For better or worse, Hillary Clinton’s fate is closely tied to President Barack Obama. Like any relationship, this has its good points and it also has some bad points.
President Obama enjoying strong approval ratings
On the plus side, the President is enjoying some of the strongest approval ratings of his second term as President. A CNN/ORC poll taken after the Democratic Convention showed President Obama with an approval rating of 54 percent. However, as Al Gore learned in 2000, a predecessor's approval rating does not necessarily translate into victory. President Bill Clinton had an approval rating of 57 percent during his last six months in office, but that was not enough for Gore to win.
I am not a natural politician, in case you haven’t noticed, like my husband or President Obama.
— Hillary Clinton
Clinton not a natural politician
Mrs. Clinton was talking about the lack of excitement that her candidacy created during the primary campaign with Sen. Bernie Sanders, and that she has not come close to generating the excitement that Barack Obama did in his successful campaign against her in 2008.
Barack Obama has proved that he is an effective campaigner and if he can help Clinton generate the level of enthusiasm that was present in 2008 and 2012, Hillary’s chances will look much better.
The negative aspect of being so closely identified with the President is that Mrs. Clinton has limited room to announce new proposals or positions that conflict with the Administration. This runs the risk of the public seeing Hillary as a third term of Obama, but without the excitement that he generated during his campaigns.
Public dissatisfied with the direction of the country
A significant portion of the public is unhappy with the direction of the country. A Gallup poll taken in early August revealed that 72 percent of Americans are not satisfied with the way things are going. That leads to a natural desire for change, which could prove harmful to Clinton if she is perceived as being the equivalent of the third Obama term.
History also shows that the voters have been reluctant to elect a president from the same party when the incumbent has served two terms. Since World War II, when the same party occupied the White House for two terms in a row, that party’s candidate has lost six out of seven elections.
There is nothing Hillary Clinton can do about history or the general dissatisfaction that the country feels. However, if her campaign embraces new ideas and new directions she may be able to create her own history by becoming the first woman elected president.