By Celestin Ngoa Balla, US Africa News. Updated 2015-04-16
A surprise to no one, Hillary Clinton is a candidate for the 2016 US presidential election. She made her candidacy official through a video posted on social media Sunday, April 12, in her stronghold of New York. And immediately following the announcement, Clinton the candidate began campaigning. Her first act on the road to the White House has been to talk in conference call mode with donors, supporters, and staff who will support her throughout this campaign, which is scheduled to last more than a year. During these calls, Hillary Clinton said the theme of her campaign will be basically focused on the economy and health of the American middle class.
Before settling formally in her headquarters in Brooklyn, Clinton will take the next few days to tour in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire for a first contact with the crowds. The choice of these states is not accidental. During the 2007 campaign she experienced crushing defeats there, especially when coming in third place in Iowa, which lost her the chance to win the Democratic primary. Observers believe that this "back into enemy territory" is a strategy that will earn her a lot of good points by courting the voters who dropped her the last time.
According to an informed source, the campaign will cost Clinton between a billion and a half and two billion US dollars. With this announcement, Clinton has opened the field for Democrats, where former governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley, the former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, and Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont are all expected to follow. In all the polls so far, Hillary Clinton leads each of these men by a wide margin.
Clinton’s 2016 presidential candidacy announcement has been expected for several weeks. Many supporters and associations have asked her openly for years to get in the running to succeed Barack Obama. Her use of a digital channel to announce that she will take part in the race may have surprised some of her supporters who were expecting to see her at the side of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and other members of her family to make her announcement in public, recalling the glory days. But according to some reliable sources, Hillary told relatives in private that she wanted to avoid the atmosphere of coronation which surrounded her in 2008, before losing the primary race to Obama. Almost seven years after her last appearance as a presidential candidate, she prefers social media to interact with the electorate.
The Republican camp did not wait for the announcement to begin attacks against Clinton. Three days ago the Republican National Committee launched a campaign called "Stop Hillary" with a video showing her announcing her candidacy as a voiceover asked about her ethics. This is referring to the private messages erased by Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. According to the New York Post last Friday, this affair has reduced Clinton in the polls to the point where she is now is neck and neck with the current favorite, Republican Senator Rand Paul, who has already announced his candidacy after that of Ted Cruz. A recent Quinnipiac University poll does show Clinton and Paul battling in three swing states. However, an ABC News/Washington Post poll of registered voters nationwide shows her between 11 and 17 points ahead of all other Republican rivals. The Republican field is expected to widen with other candidates, most notably former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Like Clinton, all these people will fight for the favors of a middle class that is very dissatisfied with the economic sluggishness of the country eight years after the financial collapse and start of the Great Recession.
Of all the candidates and announcements to come, Hillary Clinton stands out with a better understanding of African issues. She has already made countless trips to Africa. She is also reportedly the first high official of the US government to read a speech at the headquarters of the African Union. On June 10, 2011, she addressed the Zambian parliament to warn against "recolonisation of Africa" by China. We can expect that if she makes it to the White House, she will attack China head on in Africa. This will be bad news for the "Presidents-for-life" who have recently been clinging to power by using China as their lifeline.