Should Hillary Clinton Run Again?
There was talk on Friday about Hillary Clinton running again, largely because of the indictments released and underscoring how much the Russians helped the Trump campaign win the Presidency. There is a sense of thwarted mission, of feminism and of the desire for a rematch. The now-infamous audio clip of Trump asking the Russians was played ad nauseum on cable television. After all, Hillary won the popular vote by almost three million votes.
As someone who is just now getting over 2016, getting my political bearings back, my initial answer to a Bush vs. Trump would be a resounding Hell-to-the-No. Do we really want to revive the Bush-Clinton dynasties of old? Donald Trump, Jr is literally begging for the Democrats to nominate her again, and I do not think Trump the Second is cognitively capable of reverse head games. That is, of course, not to say that Hillary Clinton is not qualified. As former First Lady, head of President Clinton’s Health Care task force, two-term US Senator from New York and Secretary of State, she is at least as qualified as Thomas Jefferson was when he ran for office in 1800.
There are, of course, many reasons why we should not be too excited about the possibility of yet another Clinton election. Further, Clinton lost a slam dunk of a campaign, with a $1.2 billion budget. Clinton could not win Pennsylvania (Or for that matter Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, other crucial rust belt states), which is essential to any Democrat Presidential candidate. What makes anyone think Clinton could win those states back in 2020?
There are some pros, to be sure. The Clintons are an established brand, with a network of supporters in every state and an ability to raise campaign cash from loyalists at a moment’s notice. But there are equally powerful cons: we are fatigued by both the Clintons and the Bushes, by neo-conservatism and neoliberalism both (a pox on both their houses!) and she is, like John Kerry and Al Gore before her, a boring, cerebral candidate. Presidential elections, unfortunately, are about who the voter would rather “have a beer” with, who are they going to invite into their living room over the next four years in times of crisis and of wealth: Kerry or Bush, Gore or Bush, Obama or McCain? Hillary, despite her formidable credentials, does not do well in this arena.
The light banter around the beltway about a Hillary 2020 run is buoyed largely on the fact that over a year into the Trump Presidency a frontrunner has not emerged. “And please — forget Sanders and Joe Biden,” writes Michael Goodwin in the New York Post. “Sanders is already 76 and Biden, at 75, has never been a viable candidate for president and still isn’t.” Still, the lack of a viable frontrunner and Hillary’s obvious financial advantages is going to get the chattering classes setting up candidates, and since there are none, they are going to draw Hillary out of her retirement from politics for the sake of headlines. That’s just how the media sausage gets made (and papers get sold, and eyeballs turn into unique views).
Still, it is a mistake to push the “Is Hillary Running?” narrative. By all accounts, Hillary Clinton said last year that she is done with politics and we should take her at her word. There is nothing that she has done since then – even by way of direct verbal confrontation with the president – to contradict her final judgement on another campaign. Those in the #Resistance should, instead of rehashing dubious claims of media organizations looking for eyeballs, look at possible candidates. And those candidates should be young and able to make the grueling schedule of the primaries – starting in the icy cold Iowa caucuses in February 2020. Harry Reid, the former Senate Majority Leader who discovered Barack Obama and groomed him for the Presidency has said that he wants Elizabeth Warren to run. She was a law professor in a previous life, is credited with making the Consumer Financial Protection Agency happen, and will have been a two-term Senator from Massachusetts by the time the 2020 campaign season approaches. She knows exactly how to get under Trump’s skin and would be magnificent in a debate situation with the crude President of the United States.
Another feminist, though not as nationally prominent, that looks like they are running is Kirsten Gillibrand. She was the first Senator to call for Al Franken to resign and has been a staunch champion of #MeToo from the Capital. Further, she has incorporated some of the Bernie Sanders progressive agenda, making life easier for women, children and those left behind in this era of inequality.
Senators Warren and Gillibrand are two solid feminist potential candidates for President. The midterms will be another “Year of the Woman” if Democrats win big. The so-called “pink wave” could easily extend beyond 2018 into 2020, and a woman candidate would provide the perfect contrast to a President whose rhetoric is more locker room talk than lofty and whose policies, particularly on immigration, embrace what can only be properly construed as outright cruelty.
Cover photo via Metro US