The possibility of Hillary Clinton giving the White House one more shot was raised by a Clinton loyalist who noted that Clinton has a stronger base than many of the other names batted about as 2020 Democratic contenders.
“It’s curious why Hillary Clinton’s name isn’t in the mix — either conversationally or in formal polling — as a 2020 candidate,” Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton aide, told Politico.
Reines noted she has advantages others lack.
“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 Biden’s third time. Is it lack of support? She had 65 million people vote for her.”
Reines made the case that even if Clinton could not get 65 million voters again, her base is far larger than any other name in the mix, pointing to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who lost to Clinton in the 2016 primary and expected candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
“There’s no one in the Democratic Party who has anywhere near a base of 32 million people. That’s multiples of what a Sanders or a Warren have.”
Reines said superficial dismissals of Clinton fail to properly assess her qualities.
“Chalking the loss up to her being a failed candidate is an oversimplification,” Reines said. “She is smarter than most, tougher than most, she could raise money easier than most, and it was an absolute fight to the death.”
So is she running?
“It’s somewhere between highly unlikely and zero,” he said, “but it’s not zero.”
It should be, said one of Clinton’s former advisers.
Adrienne Elrod on Monday dismissed rumors of Clinton launching another presidential run, calling it a “pipe dream.”
“It’s silly. It’s a pipe dream. I mean, look, she’s made it very clear that after this last run she’s done,” Elrod, who was Clinton’s strategic communications director, said on Hill TV’s “Rising.”
Elrod said it was time for “new faces” and said a Clinton campaign would not be assured a win.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know that a run this time around would yield a first- or second-place finish,” she said, adding that if asked, she would advise Clinton against running.
But to some, Clinton’s recent return to national publicity is already damaging.
Michelle Cottle, a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, wrote in a recent column that Clinton’s recent statements defending former President Bill Clinton’s affair with a White House intern reflect “the sort of moral arrogance and self-justification that has long troubled even many Democrats about Mrs. Clinton.”
“Hillary Clinton has been on a bit of a media tear the past few weeks, holding forth on both the personal and the political — and making clear that someone needs to perform an intervention before she further complicates life for her fellow Democrats,” she wrote, adding that Clinton’s comment that it was impossible to be civil to Republicans was a tone-deaf remark for the political times.
“Having Mrs. Clinton proclaim political civility dead until her team wins again is unlikely to prove an inspirational message for these voters,” she wrote.
Howard Dean, who partners with Clinton in her PAC, Onward Together, said Clinton’s greatest importance to the Democratic Party will be in raising money that propels a new generation of candidates to victory.
“The real future in this party is under 35, and that’s what we’re funding,” Dean said.
“She’s the best fundraiser in the Democratic Party, and she’s pretty far-sighted,” he said. “We’ve been working together to connect her donor base to all these young groups. What you’re seeing is that we’re facilitating the takeover of the Democratic Party by people who are under 35 years old. This is a big piece of what she is doing politically.”
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