Could 2020 be a rerun of 2016? Michael Goodwin sees the portents for a rematch between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, thanks to her renewed interest in running her super-PAC. She’s sending out more missives attacking Trump, arranging payments to allied groups, and has even helped launch a campaign against whomever Trump nominates for the Supreme Court — run by longtime aide Brian Fallon.
“Hillary is up to something,” Goodwin wrote yesterday, and he thinks it might just be a comeback, in large part because of a lack of competition:
First, because there’s no clear front-runner for the nomination 18 months into Trump’s presidency, Clinton remains the closest thing to an incumbent. She’s also got numerous advantages, from name recognition to campaign experience to an off-the-shelf Cabinet, that could give her a head start.
Second, a crowded, diverse field diminishes the chances of anyone knocking her off. Recall how Trump outlasted 16 GOP rivals by having a committed core of supporters that grew as the field shrunk. Clinton could be in a similar position — unpopular among many, but also unbeatable by a single opponent.
Third, looking ahead to the 2020 primaries, she sees no reason to fear the favorite daughters and sons in key blue states. She would almost certainly beat Sen. Kamala Harris in California, Sen. Cory Booker in New Jersey and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York. …
Fourth, money is not an issue. Some donors will resist Clinton at first, but any Dem nominee can count on all the money in the world to run against Trump.
Fox News is certainly excited by the prospect:
Could Hillary Clinton be planning a 2020 comeback? New York Post op-ed suggests it could be true pic.twitter.com/8nXYwZScuN
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 9, 2018
Well, why not? It’s not like Democrats have a compelling leader emerging with the start of the presidential primary process a year or so away. Not only is the current average age of the leadership of the Democratic Party approaching the octogenarian level, its most celebrated potential presidential candidates are too — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders — as Goodwin also points out. Elizabeth Warren is a relative youngster at 69. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker are getting crowded out by the Baby Boomers who won’t go away.
The notion of Baby Boomers hanging onto their moment by their fingernails brings us right back to Hillary Clinton, of course. It seems absurd to think that she’d run again, because it is absurd. If Trump fails in his first term, then practically any Democrat would beat him, and Democrats have options with far less baggage than Hillary. If Trump succeeds, he’ll beat any of them, especially Hillary, who’s terrible on the stump anyway and would appear to be even more self-centered with a third tilt at the White House. Does she even have an argument that doesn’t center on her own ambition yet, despite having run twice for the job? Besides, Bill’s book-tour comments on Monica Lewinsky and #MeToo gave a very good hint at what’s to come in a Democratic primary, and especially in a general election.
Goodwin’s observations about Hillary’s activity can be explained in a different way: she wants to be a kingmaker (or queenmaker, if you will). She may be using her influence to shape the battlefield and to create IOUs, as Goodwin surmises, but to put her in position to help pick the next nominee more than to be it. Hillary must realize by now that she’s not a good enough candidate to win an election and that she has to work behind the scenes to succeed.
I mean, by now she has to realize that, right? Right?
Well, if not, it won’t just be Fox News that gets excited. It’ll be everyone on the Right, and especially Trump, who can run in 2020 on the same informal platform that helped him win in 2016: Keep the Clintons away from power. It’ll work in 2020, too.