Being a woman and a candidate to the White House – the beginning of Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign

“I felt I had let down so many millions of people, especially the women and girls who had invested their dreams in me”

Hillary Clinton commented in those words her defeat in 2008. Today she is preparing for a new battle but this time numerous signs indicate that she will be endorsed to present the Democrat Party and will be the first woman to run for the office of the President of the United States.

Political sphinx

Hillary is a fighter, nobody doubts this. However, this tenacity was one of the reasons for her failed bit in 2008. Although the idea of a woman as the President appealed a lot of Americans, Clinton was unable to connect with voters. Eight years later she learnt her lesson and is currently trying to break with the public image of an elitist and distant politician, able to fight until the death on the political arena, and create a new brand: that of an emphatic woman, close to her fellow citizens and concerned by gender inequalities and other social issues in her country. In aim to build her new political brand, Hillary Clinton had made a strong bet on women.

  • Video advertisement

“America needs a champion and I want to be this champion”

The key line of the video marks the change of Clinton’s political communication. The word champion means “a fighter”, as well as “a defender”. Subsequently, in her message Hillary Clinton says that she wants to win the presidential run, but over all she wants to defend average Americans. Who are they? In the video there are 11 voice sequences presenting 11 profiles of voters. 5 are women, 1 is a child, 4 are couples and 1 is a man. The leading role is thus clearly given to women. As to the men in the spot, they represent ethnical or sexual minorities, which are also political targets in Clinton’s campaigning.

  • Female staff

The new staff of Clinton is dominated by women:

  • Huma Abedin: the most trusted and loyal aid of Hillary Clinton and her “body woman” for long years. Her Indian and Pakistanis origins were of precious help to her chief in understanding the Middle East and Asia, nevertheless she was aim of Republicans’ attacks, accusing her family of being close to Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Amanda Rentiera: political director of Clinton’s campaign. She was the first Latina chief of staff on Capitol Hill who worked for Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
  • Jennifer Palmieri: communication director in the Clinton’s staff and former communication director of the White House.
  • Mandy Grunwald: media top advisor and advisor to the Clintons for over two decades.
  • Christina Schake: top advisor in charge of shaping Hillary’s more accessible image and former aid to Michelle Obama.
  • Ann O’Leary: policy advisor and longtime legislative advisor in the Clinton’s Senate office.
  • Maya Harris: policy advisor and former senior fellow in the Center for American Progress, author of a paper about the political behavior of women of color.
  • Feminist discourse

“Wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate”

That’s how Hillary Clinton describes herself on twitter. In the current campaign Clinton strongly underlines her roles of mother and grandmother. Nevertheless, she does not make reference solely to her gender. Hillary Clinton also wants to be seen as a feminist.

“We know that when women are strong, families are strong. (…) When families are strong, countries are strong. So this is about more than just unleashing the full potential of women.”

said Clinton at The Sixth Annual Women in the World Summit. She also criticized the World Economic Forum for not being exactly a “hotbed of feminist thought” and the Republicans for delaying the nomination of Loretta Lynch, as the first black female Attorney General of the United States. It can be presumed that Hillary Clinton wants to mobilize the female electorate, the same who elected Obama in 2012. Three years ago, Obama did not have a particularly feminist discourse, but women felt that he understood them way more than his Republican opponent. Their massive participation in the election (women represented 55% of all voters in 2012) was a key success for Obama. Clinton intends today to repeat this success and show to American women that they can vote for her. Despite those efforts to convince women many people, and among them numerous feminists, doubt in the political reborn of Clinton. Their question seems to be: can Hillary Clinton, as the first female President of the United States, offer a real change for women? To be continued.

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