It’s Friday, let’s put this week to rest, but not before we explore the off-chance that Hillary Clinton is seriously considering running for President again in 2020 against, presumably, Donald Trump. Well, maybe it’s not Hillary considering it, but at least some of the close people around her seem to think there is a chance she’s not done vying for the presidency. The statement comes from Philippe Reines, a former Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton at the State Department and advisor to her presidential campaign in 2016.
In a piece from Politico, Reines argues that Hillary is not getting her due from most Democrats based on her performance in 2016:
“It’s curious why Hillary Clinton’s name isn’t in the mix—either conversationally or in formal polling—as a 2020 candidate,” said Philippe Reines, her longtime gatekeeper in the Senate and at the State Department. “She’s younger than Donald Trump by a year. She’s younger than Joe Biden by four years. Is it that she’s run before? This would be Bernie Sanders’ second time, and Biden’s third time. Is it lack of support? She had 65 million people vote for her.”
Even if half of those people would no longer support Clinton in another election, Reines argued, “there’s no one in the Democratic Party who has anywhere near a base of 32 million people. That’s multiples of what a Sanders or a Warren have.”
Reines said his biggest fear for the Democratic Party is that they realize, only in hindsight, that dismissing Clinton for the errors she made in 2016 was a mistake.
“Chalking the loss up to her being a failed candidate is an oversimplification,” Reines said. “She is smarter than most, tougher than most, she could raise money easier than most, and it was an absolute fight to the death.”
Does Reines plugging Clinton as a viable 2020 candidate mean that she’s running?
“It’s somewhere between highly unlikely and zero,” he said, “but it’s not zero.” [Emphasis added]
Between “highly unlikely” and “not zero” is still pretty close to zero, but whenever statements like this pop up you have to wonder if they lead back to the source in some careful way to float the possibility. Is it possible Hillary is testing the waters for 2020? Perhaps looking back in 2016, realizing her mistakes, and wanting a redo with a new strategy that takes nothing for granted? Sure, it’s possible.
However, as Business Insider reports, some Democrats would politely like the Clintons to disappear:
But some Democrats see Clinton’s reemergence on the political stage as a nuisance rather than a boon for the party. They say that the Clintons’ complicated legacy and combined political baggage have polarized many in the party and made them easy targets for Republican attacks.
Clinton raised eyebrows in a recent interview with CBS when she said her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky while she was a White House intern was not an abuse of power, prompting ire from fellow Democrats who said she distracted from the party’s midterm message.
Bill Clinton’s legacy has been under scrutiny in the #MeToo era, and you can bet that any Democratic opponents in a bitter primary will not hesitate to use that against Hillary if the need arises.
Meanwhile, as Democrats tossed and turned over the thought of Hillary running again in 2020, the White House was jubilant since they think having beaten her once, they could easily beat her again:
Christmas coming early this year? https://t.co/eO4RYOTwtZ
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 19, 2018
But, as Reines reminds everyone, Hillary would always be formidable, even with her losing record since the Clintons are fundraising machines:
But Reines said Clinton’s fundraising prowess and decades of experience fighting tough battles shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“Chalking the loss up to her being a failed candidate is an oversimplification,” he said. “She is smarter than most, tougher than most, she could raise money easier than most, and it was an absolute fight to the death.”
I don’t ordinarily make predictions, but let’s put it on the line right here: Hillary Clinton will not be running in 2020. There’s no way they’re going to go through it all again, especially now that her husband’s sexual escapades in the White House are interview topics every time she’s on camera. We had some of that in 2016, but not as much as there seems to be today.
The Democratic Party has moved on from the Clintons, though they’ll always hold a seat of power. Democrats are looking to something new in 2020, something to get excited about again, perhaps something more Obama-esque. Surely Hillary wishes she could have a do-over, and her ardent supporters probably feel the same way, but the writing is on the wall, and there’s no way she’d have an easy primary in 2020 as she did in 2016 when the field practically cleared for her, save Bernie Sanders.