Like the fictional character Jason in the horror movies, she keeps springing back to life. After months in relative obscurity, Hillary Clinton emerged this week to take on the policies of President Donald Trump, by forming Onward Together (OT), described as a political organization designed to advance “progressive causes” by helping “grass-roots” opposition to Trump.
The Onward Together website lists Clinton’s four goals as “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.” The group has registered as a 501 (c) (4) organization, a designation of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for “social welfare” nonprofits. This means the donors to OT will be able give anonymously, thus inspiring their nickname of “dark money.” Many political campaigns are assisted by such groups, but the public has no way of knowing who are the individuals or groups backing those candidates. Interestingly, Clinton has in the past been a persistent critic of the influence of big money in politics.
“More than ever, I believe citizen engagement is vital to our democracy [sic]. I’m so inspired by everyone stepping up to organize and lead,” Clinton said in a statement issued by OT.
“There’s no telling what we can achieve if we approach the fights ahead with the passion and determination we feel today, and bring that energy into 2017, 2018, 2020 and beyond,” she added. Clinton said her new group would be “dedicated to advancing the progressive vision that earned nearly 66 million votes in the last election.”
It is clear that this is no “Democratic Leadership Council,” the group once led by her husband Bill when he was governor of Arkansas. The DLC was formed because the Democratic Party had lost three consecutive presidential elections, by substantial margins, and there were fears that the voters considered the Democratic Party just too far to the Left to be entrusted with the White House. Rather, OT is doubling-down on its left-wing image, with Hillary Clinton announcing that former Vermont Governor Howard Dean would play an important role in the new group. Dean had a well-deserved reputation as a far-left politician when he made his own abortive run for president in 2004. His campaign imploded after the famous “Scream Speech,” in which Dean recited all the states he was going to take his campaign to that year, followed by what was characterized as a scream. Dean later served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Clinton described OT as a group that will encourage like-minded progressives to “get involved, organize, and even run for office.”
It is not clear exactly what OT will do to accomplish its goals, but Clinton did indicate that her new group would help fund other progressive organizations, such as Swing Left and the Indivisible Project.
Swing Left is involved in electing Democrats to the House of Representatives. On their website, they note that there are 65 “swing” districts. They define these districts as ones in which the last election was won by 15 percent of the vote, or less; where Clinton defeated Trump; or where there exists a “high concentration” of Swing Left volunteers. “We need to win 65 percent of all swing districts to take back the House,” they explain.
To do this, Swing Left (SL) argues, would require the flipping of 24 House seats from Republican to Democrat. Apparently, SL sees little chance of taking back the Senate, noting that the 2018 Senate map heavily favors Republicans, “making the House a more viable place to focus our efforts.”
“It’s time to channel our anger and despair in a positive direction,” SL said, in explaining its pragmatic approach of focusing on certain House seats. “We’re starting early to unify progressives who promote tolerance, equality, unity and fairness.” It is noteworthy that nothing is said about promoting liberty, limited government, or free enterprise.
Another group that Clinton promises to assist with her Onward Together organization is The Indivisible Project (IP). While SL is honest about wanting to elect Democrats over Republicans, IP says their effort “isn’t about partisan politics. This is about defending our most basic democratic traditions and values.” On their website, they argue that we face a “constitutional crisis” between either “truth or Trump.”
Another difference is that IP is focused on influencing the present Congress by using four tactics: having their members attend town halls, take part in local public events, visit district offices, and coordinate phone calls to members of Congress. They claim to have 5,983 IP groups spread across the country, with at least two groups in every congressional district.
“People like you are standing indivisible all over the country,” they state on their website. They encourage supporters to “join the Indivisible Movement to resist Trump’s agenda.”
Interestingly, the group was grateful for Clinton’s announcement of support, which they said would amplify their “reach,” but was not expecting any money from Onward Together.
Meanwhile, Michael Ahrens of the Republican National Committee used the opportunity of Clinton’s re-entry into national politics to attempt to fire up his own base of Republican grassroots voters. “The American people rejected Hillary Clinton six months ago because she’s completely out-of-touch, untrustworthy, and embraced the failed policies of the past. If Democrats were smart, they’d realize it’s time to move onward from Hillary Clinton altogether.”
In fact, Clinton’s reemergence is likely to fire up the Republican base. Although many Republicans were less than ecstatic about Donald Trump’s candidacy last fall, nothing seems to fire up conservative activists and donors like Hillary Clinton, and there is little doubt that many voted against Clinton as much as they voted for Trump. The more attention that the 69-year-old Hillary Clinton receives, the more it would tend to unite Republican activists and donors.
It would resurrect, for example, stories about Mrs. Clinton disrespectfully using four-letter words in response to morning greetings from the Secret Service, as detailed in Gary Byrnes’ book, Crisis of Character, or some of the many “scandals” associated with her and her husband, from Travelgate to E-mailgate.
Still, one should not underestimate the ability of the Clintons. After all, she did receive 66 million votes.
Image of Onward Together: Onward Together promotional wbesite