With the 2012 elections behind us pundits are already speculating about who will be running for president of the United States in 2016. One name that has repeatedly come up is that of Hillary Clinton. One Hillary Clinton 2016 Facebook page already has 593 “likes” and 72 people “talking about it”.
With her strong showing in the 2008 election and her subsequent successful term as Secretary of State she is in a strong position to run again. Additionally, her support from her husband President Bill Clinton is an extremely powerful tool. He is still beloved by the media and has a large base of supporters from both major political parties. One potential problem that has been brought up for Hillary if she chooses to run is her age. If she chooses to run in 2016 she will be 69 when she becomes president, which was the same age as Ronald Reagan. The average age of US presidents when assuming office is around 54 and Reagan currently holds the title of oldest president when assuming office.
One issue that is failing to show up in recent political conversations surrounding whether Clinton should run in 2016 or not, is whether she would be able to win as a female candidate. Although she entered the race in 2008 as an early frontrunner and was thus, favored to win the Democratic nomination, she did face difficulties. One source of opposition, besides the Obama campaign, was the media. Throughout her candidacy for president Clinton did face unfair media coverage and was sometimes mercilessly policed for being either too masculine or too feminine. Chris Matthews was especially ignorant in his coverage of her and even went so far as to attribute all of her political success to her husband’s “messing around”
Unfortunately, the media was not the only outlet to provide subtle, and some less subtle, reminders to Hillary Clinton’s gender throughout the campaign: Obama also participated. In a Seattle blog titled, “Hillary Clinton and Women: a Post-Femininity Dilemma” the author discusses Obama’s use of pulling out Clinton’s chair for her during debates. While this may seem like a polite gesture it also functions to subtly remind viewers of her gender, and more specifically, allude to gender stereotypes that dictate that women are weaker than men, and must thus be helped by men.
If Clinton decides not to run for President in 2016 she will still have a slew of other political options. One person who envisions her in a different post than president is Mayor Bloomberg. In a New York Times article he mentioned that he thinks Clinton would make a wonderful new mayor of New York City when his term is done. Although, she has made it clear that she is not interested in the role it is important to note that she does have options if she decides to stay in the political realm. Whatever she decides to do after her role of Secretary of State will continue to build upon her already impressive career.