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Clinton presidency 'would bring continuity to White House'

Published 07/11/2016

Hillary Clinton would be the first woman president in American history (AP)
Hillary Clinton would be the first woman president in American history (AP)

The world can expect "continuity" if Hillary Clinton is elected as US president, experts have said.

If the Democratic candidate pips her Republican rival Donald Trump in the race for the White House, she will become the first female president - but despite this, she will bring a sense of familiarity to the job.

Three academics, professors Iwan Morgan, Scott Lucas and Mike Cullinane, have offered their speculative views on what could be expected if Mrs Clinton enters the Oval Office.

Professor Cullinane, an American who lectures on US History at Northumbria University, said of the Democratic nominee: "She is deeply unpopular and divides the country in much the same way that Trump does.

"However, her style of politics is one that is more of the same rather than anything that is going to up-end the consensus of how business is done in Washington."

This is a sentiment mirrored by US citizen Professor Lucas, who lectures in American Studies at Birmingham University, who said that with Mrs Clinton as president you "get much more continuity".

He added that this would be apparent "in her approach, in some of the advisers who have been in the Obama administration, and of course you get all the experience she brings ... having been secretary of state".

Setting out three main points which he thinks may punctuate her leadership, Professor Lucas said firstly, just as her husband Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did, she will "try to focus on lines of engagement - both diplomatic and economic".

He added: "I think, secondly, she will consider a much firmer line with Russia than has been taken by the Obama administration.

"And thirdly, I think she will be relatively cautious in terms of taking on new initiatives. Don't expect a huge new initiative on the Israel-Palestine question, for example."

Professor Morgan, who lectures US Studies at University College London, said Mrs Clinton would have a "greater commitment to the transatlantic alliance than Trump has shown".

He also said she would deal "very firmly with Putin's Russia" and would have a "much more diplomatic approach to power brokers in the Middle East".

Professor Morgan added: "I think one of the key initiatives of a Clinton presidency would be to boost the national economy and hopefully redistribute wealth as a consequence of better paid jobs, more public investment in roads, and bridge and flood control improvements."

While a Trump election victory would be "highly significant", Professor Morgan said that a Clinton presidency "would effectively continue the Obama presidency".

Professor Cullinane said the biggest tell-tale of which direction Mrs Clinton's presidency would take is if she re-nominates Merrick Garland, who was appointed by Obama, in the US supreme court.

He said: "If Clinton re-nominates Merrick Garland that is a sign she is going for a more centrist and cooperative approach to politics.

"But if she appoints someone that is liberal then you can imagine there will be intransigence with congress because she is effectively trying to move the court to the left.

"This has a knock-on effect for just about everything that she does. So if she appoints a centrist, maybe her and congress can get along - maybe Obamacare survives another four years.

"But if she appoints a liberal justice and tries to move the court to the left, that means in all likelihood that congress is going to be more obstructionist than in the Obama years."

He added: "How she would run for another term after four years of nothing happening would be really interesting."

Looking to the relationship between the US and UK, Professor Cullinane said it is unlikely that will change dramatically and said he thinks Prime Minister Theresa May and Mrs Clinton have "a lot in common".

He added: "They both talk about a background that is one from middle class hard-working families, and both rose to prominence over many decades of public service, and they have similar views on the role of the state."

Will the polls in the lead-up to November 8 showing a narrowing gap between the two candidates, Professor Morgan said the election campaign has been an "unpopularity contest".

Professor Lucas added: "She (Mrs Clinton) certainly does not help herself by being a bit detached in public speaking - she doesn't really connect with people the way that Bill did, and does.

"She has made a couple of stupid mistakes which raises the trust issue - the emails being among them.

"And do not underestimate the fact that, although we don't talk about the dynamic of the first woman president, that there are a lot of women out there who do not like Hillary."

He added: "A lot of the vote this year is based on emotional reaction.

"If it was based on a particular issue, usually you can map out the way people will react - not nearly as clearly this time around, because it is a motive of: who do you hate the most?"

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