It’s November 2020, and Hillary Clinton is running for reelection. In the four years since Clinton’s victory the American economy has been bolstered by an increasingly educated workforce and expanding middle class. At the same time, heightened global activism has again established the United States as a key player in the Middle East.
Crucial to the improved economic performance has been a highly-educated workforce. Once too expensive for many, public college tuition for in-state students has been eliminated for families who make less than $125,000 a year. The percent of the workforce with a college degree has grown tremendously, fulfilling the increased demand for high-skilled jobs and boosting incomes for the middle class. Furthermore, the Clinton’s $250 billion investment plan has improved the condition of deteriorating roads, bridges, and airports. Funding for these costly plans is provided in the form of significant tax hikes for the wealthiest citizens. However, limited Congressional support has resulted in only the partial introduction of President Clinton’s tax program.
With regards to trade, Clinton was able to hammer out more favorable terms in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and eventually negotiated the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership after strong resistance in Congress. In 2017, an initiative on technology and innovation triggered the first increase in productivity since the turn of the millennium by supporting young entrepreneurs and providing incentives for companies to invest in research and development.
While the economy has finally begun to grow, Clinton’s first term is perhaps best characterized by America’s new role in the Middle East. Immediately after inauguration, Clinton reaffirmed America’s various alliances that have ensured security and stability for the better part of a century. She also established committees to investigate Russian and Syrian forces for war crimes and effectively ended Iran’s nuclear program for good after its plants violated the terms of the 2015 deal. After a series of failed offensives to take Mosul by the Islamic State, the she launched Phase II of Operation Inherent Resolve, intensifying the air campaign and providing training and weapons to anti-ISIS groups on the ground. The Islamic State’s territory has now dwindled to its lowest point since the group’s inception.
Great gains have been made in the past four years: higher wages and productivity gains for the first time in fifteen years, better infrastructure, equal pay for equal work, and a weakened ISIS. Yet, there are greater challenges ahead—none as polarizing as the immigration debate that has induced political gridlock for most of Clinton’s term, the repeated failures to introduce stricter gun control measures, or even the vaunted overturn of the Affordable Care Act. Hillary Clinton is unfazed. For the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, these new challenges are new opportunities to build on her work in the past four years and uphold the cherished American values of democracy, cooperation, and prosperity in a rapidly changing world.