There’s a different dynamic at work now — particularly if Clinton waits another few months to make clear exactly what she is going to do in 2016. We are rapidly approaching the point of no return for Clinton. That is, if she were to suddenly take herself out of the race in, say, two months’ time, there would be a massive sense of doom within the party. The shock of the decision would reverberate for weeks — and maybe even months — making it hard for anyone looking to fill the void she left behind.
Now, that doom would eventually be followed by a wild scramble among the Bidens, Martin O’Malleys and, yes, even Elizabeth Warrens of the party for the donors, activists and staffers who had all been assumed to be part of the Clinton machine. But doing things in a hurry with what would widely be regarded as Democrats’ “B” or even “C” team would be deeply problematic.
Simply put: For Clinton to pass on the race — and especially if she waits until summer to make her decision public — would be absolutely disastrous for her party’s chances of holding onto the White House next November. She and her budding team have to know that, and it’s hard for me to imagine that she would have let things go this far — there is, literally, an entire campaign and outside Clinton world already in place for her — if she had any serious or lingering doubts about whether she was going to make the race.