Is Hillary Clinton Still A Goldwater Girl? How Her Conservative Roots Impact The 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton has a long history in politics, and First Lady was hardly her first political position. She campaigned for Barry Goldwater, a Republican candidate, in 1964. Later, she was part of the team that impeached Richard Nixon, according to the New York Times. When it comes to politics, Mrs. Clinton has been around the block quite a few times as a conservative and as a social liberal.

That Goldwater girl, armed with her young Republican idealism, was no doubt an asset to Goldwater in those days, though admittedly, she would have been obscure as an unknown foot-soldier to a massive campaign. Even so, young, beautiful, bright, blond, and very conservative, she would have made a good impression to be sure. Hillary had been raised in an upper-middle-class Republican household. Naturally her first political affiliation was Republican. At that time, she didn’t think about the fact that Goldwater was endorsed by the KKK.

Hillary Clinton by Mark Wilson r
Hillary Clinton [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

Bernie Sanders, at nearly the same point in history, was marching with the civil rights movement. He stood for equal rights, marching in just as much obscurity as Hillary campaigning for Goldwater. Bernie has been a voice for equality both economically and socially for his entire adult life, even in 1964, when those stands were very unusual and very unpopular. Clinton has had several different and seemingly conflicted opinions and affiliations at different times but has rarely held an unpopular or out of the mainstream stance.

Hillary Clinton, in a 1996 interview, recently republished by NPR, talks about her conservative roots.

“I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with. I don’t recognize this new brand of Republicanism that’s afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I’m very proud that I was a Goldwater Girl. And then my political beliefs changed over time. But I’ve always thought that the role of citizen, the role of advocate, were as important in our democracy as running for office. And so it’s not anything I’ve ever, you know, seriously considered.”

Hillary Clinton has changed her political views, but so have both political parties. In general, politics has taken a powerful leap to the right economically, while Democrats only differentiate themselves by social liberalism, as economically, they have become increasingly conservative. In general, the political compass for recent candidates of both parties looks like a race to the upper right-hand corner, as Democrat dots on the chart appear to chase and corner Republican dots into a very extreme position called fascism.

Political Compass by KimMcLendon c
Political Compass Most 21st century politicians fall in the upper right quadrant, and most republicans overlap the dot drawn to represent Trump. [Image by KimMcLendon]

Hillary Clinton and the leadership of both parties are missing the point, according to the massive populist protests, most notably Occupy, held over the past decade throughout the country. At a time when economic issues need attention, the only division between mainstream Republicans and Democrats have been social issues. The mainstream has neglected the suffering of Americans for at least a decade and a half through at least two administrations.

The disenfranchised public is terrified because of job shortages, long-term unemployment, a general loss of wealth, homelessness, unapproachable health care costs, and real hunger in America. No one was addressing these issues until Trump and Sanders appeared as outsiders to represent the needs of the people.

Is Donald Trump another Barry Goldwater? CNN ironically asked this question for reasons unrelated to Hillary Clinton. The parallel many Trump opponents want to draw with Goldwater is that he lost the general election after a phenomenal win in the primaries. Goldwater was also an outspoken man, occasionally accused of fear mongering.

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump is nothing like the 1964 Goldwater vs. Johnson race. The 1964 economy was strong. People felt secure and confident as individuals of their place in the world. They had job security and a strong community spirit. Voters were confident of their current president. They wanted an extension to the Kennedy administration that was unfairly cut short and gave his vice president another opportunity to serve as president. In 2016, none of those things taken for granted in 1964 are true for most voters.

Hillary Clinton has been considered a liberal for quite some time, and her social views would have certainly seemed outlandish to Barry Goldwater back in 1964. Social issues aside, Hillary has been stepping to the right for quite some time. She is harvesting donations from traditional republican donors, according to Politico.

With Hillary Clinton moving so far right into capitalism, while Trump is going populist, the Democrat and Republican labels seem meaningless.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]