Hillary Clinton

What Does Hillary Clinton Stand For? Getting Elected President, Apparently.

Campaign site is all about the biography, not the issues.


"I'll vote for you if you promise to stop smiling like that."
Hillary for America

A website for a presidential campaign should probably be fairly simple and easy to navigate. They don't want to scare away potential voters, donors or volunteers with a site that's too complex to figure out.

Hillary Clinton's campaign may have taken the idea a bit too far. On Hillary Clinton's campaign site, which launched Sunday along with her campaign, there's hardly anything there at all. More specifically, there's no "issues" section to help potential voters grasp where she stands on the topics of the day. It's really easy to find out how to volunteer or donate money. But want to find out what Clinton stands for, well, she stands for you electing her, it seems.

Clinton does have her bio on the site, noting her accomplishments in various roles, as briefly as can be managed. Here's what she has to say about her recent stint as secretary of state:

And when President Obama asked Hillary to serve as his secretary of state, she put aside their hard-fought campaign and answered the call to public service once again. After eight years of Bush foreign policy, Hillary was instrumental in starting to restore America's standing in the world. Even former Republican Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said she "ran the State Department in the most effective way that I've ever seen."

She built a coalition for tough new sanctions against Iran that brought them to the negotiating table and she brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that ended a war and protected Israel's security. She was a forceful champion for human rights, internet freedom, and rights and opportunities for women and girls, LGBT people and young people all around the globe.

What, no mention of Libya? Here's the fact-checker over at The Washington Post on whether this Iran coalition started developing during the Obama Administration or before (spoiler: before).  But that's nitpicky stuff. Obviously a biography for a presidential candidate is going to play up his or her role in every single event, Forrest Gump-style. The Facebook feed for Clinton's campaign has been fully seeded with all of her past accomplishments highlighted on her timeline.

But even so, her biography is just a bread and cheese course meant to be sampled before moving on to her goals as president. And they're just not there. Both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have "issues" sections on their campaign sites. Cruz's is tied to his record, which seems kind of like what Clinton is trying to do, but Cruz still has the site separated into issue categories, and makes it very, very easy to know where he stands. Even Barack Obama's campaign page for his second term had an "issues" section, and we all knew what he was about by then.

Is this a warning sign that Clinton's campaign is going to be all about identities rather than issues? Though Obama's presidency may feel tainted with identity politics, it's important to remember he did actually campaign on issues. Clinton says in her bio she's in favor of children and families, like those are actual positions. Where's the entrée, madam secretary?

Could Clinton's lack of primary opposition be a reason why there's no pressure on her campaign to differentiate itself with actual positions at this point in the fight? Peter Suderman suggested in January that the lack of testing and challenges for Clinton could be a problem for the campaign after the primaries. Read more about that here.