Guess who’s back… Hillary Clinton is back!

Activists & Leaders

If I had been 18 in 2008, I would’ve voted for Hillary Clinton. I voted for her in the 2016 primary and the general election. So, if you’re starting this piece thinking that there’s something you can tell me about HRC that would change my mind, there isn’t. If you want to proselytize about your Lord and Savior Bernie Sanders, please do it elsewhere. I’m not interested in relitigating the 2016 election. Counterfactuals about how Bernie would’ve won in the general are comforting for some (and a tempting escape from this chaos strewn reality), but they aren’t doing anything in terms of actually resisting Trump.

Since her defeat in November, Hillary has been on the down-low. (Mostly in the woods.) I get it, she needed a break (and probably some therapy). Every day she has to wake and see the man-child that this country elected instead of her. However, this past week Hill announced that she’s back in the political arena with her own organization, Onward Together. The website is pretty sparse right now, just an email sign-up and a donation box, but, regardless, she’s back. A series of tweets from the Queen herself describe the function of the organization as to help people ‘get involved, organize, even run for office.’ There also seems to be a large fundraising component to the organization, as reported by Salon. The New York Times describes it as a 501(c)(4), which is a ‘social welfare nonprofit’, which have been linked to the “rise in dark money due to its ability to provide donor anonymity.”

Old habits obviously die hard. One of Hill’s biggest liabilities during the campaign was her connection to big money. And money issues in general in the form of the Clinton Foundation. As the Queen Midas of politics, everything she touches will eventually turn to a scandal. So, why set herself up like this? She’s going to head an organized reportedly full of her old campaign staff and other big Democratic party donors and that is going to help the resistance? I fear this is another path that will lead us back to the destructive place of arguing about the 2016 election for years to come. (Just a note: Her other campaign liability was cybersecurity and her website’s privacy policy could use some work. And could use to log less user information.)

All in all, is that what we need Hill to do right now? I’m not sure. Right now she feels like more salient face of Democratic defeat, so we certainly needed her out of the woods and in the spotlight. We needed to see that she may have been knocked down, but she wasn’t broken. But I’m wondering if money is the thing that we need right now. Candidates like Ossoff have been raising record numbers of campaign contributions and organizations like the ACLU are also breaking fundraising records. The deficit in our party right now is not a lack of willingness to give money. It is a directionless energy. A frustration and a fear. I wonder if she would be better giving speeches and trainings. (Taking a few of her old campaign colleagues along.) Hill’s inspiration has never been about money or status, those have always been her downfall. Her inspiration lies in her tireless determination to fight and adapt. She wanted to be more than First Lady, so she became a Senator. She lost the 2008 presidential bid, so she became Secretary of State. This is not new territory for her or for us. We know she’s human, we know she’s seen defeat. Instead of hiding that behind money and a shallow attempt at unity, I think she needs to remind us. She can be the shining reminder that we are facing many more rounds of defeat in the coming resistance movement. A reminder that we don’t fall apart or give up, rather we put on our pantsuit and get back in the game.

Dylan Kristine is a runner, frequent-flyer, and amateur historian transplanted from New England. Currently she lives outside of Philadelphia and works with non-profit agencies. She has Bachelor’s degrees in Creative Writing and Economics and a Master’s degree in Holocaust/Genocide studies. When she is living her best life, her t-shirts are snarky, her coffee is endless, and she is talking about her favorite president, John Adams.
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