Clinton’s politics are a threat to the ideology of the modern Republican party, but so is her presence on the public stage
The fight over Hillary Clinton’s continued presence in public life is about more than her “likeability” or the fissures in the Democratic party. Clinton attracts such vitriol because she stands at the place where two conflicting political ideologies clash.
Republicans today control all branches of the federal government and are poised to put their ideology of radical individualism into reality. But at this very moment of their apparent triumph, Americans are rejecting the Republican vision and demanding instead an active government that promotes the general welfare. It is a major political realignment, and women are key to it.
The extremism of the Trump administration has galvanized women to push back against the political system that has disadvantaged them for a generation. Clinton is the symbol of this political nexus. Hated, dismissed, and denigrated for a quarter of a century, she nevertheless remains smart, able, popular … and, crucially, will not be silenced.
Clinton’s politics are a threat to the ideology of the modern Republican party, but so is her presence on the public stage. Clinton maintains that the government must expand its protections for children and families, and make it possible for men and women of all backgrounds to prosper.
She sees the nation as an interdependent community – a village, one might say – overseen by a government that advances the interests of all. In essence, Clinton is calling for the expansion of the New Deal state. It is an inclusive vision; it assumes that government policies should treat all Americans equally. Since the 1930s, a majority of Americans has agreed.
But the modern Republican party does not. It wants to destroy the New Deal state. Republican leaders loathe government regulation and the taxes required to fund the social welfare programs and infrastructure that people like Clinton support.
Since the 1950s, extremist Republicans have warned that such government activism amounts to socialism. In its stead, they promise to slash government and restore rugged American individualism.
But their vision of individualism is not Clinton’s inclusive one, and this is why her public presence makes her particularly irritating. Their vision privileges white heterosexual…