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Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger. (Photo: Atlantic Council/flickr/cc)

Clinton Bonds with Neocons as GOP Elites Launch Final Bid Against Trump

Clinton's tactic to win over Republican elites will be portraying herself as the safe bet for national security

Nadia Prupis

Hillary Clinton is reaching out to Republican elites—including fellow former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger—to support her campaign over Donald Trump's, suggesting a growing alliance between Clinton and neoconservatives, according to Politico.

Clinton's charm offensive comes amid a growing public rift between the Republican party and its own nominee. The backlash against Trump has seen numerous high-profile Republicans defecting to the Democrats and explicitly denouncing Trump's suitability for office. At a fundraiser for 'foreign policy professionals' in July, prominent neoconservative Robert Kagan told attendees that "a majority of people in my circle will vote for Hillary."

Much of the Clinton team's push for support means portraying her as the safe bet for national security against Trump's loose-cannon ways. Politico reports:

Clinton has sought to capitalize on the broader discontent in GOP circles. Her campaign released an ad Friday that featured a number of conservative voices, including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, questioning Trump's abilities. The ad was released the same day that former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who has worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations, published an op-ed endorsing Clinton and casting Trump as a national security threat.

As for why the neocons support Clinton so emphatically, J.P. Sottile writes at Consortium News:

[S]he's weaponized the State Department. She really likes regime change. And her nominating convention not only embraced the military, but it sanctified the very Gold Star families that neocon-style interventionism creates.

As journalist Rania Khalek recently reported for The Intercept:

The Clinton-neocon partnership was solidified by Trump becoming the Republican nominee. But their affinity for each other has grown steadily over time.

The neoconservative Weekly Standard celebrated Clinton's 2008 appointment as secretary of state as a victory for the right, hailing her transformation from "First Feminist" to "Warrior Queen, more Margaret Thatcher than Gloria Steinem."

If any of the so-called GOP "elders" plan to speak out against Trump, they may be waiting until the November 8 election is nearer, "in hopes of making a bigger impact," Politico adds. However, "Even if Clinton gains endorsements from the likes of a James Baker or a Henry Kissinger, it may not make much difference in a race where Trump is trying to appeal to a largely white, working class base by casting himself as an outsider who will overthrow the Washington establishment."

A Rice endorsement may be even more difficult, Politico writes:

Rice, who has kept a relatively low public profile in recent years, also is close to the Bush family. She's an expert on Russia, and she may have concerns about Trump's unusual affection for Moscow. At the same time, Rice is closely identified with George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq. Clinton voted in favor of the war, and Trump, who claims he opposed the invasion, can try to use a Rice endorsement against her.

Regardless, the widespread resistance to the Republican nominee has even prompted an 11th-hour bid for the presidency by conservative CIA veteran Evan McMullin, who launched a third-party challenge to Trump on Monday.

McMullin, who also served as chief policy director at the House Republican Conference for two years, "would seem to have little chance of garnering enough attention to truly challenge Trump or Clinton," The Hill reports. But his candidacy is a sign of growing discontent in GOP circles; MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, who first reported the story, said the bid "has more to do with stopping Donald Trump than actually electing a president."


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