Emails sent by liberal activists and obtained by The Hill reveal significant dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
The critical messages about the former first lady show that she has a long way to go to assuage skepticism from influential voices on the left.
The Hill reviewed hundreds of emails from a progressive members only Google group called the “Gamechanger Salon,” a forum where nearly 1,500 activists, strategists and journalists debate issues and craft messaging campaigns.
The group includes prominent Democrats, Sierra Club officials, journalists who work for The Huffington Post and The Nation magazine, senior union representatives, leaders at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the president of NARAL.
In the emails spanning over a year — starting in June 2013 through July of this year — frustration with Clinton is evident.
Clinton’s too much of a hawk, too cozy with Wall Street, hasn’t spoken out enough on climate change, and will be subject to personal questions and criticisms, members of the group stated in the emails.
The existence of the group was reported earlier this year by the conservative outlet MediaTrackers.org, but this is the first time the emails have become public.
“[A] Clinton presidency undos [sic] all our progress and returns the financial interests to even more prominence than they currently have,” Melissa Byrne, an activist with the Occupy Wall Street movement, said in a November 2013 email.
The progressives expressed an appetite for an alternative to Clinton to teach her — and those from the centrist wing of the party — a lesson.
Liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has repeatedly said she won’t run for president, but some on the left aren’t convinced.
“The establishment Dems need to be punished, and the best way for that to happen is for Warren to beat Hillary in the primary on a populist message,” Carl Gibson, a progressive activist and writer for Occupy.com, wrote in one email.
All of this anger and skepticism regarding a new Clinton presidency is not going to go away overnight, and given the hamfisted nature of the Clinton quasi-campaign thus far, there seems to be little chance that the putative next president of the United States will appease critics on the left in the near future. However impressive Hillary Clinton may seem in these early stages, there very definitely is an opening for someone in the Democratic party to challenge her for the party’s presidential nomination. That challenge may fail, but it may also grievously wound Clinton in the process.