By Dani Blum

This past Sunday, Hillary Clinton officially declared her candidacy for president. The two

minute and fifteen second video took the Internet by storm – close-ups on “ordinary American

families” transitioning to different stages of their lives, shots of a beaming Hillary stating, “I’m

running for president”. While few can say they’re surprised by Hilary’s decision to run (especially

given that the super PAC Ready for Hillary has been operating in full swing for years), the video

took a prominently populist tone that caught some of the savviest politicos off-balance. “Every

day Americans need a champion,” Hillary remarked. “And I want to be that champion. So I’m

hitting the road to earn your vote – because it’s your time.”

 

It’s that urge to earn that is so crucial to the future of the Clinton campaign. Hillary’s

tremendous advantage lies in the build-up that’s been mounting up to this point; the momentum

generated by Ready for Hillary, and by the feminist push for a female president in the White

House, has granted Hillary a strong foundation. But if Hillary truly wants to win, she cannot just

rest on an established base. After losing the Democratic nomination in 2008, Hillary has a

functional burden of proof for the American people : that is, she must prove why she is fit now,

instead of eight years ago, to serve as president of the United States. And in a political climate

where we could very well have a Clinton-Bush election, Hillary must transcend the political

aristocracy and reach out to everyday Americans in a sincere, genuine manner. Even for a

former Secretary of State, that’s a tall order.

 

To crystallize her stance on important issues and truly distinguish herself as a winning

candidate, Hillary has to face a strong challenger. She must push forward for her positions and

present herself as a candidate worthy of the support she has already garnered. The

conservative movement has already attempted to lash out against her announcement. Ted Cruz

took to Twitter to snarl, “Is the world a safer place because Hillary Clinton was Secretary of

State? No.” Jeb Bush tweeted, “We must do better than Hillary.” Even Rick Santorum threw his

two cents in by asserting on Twitter, “I know Hillary Clinton. I served with Hillary Clinton. She

does not have the right vision to lead America.” It’s not clear whether conservatives who have

already announced they’re running – Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio have all stated

that they will – can pose a formidable opposition to Hillary, and possibly the strongest liberal

challenge to Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, has adamantly said she will not seek the office in 2016.

However, the proper challenger to Hillary might very well come out of the woodwork in the next

few weeks. Whether we’re Ready for Hillary or not, we should all welcome the chance for her to

prove herself – both on the campaign field, and, potentially, in the Oval Office.

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