Hillary Clinton seems to have escaped the ferocious grueling at the Benghazi congressional hearing. The 13-minute withdrawal from the presidential race notwithstanding, she is all set to clinch the Democratic nomination. Hillary might as well become the next U.S. president. There's a catch though. Legacy politics doesn't favor her. She's not Justin Trudeau and her election will not be a good omen for the U.S. -- and the world.
First things first, Hillary hasn't been out of power for the last 23 years. She was still basking in the glory of being the first lady when she got elected as a (non-resident) senator from New York in 2000. Then came her first presidential campaign and the subsequent assuming of the office of the secretary of state. The Benghazi attacks and the foot dragging over what later became the biggest global security challenge (Syria) are two of her many legacies. Then there is the famous email scandal.
The problem with Hillary's election as the president is simple. She hasn't left the position of authority in the first place. Ironically, her rise to fame (and power) is also attributed to her status as the first lady of the U.S. Otherwise; many other Democratic female leaders are far more capable, and, more importantly, self-made stalwarts. Hillary's supporters cite her gender and the lack of a U.S. women president as her key strengths. The argument, however, seems vapid and vacuous when one looks at other and more promising women among the Democrats.
Senator Diane Feinstein, for example, is a trailblazer. After her stint as the San Francisco mayor, Feinstein rose to national prominence. Her role as the chairwoman of the Select Committee on Intelligence is also commendable, albeit a bit controversial. Feinstein's octogenarian and has no interest in running. She, however, is not the only better alternative to Hillary. Barbara Boxer is another one. She is just five years older than Clinton but then again this election is largely about septuagenarians anyway. Boxer has been in the game for long and has achieved that position based on her own hard work.
Then there is Elizabeth Warren. At one time, she appeared to be the strongest contender to Clinton and with a much cleaner resume. Warren has supported Clinton in her bid for presidency. She doesn't seem interested in the post. No one knows if she will remain adamant on staying out of the game. If she changes her mind, Warren can give Clinton a run for her money.
The Republicans aren't exploring the female president option. Nevertheless, Marco Rubio appears to be a far better choice than Jeb Bush. His story is that of numerous other first-generation Americans who achieved success by dint of their hard work. The election of Hillary or Jeb will only strengthen the status-quo. It will reflect the monarchical tendencies of the U.S. electorate. It will also point towards the apparent lack of talent and capabilities on part of other candidates to unseat the "inheritors."
Why I should be worried about that? Well, I come from South Asia--a region that has been plagued by nepotism, corruption and seemingly endless reign of democratic monarchs. Add incompetence to that designation. While South Asian political parties are largely the personal fiefdoms of a certain family, Americans also seem to be heading towards that direction. U.S. political parties are not the personal estates per se but have cultivated and encouraged nepotism. Lately, the Republicans appear to be becoming more of a Bush clan and the Democrats, a Clinton one.
The election of Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush will only reinforce the family politics model. A model that discourages participation from other - and more capable - people in favor of continuing with the (often abysmal) legacies. Hillary might be a talented woman but she could never have won the Senate seat had it not been the support of her still-in-power President husband. The Bush family has little accomplishments to its credit with every generation of powermongers performing more poorly than their predecessors. George W. Bush Jr. is a case in point.
If Hillary is so intent on carrying forward the Clinton legacy, she better bow out and prepare Chelsea for the post. Junior Clinton will be better equipped -- like Justin -- to bring real change. She'll have a decade or two to polish her skills and connect with the people. Hillary is part of the old guard with no real agenda for development and seems clueless (like Obama) on managing the super power status of U.S. Simply put, not the right presidential material.