Just a short day ago, Hillary Clinton made waves when speaking to a local cable news station in New York City saying that she was “not running for President.” Everyone seemed to take this as the final “closing door” on the prospect that she would try to launch a third campaign for the presidency to challenge Donald Trump in 2020.
Less than 24 hours later, after the interview, sources close to the Clintons say that her statement on “not running” was not definitive and that there is still a slight chance she may decide to launch a 2020 campaign.
One big caveat, however, is that she may be waiting on the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Russia collusion probe to be released before making her decision. This according to reporter Maggie Haberman who writes for the New York Times:
The person also says she is extremely unlikely to run, but that she remains bothered that she’s expected to close the door on it when, say, John Kerry isn’t. She has told her team she is waiting at least to see the Mueller report. 2/2
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 6, 2019
Why does Hillary want the possibility of a 2020 run to persist among political observers? Does anyone really believe, amid this massive Democratic field, that she will attempt another campaign after the defeat in 2016?
Perhaps she feels that the 2016 election was wrongly decided since, after all, she won the popular vote by a sizable margin. If only she had another shot at it, with some smarter campaigning, visits to key “blue wall” strongholds of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, maybe she could take the Presidency back from Donald Trump?
It may be sheer defiance of conventional wisdom on Hillary’s part, as the tweet explains above. Why should she be expected to pass on 2020 and close the door to her aspirations of higher office when John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee who lost to George W. Bush, is not being given the same level of scrutiny.
What would the Mueller report have to say to entice Hillary back into the race? Is she waiting on the off-chance that some clear, unmistakable evidence exists that Donald Trump asked Putin to alter election results in key races? Would that make Hillary more likely to get in the race?
On the other hand, if the Mueller report is a dud, which some are predicting, then would that remove Hillary’s argument that Russian tampering contributed to her 2016 loss?
The post-mortem on the 2016 election will continue in the history books for decades to come. It’s a great study in electoral politics, and Hillary may still be writing the story.