Come quickly, SMOD: 2020 New York Senate race may pit Chelsea Clinton against Caroline Kennedy
In case you’re wondering, no, it’s not too early to start your Friday-night drinking. If anything, it’s late.
I’m going to assume for now that this is nothing more than idle tabloid political garbage designed to fill column space, not unlike the rumors of Chelsea’s mom making a comeback by running for mayor. But never assume too much about the Clintons or Kennedys. They’re mold in the walls of the house of American democracy: No matter how much progress you think you’ve made in getting rid of it, it somehow keeps coming back. Maintain vigilance.
Democratic bigwigs are already rumbling about a Kennedy vs. Clinton showdown, should Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand set her sights on the White House in 2020. Both contenders would be former First Daughters: Chelsea Clinton and Caroline Kennedy.
And we’re told that it’s more than just fantasy football for liberals who have nothing else to look forward to.
“What you’re witnessing is the beginning of Chelsea Clinton’s political career,” says a source who has a longstanding relationship with both the Clinton and Kennedy families…
Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy and niece of New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, expressed interest in Hillary’s vacated Senate seat in 2009, but withdrew her candidacy for “personal reasons” before Gov. David Paterson gave the position to Gillibrand.
If there’s any lesson to take from 2016, it’s that voters love uncharismatic members of stale Democratic dynasties. Then again, this is New York, a state that handed Hillary Clinton the only two meaningful electoral wins she ever notched and which sent Caroline Kennedy’s uncle to the Senate a few decades before. A slugfest between two A-list nepotists hailing from the two most famous Democratic dynasties of the last 60 years would be a golden age for political media, especially in NYC. There’s just one hitch: Why does anyone expect Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat to be vacant in 2020, even if she runs for president? No fewer than seven current office-holders competed in last year’s Republican primary; not a single one stepped down from office to focus on his presidential run. On the other side, Bernie Sanders maintained his Senate seat throughout his challenge to Hillary and is a more influential player in the party today than ever before. Gillibrand would be nuts to resign a seat she might conceivably hold for decades facing a crapshoot primary against candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, especially so soon after another former woman senator from New York with ties to Wall Street came up a loser against Trump head to head. There’s no reason to think her seat will end up vacant, and the other seat in New York is currently held by, er, the Senate minority leader, who’s expecting to lead the congressional resistance against Trump for the next two years and who could conceivably be in charge of the chamber come 2019. There’s no room for Chelsea or Caroline in Congress’s upper house right now — at least if they’re planning to run in New York.
There’s not much room anywhere else that might seem logical for them to move either. Connecticut’s locked up pretty tight: Richard Blumenthal just won a new six-year term and Chris Murphy, although up for reelection in 2018, is just 43 years old and is almost certainly running again. There’s always a chance that Bob Menendez will retire in New Jersey before 2018, but a Garden State battle between the two princesses of the Kennedy and Clinton clans just doesn’t feel right. There’s an outside possibility that Bill Nelson will call it quits before his own reelection bid in Florida in 2018, but there are no guarantees — and there are a lot of ambitious native Florida Dems who’ll be scrapping for that seat and eager to call a carpetbagger a carpetbagger if one should appear. If Clinton or Kennedy want a foot in the door in Washington, they may be stuck with — alas — the indignity of a House seat in New York somewhere. So very unglamorous, but at least it’ll put them in line for a Senate slot when one eventually opens up.
Via Newsbusters, here’s a taste of what’s in store if SMOD doesn’t hurry up already and cleanse this planet with fire. Exit question: Let’s face it, the contest people really want in New York is Chelsea versus Ivanka (or, if need be, one of the Trump brothers), right? It’ll never happen, as both sides would sense immediately that Clinton would blow whichever Trump out of the water on very blue turf, but if there’s any hypothetical out there that would excite the media more than Clinton/Kennedy I, it’s Clinton/Trump II.