Hillary 4. (N)o!
On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal published comment from Hillary Clinton’s former long-term pollster and close ally. It had the feel of it coming from the ‘inside’, so it was exciting… and very unexpected. It also did another thing: it shocked me – amazingly, after HRC has been in politics since before I was born. The Clinton brand still shocks. It looked almost certain that an experience so humiliating would end all and any future ambitions. But the de-facto launching on a 2020 bid shocked me, (probably) despaired a few Democrats, and (even more probably) made a few people laugh.
Enter Clinton 4.0.
“Reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination”
These are sensational claims and it is hard to picture the authors writing them without bursting out laughing. Post-truth, alternative facts, and fake news aren’t things the far-right has a monopoly on the left needs to be cautious with what they put out. Claiming that HRC will ‘easily capture’ the nomination is flirting with fake… to put it mildly.
The timing is surprising too. As I mentioned last week, the Midterms were kind to them, but usually seen as a springboard for existing politicians to launch more ambitious bids. Nonetheless, the Dems made gains in the rust belt and saw positive swings from the Independents and white women voters — all good news. Wisconsin is looking slightly more Blue now Walker has had to walk, and that was a state HRC didn’t even visit two years ago! All this, and more, contributed to a House net gain of 35 and for the lower Chamber to now be more diverse than the general American population. In this regard, the Democrats are in a much healthier position to take the White House, whoever their candidate is. If Florida remains the ubiquitous swing state and the south is energised just right (or left…) then 2020 is seriously possible.
A healthy party, a political landscape tilting in their favour, and a qualified candidate looks like the perfect recipe for success then…
There is also no doubt that HRC was, and possibly still is, the most qualified candidate in history. Yale Law School, First Lady (not to mention to campaigns she personally championed around health care and social policy), US Senator, two presidential campaigns, one as the Democrat candidate, US Secretary of State, author, and more. Noticeable absence however: host of the US Apprentice and not the owner of her own FAILING steak company and/or university. Sad!
A political giant who has never rested on her achievements either. When Bill was Governor of Arkansas she refused to be known as Mrs Bill Clinton, instead insisting on being called by her name. Not willing to be overshadowed, not content with previous positions, and not deterred by losing out to Obama. We cannot seriously expect one of the most experienced, qualified, and well-known politicians in the world (never mind the country or party) to be silenced by a political child.
These are old arguments though. Arguments that HRC has lost on already. Twice. Sure, the midterms gave the Dems a bump, but they were solid in 2008 and she couldn’t manage it then. It remains incredibly unlikely she will win the nomination and even more so that she will win the White House.
I’ve linked the WSJ article in the top line, so won’t go through it forensically. Authors, Mark Penn and Andrew Stein essentially say that to date we have only had the pleasure of seeing three versions of Hillary, and that 2020 V4.0 will be the most effective one yet. It feels like this is total tone-deafness, and more of an attempt to add to the saturated market of political stupidity that comes daily from King Donald’s fingertips, than a serious piece of work.
As I have highlighted, HRC’s defeats have had little to do with the health of the Democrat party, and her qualifications are undeniable. She has also failed to grasp personal closure; Russian interference, dirty money, and winning the popular vote will always play on her mind, I’m sure (and rightly so) Now is time for that closure. Denounce the WSJ piece, publicly withdraw unequivocally, and do not allow any speculation to rear its head again.
Perhaps the hardest pill for HRC to swallow then is that, of all her attempts at the top seat, a run in 2020 may have been her best shot. But only if it was her first shot. The party should be grateful for her service. But she lost an imminently winnable election. Sorry, HRC, but we need less Clinton, not more.
If you don’t learn the lessons of history, you are doomed to repeat them.