This is part of a series of profiles on leading candidates of the major party to be their nominees for the US Presidency.To see the rest of Global Citizen coverage please go here.
Hillary Clinton has been on the national political stage in the US since the early 1990s. A former First Lady of the United States of America, a US Senator and a former Secretary of State there is no other candidate (possibly in US history) that has as much experience as she does. That said, she has struggled to connect to voters at times.
This is her second Presidential primary campaign that she is the expected winner. It didn’t work out in 2008, when current US President Obama used a huge youth following to win the Democratic Primary and eventually the general election to become President. Many observers of Clinton this time around see her main primary opponent Bernie Sanders gathering an Obama-like base of supporters. Something that obviously has her campaign worried.
In a time when the US electorate seems to be engaging with “outsiders” (Sanders and Republican candidates like Donald Trump or Ben Carson fit this mold), Clinton’s immense experience seems to be helping as much as it is hurting.
Here is where Hillary Clinton stands on some issues global citizens care about.
Refugees and Immigration
“We can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship.”
Domestically, Hillary Clinton supports comprehensive reform to the US immigration program. Highlights of her platform include ending family detention, closing private immigrant detention centers and expanding healthcare to all families. She does want to conduct targeted immigration enforcement that detains and deports individuals who pose a public safety threat but still wants all immigrants and refugees to have a fair chance to tell their stories.
“This is a family issue, it’s an economic issue too, but it is at heart a family issue.”
Clinton has been outspoken on immigration and the refugee crisis. Constantly referring to the refugee situation in Europe as a “global crisis.”
She has publicly called for the United States to take in 65,000 refugees. Her stance on refugees has led her to call for more efforts to arm moderate elements in Syria to bring the civil war to a close.
She has also connected the refugee crisis to climate change.
Foreign Aid and National Security
“I believe the future holds far more opportunities than threats if we exercise creative and confident leadership that enables us to shape global events rather than be shaped by them.”
Hillary Clinton has endorsed a concept of “smart power” that combines diplomacy and development. As a former Secretary of State, Clinton’s experience with foreign aid and diplomacy is unmatched by anyone in the field (not to mention her experience as US First Lady).
She has consistently advocated being tough with other leaders while still extending the olive branch of diplomacy. She has been a supporter of USAID, and has highlighted the need to spend on development even in war zones.
Clinton believes the nation needs a strong military that is "cutting edge" but her approach to the rest of the world focuses on multilateral cooperation, including global alliances to work on climate change, stop cyber threats and contain highly contagious diseases.
When discussing trade, security, diplomacy and international development, Hillary Clinton’s stance has been generally pragmatic while underlining the benefits to economically develop and integrate with the rest of the world.
“Climate change is not just a moral and economic issue, it is a defining national security challenge of our time.”
Clinton is an active supporter of increasing the US commitment to deal with Climate Change. She claims credit for a breakthrough climate change negotiation with China in 2009.
“We did come up with the first international agreement that China has signed.”
This breakthrough set the stage for bilateral negotiations on Climate between the world’s 2 largest CO2 emitters. Breakthroughs between the two global leaders were crucial to getting the COP21 global compact on Climate in December 2015.
Her platform includes a goal of installing more than half a billion solar panels across the US before the end of her first term (if she is elected) and generating enough power from renewable sources to power every home in the nation within 10 years of her taking office. These are ambitious goals that demonstrate a strong desire to transition the US economy and particularly the energy industry.
In her book “Hard Choices” there are a variety of places that show Clinton is not only a Climate Change believer (which separates her from her Republican colleagues in the Primaries) but also an active player in getting the world to commit to stopping climate change. Here is an excerpt of one story in her book.
A Response to the ONE Campaign on Ending Extreme poverty
On January 30th, Clinton released a response to our partners at the ONE Campaign who have been working to get US Presidential candidates on the record about ending extreme poverty. Here it is:
Hillary Clinton has been on the National Stage since 1990 when her husband Bill Clinton began his eventually successful run for President. Her time as First Lady was marked by a very active role in politics, including a controversial role in failed attempts to reform healthcare in the mid ‘90s.
Since Bill Clinton became President, Hillary has been an international power. The rest of the world may not always like her, but leaders around the world would most likely feel like she is a known quantity if Clinton becomes President.
Hillary Clinton’s biggest strength could be her biggest weakness in this year’s election. Clinton has so much experience in national governance and foreign policy that voters hungry for “change” are struggling to identify her as something more than a third term for Obama-like policies.
Hillary Clinton is a committed US leader and a committed member of the global community. Her challenge is to show voters that she understands them today and that a nation led by her would deliver more than the status quo.