Dick Morris: How Hillary Could Run


The latest polls suggest an opening in the field of Democratic presidential primary candidates that Hillary Clinton could exploit to make a serious run at the 2020 nomination.

For week after week, the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire have shown Biden in first place, followed by a tightly locked field of Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg — the same results that most national polls show.

But Buttigieg has gained significant momentum in both states.

In Iowa, a recent Civiqs poll shows the South Bend, Indiana, mayor leading with 26 percent, trailed by Warren at 19 percent and Sanders at 18 percent.

In New Hampshire, an Emerson College poll showed Buttigieg polling at 22 percent, with Warren and Biden receiving 14 percent each. Only Sanders polled higher, at 26 percent.

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The news for Hillary, however, is not Buttigieg’s surge.

She probably rightly dismisses him, saying she could eat him for breakfast.

But Warren’s drop and Biden’s poor showing open clear lanes of candidacy for her.

If Warren fades, on top of Kamala Harris’ withdrawal, Hillary would be the only real shot at electing a female president. And if Biden fades in the early states, Hillary could become the most electable alternative to Trump. These two lanes — women and winning — seem to beckon Hillary to run.

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That there are open lanes is much more crucial to Hillary than to most candidates. Most politicians seek out a unique selling proposition that captures their appeal to the voters, or at least to a segment of them.

But to Hillary, having a running lane all her own is essential to her strategy whenever she runs. She is conscious of the drawbacks of her candidacy and the resistance into which she would run.

So she hides her candidacy within the generic. It isn’t about electing Hillary; it’s about choosing the first woman president. It’s about choosing the most electable Democrat. After all, as she never tires of saying, she got more votes than Trump did, so she knows she can beat him.

Wrapped up in the generic, she can say her candidacy is born not of ambition, but from a desire to see a woman elected or to defeat Trump.

You don’t vote on whether Hillary should be president. You vote on whether a woman should be.

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In this way, she switches from candidate to advocate and avoids having to sell her cold, vicious, ruthless personality.

Does this mean that she will run? Probably so. She can’t resist what she deeply believes is her God-given mission to be president.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.