Donald Trump’s name will sit next to the R on the ballot next November, but the question of who will oppose him remains unanswered. Amid a fierce Democratic primary, some voters hope for (and some voters dread) a familiar face to lead them into the post-Trump era. Here’s why a rerun of 2016 isn’t impossible.
Hillary Clinton makes headlines with nearly every public appearance, but most recently gained attention with a backhanded attack on Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard and a full-on smear of former Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Both public figures, she alleges, are “Russian assets,” referring to Tulsi only as “the favorite of the Russians.” Setting aside the strange resurrection of McCarthyism decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it’s odd for Clinton to weigh in on the race at all.
Politicians of Clinton’s caliber often hold their endorsement for much later in the race, however Clinton’s decision to stay in the public spotlight sends a confusing message. She doesn’t travel around the country speaking to voters as part of a campaign – she does it as a book tour. It’s the same reason she frequently appears on Late Night shows. A book of memoirs wouldn’t raise any eyebrows, but Clinton tours the country for her 2017 book What Happened in which she disputes the results of the 2016 election and reasserts herself as the chosen President of the people. She recently told PBS “Obviously, I can beat [Trump] again,” and few authors not running for office have a policy page on their website.
Few politicians in the United States have maintained political relevance for as long as Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’s racked up quite a few titles in her time, from the First Lady of Arkansas, to the First Lady of the nation, to New York Senator, to the Secretary of State, Democratic Presidential Nominee, and Queen of the Warmongers. Her defeat in 2016 stunned everyone: Hillary herself, her base, and possibly her opponent. However not everyone in the party has learned any lessons from this kerfuffle.
Clinton’s brand post-2016 insists Trump won through cheats and treason, but not even any Democratic hopefuls can loudly reflect on her faults as a candidate, except one. Tulsi Gabbard seeks the “anti-Clinton establishment” vote from Democrats and Independents when she calls her the “embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.” A number of candidates have voiced support for Tulsi since Hillary’s remarks, including Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Marrianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.
The progressive wing can only allude to Clinton’s unenthusiastic support by calling for “big, bold, ideas,” implying Clinton was too moderate. The polls, however, still favor Biden indicating to some Clinton fans that a recognizable moderate could be the key to winning in 2020. With trust in the DNC and the primary process declining, tensions between pro and anti Clinton factions continue to rise. Whether that could prompt Hillary to enter the race herself remains to be seen, but three things are for sure: she wants the presidency, she thinks she could win an election, and she hasn’t ruled it out.
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