Why ‘Ready for Hillary’ exposes a serious brand challenge for Clinton

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
Font Size:

“Ready for Hillary” has launched an online store, prompting mockery, comparisons to Madonna, and an overall feeling many describe as “creepy.”

(I don’t see a lot of dudes deciding to wear this gear, but who knows?)

It is assumed, of course, that she will be the Democratic nominee — if she wants to be. What is more, early polling shows her topping the field of likely Republican general election opponents.

It’s important to note that this isn’t an official “Hillary!” project, but instead, the work of a PAC. And it would be silly to make too much out of this. Still, I think this illustrates some problems Hillary may confront.

Clearly, this is an attempt to replicate Obama’s design success, but I think this illustrates the difficulty her team may have in channeling the youthful Obama zeitgeist — when instead handed an aging female candidate who has been in the public eye for more than two decades and has lots of baggage.

As I (and others) have long pointed out, in Hillary, Democrats will be asking the electorate to pass the torch backwards generationally. This could be especially problematic if Republicans nominate a more youthful opponent.

Much of Obama’s success was — let’s face it — based on superficial qualities and a “hope and change” message that was an illusion applied to a virtually blank canvass. It won’t be so easy with Hillary.

One can see how females of a certain age might embrace the Hillary imagery, but I don’t see this merchandise flying off the shelf like Obama’s gear. And while that might seem trivial, it’s fairly important for a party that relies on buzz, youthful ignorance, and a “cool” factor, in order to win elections.

Matt K. Lewis