On Monday it appeared former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had emphatically ruled out a third bid for President of the United States in 2020, telling a local New York TV station, “I’m not running”.
That seemed to quell speculation but late Tuesday night New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that Clinton was surprised by the reaction to her interview and put some doubt on her position.
The person also says she is extremely unlikely to run, but that she remains bothered that she’s expected to close the door on it when, say, John Kerry isn’t. She has told her team she is waiting at least to see the Mueller report. 2/2
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 6, 2019
Haberman’s unnamed source revealed the former First Lady “wasn’t trying to be emphatic and close the door on running,” and that she was, “surprised by how definitively it played.”
While saying Clinton “is extremely unlikely to run,” the source says, “she has told her team she is waiting at least to see the Mueller report” – the investigation into possible links or coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential 2016 campaign and the Russian government.
The outcome of the report could be a key factor in Clinton’s decision to run. She has long accused Trump of being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “puppet” and has blamed Russian interference for costing her the election.
A world tour promoting her book What Happened, various speaking engagements as well as relentlessly criticizing President Trump’s policies on social media has ensured she has remained in the public eye and doesn’t intend to stop. “I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe,” she said Monday.
With a compendium of excuses, Clinton has long pushed the narrative that the 2016 election was taken away from her. From Russia to WikiLeaks and even President Obama, last weekend at an award ceremony in Selma, she made the remarkable claim that voter suppression in Wisconsin and Georgia contributed to her defeat. Should any evidence to corroborate these allegations come to light, especially the Trump Russia link via the Mueller Report, Clinton could claim vindication and re-invigorate her support base who too believe the election was taken from her.
In fact when being introduced to speak in Selma, the presenter of the award said, “She was elected president of the United States, and it was stolen from her,” to a standing ovation. “It was stolen from her by the FBI … it was stolen from her by the Russians.”
Whether one agrees or disagrees with any of these assertions, should Clinton opt to run again, she may have done enough to portray the image of unlucky loser instead of the two-time loser.
In fact, a late bid for the presidency would suit Clinton in a number of ways:
One of the fundamental reasons Trump defeated Clinton was his ability to outwork the former First Lady. Trump held at least 400 rallies throughout his campaign, with thousands of people typically in attendance. In any state Trump had a chance of winning, he campaigned hard and often, frequently touching down at packed airport hangers and then jetting off to another state.
On the other hand, Clinton didn’t step foot in states like Wisconsin, a state she lost to Trump. Various reports surfaced the Clinton was in ill health but nevertheless Trump’s stamina played a major role in swinging some key states red.
Trump, as we know, is a fine orator and maximized his media game by dominating the airwaves. His message was clearer and more stimulating. The working men and women of the US have been sold out and he was bringing jobs back. It was the revolt of working–class Middle America that ultimately catapulted Trump to the White House. Clintons “I’m With Her” campaign slogan said more about her than the people she wished to represent.
The Democratic Party’s push to resist Trump has shifted the party further to the left. Most of the 2020 field support Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal to tackle climate change which includes a jobs guarantee for all Americans, heavy investment in clean energy and a commitment to net-zero carbon emissions within 10 years, among other proposals.
The proposal has been estimated to cost as high as $93 trillion and has been laughed at by Trump and other Republicans dismissing them as socialist policies. Other candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Julián Castro have all said they will push for reparations for descendants of slavery. In late 2016, Barack Obama dismissed the idea of reparations.
When Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, he hadn’t announced he was running until very late in the campaign – October 3, 1991, the equivalent of Hillary Clinton running in October of this year.
Bill Clinton came in a distant third in the first primary contest, the Iowa Caucus and finished second in the New Hampshire primary although New Hampshire was viewed as a victory for the “comeback kid” after reports of an extramarital affair had set to derail his bid.
Could the same fate await Hillary Clinton in 2019? Clinton’s favorable rating among Democrats currently stands at 77%, which is still quite high. With her name recognition and experience, she can afford to sit back and let the current candidates do battle, therefore, conserving her own physical energy.
Positioning herself as a sensible moderate, she could enter the race as a fresh-faced candidate, reeling in the runaway slide to the left and clinching the nomination much like her husband did in 1992.
Thereby setting up the biggest sequel in US political history, Trump v Clinton, part two.