Author: Tanvi Varma
Seven years ago, Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama for the Democratic Party nomination. She lost, and Obama went on to win the presidency. However, in that large span of time, many of Clinton’s viewpoints on key Democratic issues have changed, causing a significant amount of scrutiny on the accuracy of her viewpoints.
In 2008, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton supported same-sex marriage. For years, Clinton had been much slower, in comparison to her fellow Democrats, in viewing same-sex marriage as a “constitutional right.” In 2007, Clinton argued for civil unions, but asserted, “that the right to marriage was something that should be left to the states.” In 2014, her view remained the same. Yet it appears that Clinton’s view has changed, as a reflection of the trend in popular opinion. In 2008, according to a Gallup Survey, 40 percent of Americans supported the recognition of same-sex marriage, while 56 percent believed it should not be recognized. In mid-2014, the results changed to 55 percent supporting same-sex marriage while 42 percent were not in favor of it.
Currently, the legalization of marijuana is under continuous debate. In 2013, according to a Gallup poll, 73 percent of Americans believed that marijuana should be legalized before the 2014 midterm elections. In 2008, Clinton supported medical research, delving into the advantages and potential benefits of marijuana.
“We ought to find what are the elements that claim to be existing in marijuana that might help people who are suffering … I don’t think we should decriminalize it,” Clinton said.
In later years, Clinton labeled marijuana a “gateway drug” where “there can’t be a total absence of law enforcement.” Clinton is hesitant about taking an official stance either for or against the legalization. CNN foreshadowed this as a potential problem for Clinton as marijuana legalization provided an avenue for some of the only wins for the Democratic Party during the 2014 midterm elections.
In 1994, when Bill Clinton was president, Hillary Clinton supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, in her race for Senate in 2000, and her subsequent run for presidency in 2008, Clinton began to alter her viewpoint. She said that, “NAFTA and the way its been implemented has hurt a lot of American workers. Clearly, we have to have a broad reform in how we approach trade.” As the Secretary of State during the Obama administration, Clinton supported the Passage of Trade Pact as a useful tool in connecting the United States to developing nations. However, it seems that now, Clinton has retracted her stances. Earlier this year, Clinton’s spokesman released a statement that did not take a stance on the issue of trade. Instead, it stated that Clinton preferred to wait and see whether the trade agreement passed a number of barriers that free trade deals were required to meet.
Driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants:
Previously, Hillary Clinton was against providing undocumented immigrants with driver’s licenses. However, now in 2015, with a majority of her party supporting undocumented immigrants’ ability to work and live in the United States, Clinton has once again altered her stance to support state policies that provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Wall Street reform:
Since Hillary Clinton initially ran for President, the Democratic Party has become more Populist, with liberal leaders wanting to amp up Wall Street reforms and tax top earners. Unsurprisingly, Clinton has altered her viewpoint in accordance with the Democratic viewpoint. She talks about expanding the middle class, and focusing on the needs of the ‘everyday American.’ However, many people doubt her commitment to tax the upper-class individuals because the top three financial institutions fund her: Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase.
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