With no clear frontrunner emerging from the Democratic camp, one former adviser reckons 2020 might be Hillary Clinton’s time to shine – much to the amusement of the White House.
Philippe Reines, a former senior adviser to Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State, told Politico on Friday that while Clinton’s chances of running in 2020 are “somewhere between highly unlikely and zero,” people shouldn’t be so quick to write her off.
No other Democrat has “anywhere near a base of 32 million people,” Reines argued, referring to how many votes Clinton could muster if half of her 2016 supporters voted for her again. Reines added that Clinton is “smarter,” “tougher,” and could fundraise easier than any other Democrat.
Speculation that Clinton might run again was given a boost this summer, when the one-time presidential hopeful gave a handful of campaign-style speeches and sent out emails to supporters. However, these rumors were dismissed by her former campaign strategist as a “pipe dream.”
The public seem to agree. According to a Rasmussen poll taken in July, only 22 percent of Democrat voters think Clinton has been good for the party, while 58 percent think she’s damaged its standing.
While Reines argues that Clinton is a Democratic stalwart, she’s also tainted: by her shock loss against Trump in 2016, by a history of scandals that Trump seems only too delighted to remind the public of, and by her association with the watery centrism that Democratic voters are moving leftwards from.
This disconnect is best illustrated by Clinton’s relationship with Florida’s progressive gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, according to Politico’s Annie Karni. After offering Gillum their full support, Bill and Hillary Clinton were spurned by the up-and-coming candidate. Gillum opted not to have Bill Clinton campaign with him at all, and is keeping Hillary’s appearances to a minimum.
“Even Hillary voters don’t want to see or hear from her again,” tweeted Miami filmmaker Billy Corben.
Gillum’s rise to prominence is not a unique story. Along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Ayanna Pressley in Boston, he is among the new crop of young, progressive candidates campaigning on a platform far to the left of anything Clinton ever offered.
In addition, Clinton’s defense of her husband against sexual assault allegations, her exhortation that he did “nothing wrong” in his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and her close ties to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, all make her seem woefully out of touch with the #MeToo generation.
Nevertheless, she persisted: The Clintons announced earlier this month that they will embark on a speaking tour of the US after next month’s midterm elections, beginning in Las Vegas on November 18 and ending in Inglewood, California in May next year. Ticket prices range from $ 72 to $ 750, not quite the fees either of them commanded between 2000 and 2008 for clients like Goldman Sachs, but not exactly pocket-change either.
Clinton has publicly stated that she will not take a shot at the presidency again, but Reines isn’t so sure.
“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 [Joe] Biden’s third time,” he told Politico. “Is it lack of support? She had 65 million people vote for her.”
Among those praying for a Clinton/Trump rematch are Republicans and conservatives, who consider Clinton an easy opponent and a handy foil to whip up support against. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders greeted the Friday article with a tweet saying “Christmas coming early this year?”
“Please let this be true” tweeted Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson.
Meanwhile, even ultra-liberal news site the Daily Beast ran an op-ed on Thursday by anti-Trump political strategist Liz Mair, who argued that even Republicans are getting tired of attacking Clinton.
In the article titled “Dear God, Hillary Clinton. Please, Just Go,” Mair lashed out against the Clintons’ “zombie politics,” which she called “a brain-devouring, egocentric version of Democrat-ism lurching and festering onward, seemingly endlessly.”
Trump himself put things more succinctly earlier this month, when he addressed public comments by Clinton after the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in which she blasted Trump’s conduct at Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony.
“I guess that’s why she lost. She doesn’t get it,” he said. “She never did. I knew that a long time ago. Hillary never got it. That’s why she lost.”
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