Hillary Clinton’s “I’m With Her” slogan has already been turned against her by Donald Trump, who delivered one of his most potent lines last week: “I’m with you, the American people.”
But it may be another one of Hillary’s slogans that causes her the most trouble going forward. It’s one she happens to have shared with Great Britain’s “Remain” campaign: Stronger Together. A week ago, oddsmakers were siding with that campaign with 5 to 1 odds over leaving the EU. But on Thursday, the world was shocked to discover that Britain’s anger at globalization and unrestrained immigration was much more significant than anyone realized.
Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist, told the NY Times: “If the Trump victory in the primary wasn’t enough of one, the Brexit vote serves as a major wake-up call indicating just how frustrated average voters are with those in power.”
Hillary’s message shares more in common with Britain’s “Remain” campaign than a bumper sticker slogan. As difficult as it may be to draw a one-to-one comparison between American and British politics, Clinton does represent the same sort of pro-immigration, pro-globalization, pro-establishment ideology that was rejected with such stunning force last Thursday. And she is up against an American electorate that has the same deep concerns about fleeing jobs, rapid cultural shifts, and international trade deals that only benefit the wealthy.
But her campaign says there’s nothing to worry about.
“These are two different countries, with very different circumstances and demographics, facing different choices,” says Clinton communication director Jennifer Palmieri. “We believe American voters are looking for concrete solutions to address their economic frustrations and unlikely to find the turmoil, economic uncertainty, and roiling of markets caused by the Brexit vote particularly appealing.”
Well, it’s only been a few days. It will take months – if not years – to really be able to tell if the “Leave” voters made the right choice. Big changes are messy. If you could hold a national referendum and instantly fix a country’s problems, the worldwide political landscape would look a lot different. The turmoil we’re seeing in Britain right now comes less from the vote itself and more from the fact that no one expected it to turn out this way.
But Clinton will want to focus on that turmoil as much as possible. If she can keep the American people afraid of change, she will win the election.
But if Americans come to terms with the fact that change comes with risk – that revolution isn’t always pretty – then we can harness that political bravery than resides in our national genes and make 2016 a true turning point in this great country’s history.