The good news for Hillary Clinton: It didn’t take long for the Clintonistas of 2016 to rally to the news that their favored candidate might consider another run at the presidency. The bad news: They’re rallying to go on the record to tell her it’s a bad idea. The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports this morning that key Democrats have dispensed with anonymity to declare that the 2020 nominee will be ABH.
That doesn’t stand for Anyone but Harris:
“I haven’t heard a serious suggestion from her or her husband about that. but I think there are plenty of candidates. I think her time has passed,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), who endorsed Clinton in 2016. “She can do what she wishes, but I would hope that we would look for a new candidate.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said “it’s time to let a new generation of leadership rise.”
Jon Tester suggested that she’d had to run outside of the political party she fully owned three years ago:
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who also endorsed Clinton in 2016 as “the most qualified person on the ballot to unite our nation,” warned the environment will be much different in 2020.
“Is she running as a Democrat or is she going to go the coffee man’s way,” he joked, referring to former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who has come under intense fire from Democrats for announcing that he is considering running in 2020 as an independent candidate.
To quote Austin Powers: Ouch, baby. Very ouch. Even the Democrats who went on the record to support — or more accurately, not explicitly discourage — Hillary did do on the “it’s a free country” basis. Jeff Merkley and Kirsten Gillibrand only managed to endorse the idea that the 2020 primaries would be an open forum for anyone who wants to enter should feel free to do so. That in itself is a change from the 2016 cycle. Right, Debbie Wasserman Schultz?
The message here is clear: Stay out. Two Senate Democrats offered that message explicitly to Bolton, albeit anonymously. “Last time we all picked arguably the worst candidate we could have picked,” one told Bolton, and another said that Democrats aren’t anxious to deal with the Clintons’ “baggage” for another election cycle. Actually, Democrats didn’t “pick” Hillary as much as the DNC and the Clinton machine made sure its voters had no other choice — and even then, a backbencher Socialist crank nearly derailed Hillary even with the DNC trying to throw the primaries for her. After all that, she then lost to Donald Trump, a man who probably would have lost to any other Democratic nominee — or at least someone who knew to show up in Wisconsin and Michigan.
The Clintons’ time is over. Hillary’s fellow Democrats know it, even if the Clintons don’t.