Republican lawmakers will be keen to frustrate her every effort
By Opiyo Oloya
What you are reading now was written early Tuesday morning, well before the winner was announced for the hotly contested US Presidential Election. Newspaper deadlines require today’s submission for tomorrow’s paper.
Here then is what you know now, but which I did not know yesterday—Hillary Clinton is the new president-elect for the US. I am confident about this because any reasonable person could only reach this one conclusion—America is more complex than the simple black-and-white vision that Donald Trump offered to voters. I will not waste precious space talking about what that complexity is, or even why Trump’s candidacy was DOA (dead on arrival).
Rather, here is what I see as the lay of land in the next four years under Mrs. President Hillary Rodham Clinton. As the first female president leading the most powerful nation on earth, Clinton will work extremely hard to be one of the best leaders in the history of America.
She will aggressively tackle domestic agenda, first. As was the case under outgoing President Barack Obama, foremost, her constituency is America, not the rest of the world.
The priority will be to create jobs for disaffected and unemployed Americans, especially among non-college educated men who are hurting in the industrial belts like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.
Understandably, many of Trump’s fiercest supporters from the region supported the billionaire because he promised to stem the flow of immigrants and bring back jobs from China. Neither Clinton nor Trump could ever retrieve jobs lost to China, Mexico and other foreign place. But Clinton will work to fulfill her promise to retrain previously skilled workers and retool the American workplace so that the workers can look for new opportunities.
Of course, Clinton will not be immune to the distraction and obfuscation that Barack Obama faced in Washington. She may never experience the same level of venomous attack that Obama endured for eight long years, but she will have her hands full dealing with those who truly hate her guts and wish her ill.
Republican lawmakers will be keen to frustrate her every effort, ensuring that she is an abysmal failure. That said, she will fight every inch of the way to get through Congress those programs she feels strongly about. Affordable healthcare is one of them, working to ensure that many more Americans can afford to pay for medical care when they are sick.
She will also work to bring support to young people seeking college education where the cost of learning has escalated to the point where only those with money can acquire college education.
One of the biggest changes under Clinton will be equal pay for women in the US workplace. For too long, women who do the same job as their male counterparts have lagged in pay. Clinton will work to bring iron-cladded legislations that will make it not only imperative but illegal for employers to knowingly discriminate based on gender.
On foreign policy, Clinton will mostly continue Obama’s weak and uncoordinated efforts. There are way too many issues that America has simply ceded to other world powers. The Middle East will only matter to Clinton when it comes to the security of Israel.
The two-state solution that could allow Palestinians to finally raise the flag of statehood will continue to remain in the backburner. It was not a priority for the previous two US presidents and it will not be for Clinton either.
Meanwhile, she pay some attention to the ongoing fight to wrest away large chunks of territory inside Iraq and Syria from ISIS will continue, but with as minimal US involvement as possible. Somehow, along the line, the US will compromise with Russia over what to do with the Assad regime in Syria.
The best educated guess is that Assad will be allowed to get out of power, not as a defeated leader but with his head held high as a leader who brought about change in Syria.
The real unknown is whether Africa will receive some attention from President Clinton. The problem for the incoming president is, however, two fold. First, over the past five decades, US policy-makers have viewed Africa through old paternalistic lenses.
The approach sees the continent as a perpetual sink-hole into which precious US resources disappear with the expectations of no returns. Wars such as those in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and elsewhere are managed as one manages cancer, not to cure it, but to ensure that it does not get any worse.
Secondly, with attitude like that, Clinton will likely remain impervious to the burgeoning opportunities in emerging Africa’s economies. Where China, for example, sees all sorts of possibilities for investment, American leaders remain timid.
Sadly, that same attitude will force Clinton to see Africa not for the many opportunities it offers for economic partnership with the US economy, but for the pitfalls that prevent good returns on investment.
That said, Clinton has the best chance to finally break the dependence model that has kept Africa chained to US largesse for the past fifty years. She understands intimately Africa’s strength. During her tenure as Secretary of State and, also, from her charitable work with the Clinton Foundation, she has seen Africa up close.
She knows where America can work directly with African leaders to create new platforms for promoting trade between the Americas and continent. She knows better than most—at least intellectually—what it will take to create a new Africa that is confident in charting its own future within the continent and on the larger world stage.
She can be the bold catalyst that Obama was not because, as an African American, he was fearful of being seen as putting too much effort on Africa. In other words, as a white woman, she can push her African agenda without the baggage that throttled Obama for eight long years.
But like many American leaders before her, she will be looking to cement her place in history not only as the first female president of the United States of America, but also as the first female to win a second term.
Her effort, needless to say, will be to reverse all the negative images she carried throughout the campaign and were exploited to great impact by Donald Trump. She will work to be down-to-earth which finally began to show toward the end of the campaign. She will be inclusive toward those skeptical white Republicans who hated her with a passion.
She will work to change everything that made it hard for many Americans to support her this time around, ensuring they support her in 2020, if she runs.