Truthfully I thought we were done discussing Hillary Clinton in relation to presidential runs, but in 2019, the landscape may be more disturbed and twilight-zoned that in 2016. Word on the political street now is the rumbling that the impeachment probe launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be the crack that opens the door for another presidential run by Hillary Clinton. This time, the thinking goes, Hillary would be running with vindication that the 2016 election was “stolen” from her and she can ascend in 2020 to reclaim the mantle for her party and the majority of the country that voted for her.
Of course, for Hillary to run in 2020, she’d have to bump the dozen or so other Democrats also running for the same job out of the race. Someone should message Joe Biden and see how he feels about that since he was “bumped” in 2016 to let Hillary have an easy primary contest.
According to a story at Newsweek that came out a week before the impeachment story broke, some bettors were already placing odds that Hillary had a better shot at the 2020 nomination than some of the current candidates:
At the bookmaker Ladbrokes, Clinton has seen enough backing by bettors to rise to the seventh favorite for the 2020 nomination at 20/1. Booker, a senator of New Jersey, is eighth at 33/1. O’Rourke, a former representative of Texas, is ninth at 50/1.
“We’re baffled, to be honest,” Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at Ladbrokes, told Newsweek. “We’ve taken more bets on her to be the Democratic candidate than any of the other runners.”
Amid speculation earlier in the year that she could enter the 2020 race, Clinton ruled herself out. “I’m not running, but I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe,” Clinton told New York’s News 12 in March.
Note her phrasing from the statement back in March. “I’m not running,” which is to say, at this moment, I am not running. She’s leaving the door open for a reason and clearly some people, even if they’re probably gambling addicts, think she could still have a shot better than some of the candidates that will be on the debate stage next month.
What about this week, after we’ve watched the impeachment news have time to fester and watch the dust settle on the new political landscape of 2019? Hillary has not kept quiet about her feelings over the 2016 election. She called President Trump “illegitimate” and said she feels that impeachment would be some form of vindication for her 66 million voters. She has a lot to say on the subject and isn’t letting it go anytime soon. In many ways, she has never conceded the 2016 race to Trump.
A magazine called The National Interest, which focuses on U.S. foreign policy, wrote about this very subject in relation to an interview Hillary gave to CBS last week:
The ostensible purpose of her CBS interview was to promote her new tome, The Book of Gutsy Women, co-written with her daughter Chelsea. But Clinton’s sallies against Trump raise a key question: is she gunning for a rematch in 2020?
The ferocity of her serial assaults on Trump suggests that she might. For one thing, she dismissed the notion that 2016 was her fault. Instead, she suggested that Trump deployed a variety of underhanded methods to subvert what would have been the true verdict of voters: “I believe he understands that the many varying tactics they used, from voter suppression and voter purging to hacking to the false stories – he knows that – there were just a bunch of different reasons why the election turned out like it did.”
Nor was this all. She likened the 2016 campaign to “applying for a job and getting 66 million letters of recommendation and losing to a corrupt human tornado. And so I know that he knows that this wasn’t on the level. I don’t know that we’ll ever know what happened.”
The article goes on to argue that Hillary fits somewhere in between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in terms of filling an open niche in the Democratic primary. If Biden is too old, and Warren is too left-wing, is Hillary Clinton the answer to that equation? Many Democratic voters, no doubt, would probably say “No” for the same reasons they did in 2016 when Bernie Sanders almost bested her for the nomination.
On the other hand, does Hillary have a slice of support among Democrats who are sympathetic to her claims of having an election stolen from her? Would they drop pretenses against her establishment pedigree to give her a redo?
If we were to see a Clinton/Trump rematch, both candidates would have something to prove. For Trump, it would be about proving that his first victory wasn’t some kind of fluke or some kind of “stolen” election by the Russians. For Hillary, it would be about proving she can run a winning campaign with her base now awakened to the reality of a Trump presidency. There’s much more to it than that, of course, but on the broad view, it’s simply a replay of 2016 with both candidates well known, and rather disliked among voters in general.
Imagine a scenario where Biden begins to fade and the next in line may be too far left for what some Democrats fear would be an electorate looking for moderation and tempered leadership after living with Donald Trump. Well, Biden is currently faltering under pressure from Elizabeth Warren, and the rumblings of her views being “too left-wing” for Wall Street are already starting.
For all the discussion though, there is still no hard evidence that Hillary is intent on running again in 2020. The door remains open, though, for now, but the question is whether she’d be a welcome addition to the process.