Is Hillary Clinton hoping the third time will be a charm?

There’s speculation (not three months after the November election) that Hillary Clinton will try again for the presidency. Former George W. Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer writes at Politico how Clinton is probably laying the groundwork for a third run, while still trying to appear as if she’s not.

Consider. Shortly after Clinton’s shock-the-world, hysteria-inducing defeat last November the Clinton Global Initiative announced plans to cease operations. The CGI—the most scandal-plagued arm of the Clinton Foundation—was a ground zero of grief for the Clinton campaign. Labeled a slush fund for political operations, paid for by foreign governments, it was an endless and easy target of complaints about conflicts of interest and graft. Yet despite pleas to do so by various supporters throughout the 2016 campaign, the Clintons time and again refused to shut it down. Which raises the question: What advantage, other than a political one, is there to doing so now?

Similarly, why did the Clintons allow rumors to circulate—rumors they still haven’t officially quashed—that the former secretary of state was/is/might be considering a run for mayor of New York City? For the thrill of it? Out of spite toward the current mayor, who supported her candidacy for the White House? Or might there be another reason to keep alive the idea that Hillary Clinton’s political fortunes aren’t in the rear-view mirror?

Last week, Clinton signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster. That alone isn’t noteworthy. This, after all, would be her seventh book, if you count her campaign policy venture/insomnia cure, Stronger Together. But added to all the other activities afoot, it raises few questions. Does she really have that much more to say? Or might there be another reason, besides money that she does not need, to go on a book tour, answer humiliating questions about losing to Donald Trump and stay in the headlines?

Latimer also guesses Clinton is going to run in 2020 because of her “3-0” comment on Twitter after the appeals court ruled against President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order. He also cited her concession speech where she didn’t exactly sound like she was done.

“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day, someone will,” she said, adding, “and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.” She then quoted a line of Scripture: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” And she concluded, tellingly, with this: “So my friends, let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary, let us not lose heart, for there are more seasons to come. And there is more work to do.”

We all know the Clintons are power hungry people who want to have some sort of influence in one place or another. But why in the world would she want to subject herself to another presidential campaign? If it’s pure ego, then okay, that makes sense from a Clinton point of view. If it’s because she really thinks she can beat Trump in the electoral college, then okay, that makes sense from a Clinton point of view. I’m just honestly not sure it’s really wise for her to try again (but hey, if she wants to spend the money, then fine). Let’s remember Al Gore eschewed a second run against George W. Bush, even though he won the popular vote in 2000.

Why in the world would the Democrats actually want her to be the candidate and/or nominee again? The party can easily sit there and say, “Nope, you had your shot twice…and lost.” She may still have supporters, but are there enough people of various political stripes who would be willing to vote for her in a rematch against Trump (as a libertarian who didn’t vote for either major candidate in 2016, I say no). She’s not exactly popular (RealClearPolitics has her at 43% average, but that was last taken before the election), and there’s gotta be better candidates out there for the Democrats (and no, not Elizabeth Warren, even though she’s got her fans).

Of course, it might make sense to run Clinton in 2020 because who else is there? The party made sure Bernie Sanders didn’t get the nomination, and Martin O’Malley flamed out before his campaign really got started. New Jersey Senator Corey Booker will probably get some notice, as will ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (why, I don’t know). Maybe Massachusetts Senator Liz Warren will get a push, but is she really that different than Sanders (except being a woman and eight years younger). Let’s be honest, Warren is the female version of Ted Cruz, just older and a bit more of a statist. She’ll get the populist vote, but there would probably be plenty of establishment Democrats who wouldn’t vote for her unless Warren was able to get the party (and voters) behind her. That’d be the big question Warren and Clinton would face.

Of course, at this rate, maybe Hillary Clinton Version 3.0 IS the best chance for Democrats, until they can figure out who exactly is part of their bench.