Hillary Clinton is reportedly “keeping the door open” on making yet another bid at the White House. There is an opening – a rather wide one, in fact – just not for her. Make no mistake, the ruthlessly ambitious Hilary Clinton would dearly love to jump into the 2020 Democratic presidential race. Yet despite it becoming more startlingly clear by the day that they have a notably weak field of announced candidates, the Dems are horrified at the notion of another grab at the brass ring by perhaps the most reviled major presidential candidate in American history.
Wiggling Her Way In?
The New York Times on October 22 reported that “Democrats who have spoken with” Hillary say she has told them privately that she would give it a go in 2020 if she thought she could win. But Clinton apparently doesn’t for the moment see how she can elbow her way into an overcrowded troupe completely populated with lightweights and aging figures who have proven to be past their prime. Veteran Clinton adviser Phillippe Reines, in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, confirmed that Hillary has not ruled out another run. The reaction to this renewed buzz within party ranks has been swift, and it was not particularly meant to spare her feelings.
“That would be a mistake,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) said, Politico reported. He then repeated himself: “That would be a mistake.” “Absolutely not,” was Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) take. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) at least offered a bit more than a blunt gut reaction. “I don’t think it would be good for her,” Tester declared. “She’s been through this war once. The Republicans have made a target out of her for 30 years and she’s still going to [be] that same target. I just think it would be tough.”
Still the Same
To their credit, congressional Dems do not seem to be even slightly inclined to drink the Clinton Kool-Aid. “Look, you can make fun of her all you want, but 65 million people voted for her and that’s second more to anyone except Barack Obama,” Reines told Carlson. That’s a weak argument. One glance at the 2016 Electoral College map decisively reveals just how meaningless that vote total was in terms of actually winning a national election.
Clinton did not claim one state that would even mildly register as a surprise. Her appeal was overwhelmingly restricted to safe blue havens in the Northeastern states, the West Coast, and large cities. The professional political class that so confidently expected a Hillary victory never did understand how palpably loathed she is outside those regions. Clinton lost the entire South and was routed in the Heartland, and her failure to hold her own in the Rust Belt sealed her fate. Her imperious and condescending personal nature – branding Trump backers as “deplorables” during the general election contest instead of attempting to reach out to them – was sadly complemented by her total disconnect with working-class Americans. The woman who infamously said “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners” out of work has spent the years since haughtily claiming that her comments were misconstrued instead of evincing any understanding as to why they would be profoundly disturbing to Americans deeply worried about losing their jobs. Nothing about this flawed Hillary dynamic has changed since 2016.
Expiration Date Passed
Furthermore, although the current Dem field is remarkably lackluster, the trajectory of the primary to date is particularly uninviting to an old-style establishment politician like Hillary. Joe Biden’s struggles are not only due to his personal foibles. The Dem grassroots is demanding a progressive candidate who will chart a new direction for the party in 2020. Having the big-money Clinton machine swoop in at the last minute in ostensible service to an “electability” factor is the last thing blue voters want. If there is one lesson we have learned from this primary battle so far, it is that the radicals who are driving the bus value pushing leftist talking points into the mainstream above all else – even more than improving their chances of defeating the hated President Trump.
And if you thought supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were angry at what they saw as a rigged 2016 Dem primary in favor of Hillary, can you imagine their response to her jumping in and running off with nomination this time around? Apoplectic doesn’t begin to describe it. A Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that 12% of Bernie backers voted for Trump in 2016. Hillary herself, when not spouting Russian conspiracy theories, has blamed bitter Bernie Bros for costing her the election. A second Hillary nomination would likely drive scores more of Sanders’ adherents to pull a lever for Trump in 2020. They would rather burn the party to the ground than see it revert to Hillary’s fiefdom once again.
Democrats are in disarray as they try to locate a worthy standard-bearer for 2020. The current crop of candidates is undeniably unappealing. But strange as it may sound, losing is not the worst thing that can happen to the party. Being stuck in a played-out Clinton axis that harkens to a Uniparty era of politics that Americans of all political stripes desperately want to move on from would harm Dems far more in the long run. The stagnation could possibly cripple the party’s growth for years to come. Wherever Dems are headed, for good or for bad, delaying the process with a thoroughly outdated Hillary detour can only make things worse.
“It’s hard to know whether the world has passed on or not,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Politico reported. “I’m a friend of hers and I’m extraordinarily fond of her. But that’s a factor.” Feinstein is 86 years old and has been active in Democrat politics for over 50 years. If this ossified Swamp icon is struggling to see an opening for her old crony, then you know the stale Clinton brand truly is on thin ice. The nomination is indeed there for the taking, but for Hillary, the door is firmly shut. Nevertheless, don’t be surprised to see her furiously knocking on it anyway in the months to come. It’s who she is.