the official launch of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is finally upon us.
We’ve argued before that Hillary needs to espouse a centrist agenda that includes a pro-growth agenda to create jobs, reforms ObamaCare, supports immigration reform, addresses income inequality through policies that promote mobility, and clearly defines what she sees as America’s role in the world. She must also fervently push for an increase in the federal minimum wage, debt and deficit reduction as well as big bank regulation. This platform will also satisfy progressives, whom she needs to win over, especially with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the race.
But she doesn’t just need an agenda. Hillary also needs a clear recitation of her accomplishments, something that she and her campaign have failed to produce thus far.
Part of this is almost certainly has to do with the fact that the Clinton camp has decided to run a stealth campaign, controlling events and steering clear of the press.
We haven’t heard her thoughts on the Clinton Foundation donor scandal or anything about her private email server since the week after the news broke. Staying quiet has proved pretty successful for her so far all things considered: sure, she’s slipped below 50% in head-to-head match-ups with some GOP hopefuls, but she has generally retained her support amongst Democrats. She’s also the most admired woman in the world for the 17th time in 18 years, according to Gallup. Still, there are storm clouds on the horizon.
But the safety-first approach means that Americans also haven’t heard about the extraordinary impact the Clinton Foundation has had around the world.
Doug has worked with the Clinton Foundation through its partnership with ANTIAIDS and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Ukraine, where millions have been invested to fight this terrible disease with low-cost drugs, rapid testing, and training.
The results have been remarkable. But voters are missing out on hearing about the Clinton Foundation’s real achievements.
More broadly, Hillary has yet to tell voters, clearly and unambiguously, what she has accomplished in her long and productive public service career—and, most crucially, why she should be president.
This is especially critical at a moment when she is declining in the polls. According to the latest CNN/ORC poll, 50% view her unfavorably, up from 44% in March – the highest level since 2001. Fifty-seven percent say she’s not honest or trustworthy, 47% don’t think that she cares about them, and 50% of Americans don’t find her inspiring.
Hillary is also losing ground in head-to-head matchups with Republican hopefuls. She’s only three points ahead of Jeb Bush at 47%-44% in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, which is within the margin of error. She’s also essentially even with Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio.
These numbers are certainly a compelling reason for Hillary to become more assertive and, specifically, to talk about her accomplishments. In our view, Hillary has a host of credentials that she ought to be touting in her bid for the White House. They include:
1. Advocate for women and children. For nearly a quarter-century on the national forefront as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, Hillary has worked toward reform on women’s reproductive rights, establishing the importance of family values, and improving after-school programs.
2. Equal-pay proponent. As both an advocate and legislator, she is a stalwart on women’s rights to equal pay, and she remains so as a presidential candidate.
3. Women’s safety. Clinton’s role in creating the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women underscores her advocacy for gender equality. She has also made the cause a significant Clinton Foundation priority.
4. 9/11 redevelopment. In the aftermath of September 11th, she worked closely with her senior Senate counterpart from New York, Sen. Charles Schumer, on securing $21.4 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment.
5. Middle East ceasefire. In November 2012, Secretary of State Clinton brokered a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.
6. Iranian Nuclear Deal. As Secretary of State, she not only recognized the imperative of placating Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but also took proactive steps to begin negotiating a viable deal.
7. Free-trade agreements. Secretary Clinton played a role in numerous U.S.-led bilateral trade agreements—most notably, efforts on the TPP and a deal brokered between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
8. Minimum wage. Both Clinton’s presidential platform and legislative record clearly identify her support for raising the federal minimum wage.
9. Climate Change. Alongside many of her Democratic counterparts, Clinton has championed the fight against climate change, both domestically and on a global scale.
10. Human Rights. Hillary’s career has been marked by advocacy for human rights. In her concern as First Lady and Secretary of State especially, Clinton worked to ensure proper labor and sociopolitical protections around the world.
11. Gun control. Her legislative record and decades of advocacy for highlight her views, which are in step with a majority of Americans.
There’s more, but we’ve made our point. We can, and will, keep talking about what a Clinton presidency would look like, but she’ll surely say it better.
We’re waiting. Hillary should come out of her protective crouch and start sharing her ideas and vision—and her record—with voters around the country.
Jessica Tarlov is a senior strategist for Schoen Consulting.