Democrats can't shake the Ghost of Clintons Past

The messaging strategy of the Democrats during this mid-term cycle has been clear. They’ve become disillusioned with the old, moderate, centrist tone taken by party leaders in the past. (Or at least what they perceive as moderate, anyway.) They’re ready for fresh blood and new leadership, lifting up a generation of proudly liberal, largely young, female and minority voices. In short, they are once again ready to “move on.” But will Hillary Clinton let them?

That seems to be the underlying question our friend Liz Mair poses in a new column at the Daily Beast. Dear God, Hillary. Please just go.

We’re three weeks out from the 2018 midterm election, and Hillary Clinton is popping up again like a Halloween ghoul who keeps rising from the grave to terrorize the American public; only this time accompanied by the increasingly #MeToo burdened uber-villain, Bubba.

The Clintons, it seems, can’t seem to call it quits, even if it means leaving members of their own party cringing and many more voters ready to “headdesk” themselves into a coma.

This time, it’s happening courtesy of a pay-through-the-nose-to-see-them rehab tour. Because if there’s one thing America hasn’t had enough of over recent decades, it’s efforts by the Clintons to recast themselves as normal, likeable people, as they cash checks and play the victim.

She goes on at length from there, describing a party which claims to be ready to embrace the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kamala Harris. But every time the Bill and Hillary show rolls into town, the message gets bogged down and they’re dragged back to their old Clintonite ways. Ther turn on the stage by all rights should be over. But nobody in the Democratic leadership seems to want to be impolite enough to start playing the exit music and ushering them off to retirement.

But is that really true? Are the Democrats really ready to “move on” and go rogue on the socialist side? I would remind everyone of that recent poll that CNN ran where they put forward all of the plausible Democratic candidates who have expressed an interest in running in 2020. It includes many of the names that Liz mentions in her column. But the guy who came in first place by a mile (with 33%) was Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders managed a meager 13% and nobody else made it out of single digits.

Does that sound like a party looking for fresh faces? Their current leadership and crop of midterm candidates are certainly speaking the language of party revolution, but it’s not clear to me that their base of voters is ready to embrace it. That’s not to say they want Hillary Clinton back, but they also might not be ready to go Full Socialist. (You never want to go Full Socialist.) By next spring we should have a better idea of who is running and which way the progressive base is leaning, but for now, the Bill and Hillary show is still on the road. For Democrats, it’s just a fact of life.

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