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September 21, 2018

How Clinton beat Donald Trump

Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, US, October 9, 2016. /REUTERS
Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, US, October 9, 2016. /REUTERS

I have been following the US presidential campaign with a lot of interest. My candidate is Hillary Clinton. I support her for many reasons, but, most importantly, because she is a realist. Hillary is pragmatic. She knows her limits and will work within the realities of the world today. This is good because power is too important to be handed over to unpredictable people. It is also important that the hand at the helm of the most powerful nation in the world is a steady one.

She has the experience to run America. She was First Lady of the State of Arkansas between 1979-1981 when her husband, Bill Clinton, was governor. She has also been First Lady of America, between 1993-2001, when Clinton was President. Some might think being First Lady is nothing more than being a flower girl in the husband’s political sphere. However even in my own small experience as a Nyeri politician, I appreciate the distinct value wives add to a husband’s political career. In fact, just here in Kenya, no one would dare call the late Lucy Kibaki or the incumbent Margaret Kenyatta political flower girls. They are politicians in their own right.

But Hillary’s experience goes beyond offering political support to her husband. She served as the Senator from New York between 2001-09. Towards the 2008 presidential elections, she ran an extremely effective campaign to be the Democratic Party nominee. She lost to President Barack Obama. However, in line with the realism that is politics, she went on to accept to serve as America’s 67th Secretary of State in Obama’s government between 2009-13.
A lot of the things I have mentioned above are firsts for a woman and for a First Lady in America (and everywhere else in the world). She has literally smashed glass ceilings all over about what women can and cannot do in politics. What I admire most is that she has done it without appealing to the concept that women need special favours to succeed in politics. As a father of girls, I am rooting for her because this is in line with what I am teaching my daughters; that you can be all you want to be without asking for special consideration based on your gender. It might require you to work twice as hard, but do not ever allow anyone to convince you that being a woman makes you less than being a man.
But what what impresses me the most, especially as a political strategist who has been involved in presidential campaigns, is how I suspect she went about winning the presidential election — because she will.

Successful presidential candidates do not win elections because they are the best for the job: They win because they are better than the other candidates.
I personally suspect that very early into the Clinton campaign, a decision was made that of all the Republican Party presidential nominees Hillary might face at the final elections, Donald Trump was the only one she was guaranteed to beat. Once this decision was made, her campaign went out to quietly make sure Trump became the Republican Party nominee; even without him knowing this.

This would mean Hillary has been running two campaigns: Hers and Trump’s. They built ‘The Donald’ into an invincible candidate. Once he was firmly entrenched as the Republican nominee, they disassembled him — which is easy to do to someone such as Trump. Meanwhile, they were also running their own dignified campaign which sharply contrasts with the atrocity that is Trump.
 It could be a conspiracy theory but worse things have been done in the pursuit of power. It is also so Machiavellian one cannot help but be in total awe!

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