Honest Graft
How the Clintons Wield Power

The cover story of TAI’s previous issue was Walter Russell Mead’s essay on Bill and Hillary Clinton’s construction of “the first postmodern political machine”—an elaborate, well-funded apparatus, unprecedented in its sophistication and global reach, that allows the Clintons to bestride our political world like no other couple in modern memory. As the campaign to put the Clintons back in the White House marches forward despite being dogged by scandal and skepticism, other outlets are also addressing the remarkable power of the machine the Clintons have built. Here’s Simon Head in the New York Review of Books on what he calls the “Clinton System“:

Few have been as adept at exploiting this big-money politics as Bill and Hillary Clinton. In the 2016 campaign, as of October, Hillary Clinton had raised $20 million in “outside” money, on top of $77 million in direct campaign contributions—the highest in direct contributions of any candidate at the time. But she and her husband have other links to big donors, and they go back much further than the current election cycle. What stands out about what I will call the Clinton System is the scale and complexity of the connections involved, the length of time they have been in operation, the presence of former president Bill Clinton alongside Hillary as an equal partner in the enterprise, and the sheer magnitude of the funds involved.

Read Head’s whole essay, which is teeming with insights about the give-and-take involved in sustaining the Clinton network. And as WRM wrote, keep on eye out for other politicians, in the United States and abroad, to try to create postmodern political machines of their own.

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