How much can Obama’s popularity help Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton has been, from day one of the 2016 elections, the US establishment’s top choice for US President. Clinton has received the most corporate donations of any candidate in the race. The corporate media has played around the clock coverage of why Bernie Sanders should drop out of the elections. However, a recent Wall Street Journal report gave a less than optimistic view of the prospects of the heavily favored Clinton campaign. The New York Times opposed this pessimism in an earlier piece with the suggestion that her relationship to Barack Obama could help pave an easier path to the US Presidential seat.

The New York Times reported that Obama could serve as Clinton’s ‘Ace in the Hole.’ Obama’s approval rating has jumped to 50 percent in 2016, up nearly eight percentage points from 2014. The Obama Administration has also received little criticism from Bernie Sanders supporters despite the strong debate around issues of inequality that the Sanders campaign has helped spur. The Obama administration has received historic favor from Black voters and the Black elite. For eight years, the Obama Administration has called for compromise with the Republican Party and intensified the false image that the Republican Party has been the impediment to progress under a Democratic Party President. It is these bankrupt narratives that have allowed his administration to intensify Republican policies under a Democratic Party administration and compelled some to call Obama a “more effective evil”.

The New York Times, however, has been too busy schilling for Clinton to take into account the severe weaknesses of her campaign. Not only is Clinton under federal investigation, but she also has kept her lead over Sanders primarily through the vote of unaccountable Super Delegates. At the Convention, Sanders may push for a rule that forces Super Delegates to vote for the candidate that wins each respective state. This could force a referendum that, if successful, could hand many of Hillary Clinton’s delegates to Sanders. Sanders currently trails Clinton by only a slight margin in the critical state of California.

The question of just how much Obama can bring about a Clinton campaign victory despite these challenges in both the primary and general election cannot be fully answered by the particularities of this election cycle. Rather, a successful Clinton candidacy rests more on the ideological maturity of the masses. Washington is already owned by the ruling class, the .001 percent Sanders has targeted. The Obama Administration’s two terms set back popular recognition of this fact dramatically. Many of the issues discussed in the current elections such as healthcare, education, and unemployment were thoroughly suppressed by an Obama Administration that has failed tomention the word poverty throughout the duration of its rule.

These issues have dominated the 2016 election discourse in major part because of the wreckage being left behind by the Obama Administration. Clinton is banking that her relationship to Obama will protect her from the criticisms of her political record. However, criticism of her political record is intimately connected to her relationship to Obama. During her four years as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton collaborated with Obama on all of his major war crimes. This included theUS-NATO intervention in Libya that destroyed the socialist country and led to the attack on Benghazi in 2012 from which Clinton has received the most criticism thus far.

Additionally, there exists a sharp contradiction between the rise of Sanders campaign and the New York Times claim that Obama’s surge in approval is the result a stronger US economy. The Bernie Sanders campaign has garnered support from young American workers and local unions precisely because inequality has worsened every year of the Obama Administration’s reign. Not only did Obama continue to bail out the financial institutions responsible for the 2008 economic crisis, but he did nothing but exacerbate the trillion dollar student debt bubble with education policies that favored corporate for-profit colleges.

Evenif Obama’s misconceived legacy helps Clinton secure the nomination, these policies are bound to catch up with her. Clinton’s backing from the highest channels of Wall Street ensures that she will do the bidding of the rich and powerful. Her foreign policy record guarantees that she will not only continue Obama’s wars, but alsointensify them. Obama’s good graces can only be a temporarily beneficial measure for Hillary Clinton. It cannot erase how her entire campaign, let alone career, is a manifestation of a larger system meltdown.

The Wall Street Journal’s piece on the vulnerability of Clinton’s campaign shows that there are fractions of the ruling class that may not want to take the risk of a Clinton Presidency. This fraction understands that a Clinton administration could very well push Sanders supporters and all victims of Washington’s policies to the left. However, neither Bernie Sanders nor Donald Trump represents the full interests of the ruling class. The 2016 elections are truly a study in the crisis of legitimacy that the entire ruling system of capitalism is facing in this historical moment. The time is now for the left to prepare, through independent organization, for the storm to come.

This article was written by Danny Haiphong for American Herald Tribune on June 4, 2016. Danny Haiphong is a activist and radical journalist in the Boston Area.