Hillary Clinton and the Ghost of Russia

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Recall for a moment the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. One of the effects of the Soviet Union losing the Cold War was that it killed a longstanding enemy of the United States. I suspect the defeat of Hillary Clinton will act the same way for the Republican Party.

The Soviet Union’s death removed a unifying element that was a strong reason the US had a broad consensus internally on foreign policy. A similar consensus tied together the US and numerous nations overseas, particularly in Europe.

Take the unifying enemy away in the early 1990s and you’re left with a drifting, rather incoherent American approach to foreign policy and national security. 9-11 and its associated events partly filled the gap but its lifespan has proven quite limited.

I suggest the same dynamic could unfold for the Republican Party after the effective death of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for elected national office. For years she has served—rightly, wrongly, or a combination of both—as a unifying symbol of opposition across all segments of the voting and non-voting Republican Party. Even more than her husband, Hillary Clinton has come to embody cronyism, corruption, an arrogance of power (to use a famous Democrat’s phrase), and a reliance on Progressive statism in policy and political philosophy—at least in the eyes of Republicans.

Without her, there is a void of unifying animosity. Without her, the sources of organizational cohesion must be found in another direction. Without her, a new expenditure of energy will be required to forge common attitudes and shared perspectives. That is energy that might have been put to other use had Hillary Clinton endured as a political figure.

Hillary Clinton may prove to be to the Republican Party what the Soviet Union was to the United States: a vitally important target for rallying troops and citizens alike.

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