Why did Hillary Clinton lose the primaries? Essay

Last year, the fact that Hillary Clinton would win the primaries was inevitable. Most people thought it would be a clear, clean cut and easy win; she had the backing of the democratic super delegates and her party as a whole, and was looking forward to being the first woman president. In December 2007 Hillary Clinton led Barrack Obama by 45% to 27% (PollingReport.com 2008) which usually shows an undeniable victory, however this year the race has two new issues to deal with, feminism and racial issues. Although if people looked at her views and the “strings attached” with her at the beginning would this hypothetically undeniable victory have been the case? There can be many reasons why Hillary Clinton lost including the simple fact that she didn’t lose but Obama won, which is often overlooked.

The most prominent reason that Hillary lost in my opinion was that her message of “change” was not strong enough this year compared to Obama. Obama was seen as fresh faced and represented change as he was an outsider. However Hillary did not represent change, she was a Whitehouse insider due to her role in the senate from 2001 and being a first lady for 2 terms. This puts her in with everything the majority of Americans resent, the bush presidency. She voted for the Iraq war, and has been involved with a lot of the decision making whether through Bill or not such as the power of lobbyists issues.

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As I said before Hillary voted for the Iraq war at the time it arose, and this seems to have been a mistake as now the views of most Americans towards Iraq is quite hostile. Also with her main rival being on of her only opponents to vote against the Iraq war she has had a difficult time. During Clinton’s campaign she switched to saying “If Congress had been asked, based on what we know now, we never would have agreed,” this is admitting a mistake; and to me an apparent move to pacify growing dissatisfaction with her position among many of the democratic base. Obama really took hold of this statement and said that she was trying to “rewrite history” and “You can’t undo a vote for war just because the war stopped being popular.” This was also used as an example how she was proven to be dishonest and only up for the popular vote. I believe that this backlash by Obama, including backlash on other issues, is a large factor why Hillary Clinton lost the primary.

Bills involvement in Hillary’s campaign for presidency was a vote loser in my opinion. He demolished the representation for change in the campaign as he had already been president, and therefore was a large ‘insider’. The question in most Americans minds was how could Hillary represent change if her husband caused many of the issues now, before President George W. Bush. Another issue is Bill’s untrustworthiness. His infidelity in the past, along with many small white lies to congress during his presidency, contrasts with the large emphasis on trustworthiness in this campaign on change and honesty. The comment he made comparing Obama’s campaign to Jesse Jackson’s did not help his image either; “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.” This comment was recieved as racist and put a black mark on Bill, and by extension Hillary.

Another bad blemish on Hillary’s campaign in the primaries was the Bosnia fiasco. This again made her seem untrustworthy in addition with Bill. It made her personal characteristics quite poor, and as one of the unconstitutional requirements for a president is a ‘perfect’ personality to fit with the American’s wants, she was starting to fall apart. Her comeback on this matter was “So I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I’m human, which, you know, for some people, is a revelation.” But this is not good enough, it shows she is human, but should a president really make a mistake as simple as this?

The organisation of her campaign and the way the primaries worked also had an effect on the results of the democratic primaries. Firstly with the organisation of the primaries; the democrats (unlike the republicans) use a proportional voting system, and this way Obama won, but if a majority system was used, Hillary would have won more bigger states in total, and statistics have shown that she would probably have won in the Primaries. A majoritarian system may even have stopped the primaries even earlier and not have let Obama get his campaign rolling. Secondly the organisation of Hillary’s campaign was very good, but was not totally modernised. An example of this is how her funds were raised.

Obama had an extremely efficient system of raising lots of smaller donation off the internet, which is aimed towards the younger democratic supporters, unlike the stereotypically older republican supporters. Whereas Hillary on the other hand concentrated on raising the full amount allowed of donations by wealthier donors, which also means there are less. She had collected approximately $400,000 in campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists in one go, which is a very large sum. Also as of July 27, 2007, Hillary Clinton had 221 bundlers for a total of $62,532,868.00 raised, which is a large sum to start ff any campaign, however this was quickly deplenished, and as these donors could not give money again, she had to struggle to change her sources of her money.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why Hillary Clinton lost the democratic primaries to Barrack Obama, not only because his campaign was more organised, but through minor faults or mistakes of her own. This is a very controversial issue, and many people do not believe that Hillary really lost it herself. However my opinion is that the organisation of her campaign, her association with Bill, the Iraq war, and some personal characteristics lost it for her in the long run.