It is not surprising that some political gurus now see the potential of Hillary Clinton as the Democrat Party standard-bearer in 2020. What took them so long?
Inveterate Hillary-watchers like myself understand that the motto propelling her overarching ambition is Dum Spiro, Spero: “Where there’s life, there’s hope.” And since the thrust of Hillary’s life is politics, her hope is that through some third-time’s-the-charm magic she could at last realize her dream of becoming the first female president of the United States.
So it is hardly surprising that as another election cycle gets underway, Her Heinousness is mobilizing to make the seemingly impossible come to pass. As she once again ventures into the political limelight, her opening salvo might be the same as it was four long years ago when, standing among the alien corn at the Iowa state fair, she bellowed, “I’m baaaaa-ck!”
The process, of course, will not be easy. But it has begun. And it was launched, as have so many of her ambitions, with the announcement of a new book, auspiciously brought to fruition. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes yet another book – hers or Chelsea’s or a ghostwriter’s – to raise our awareness that Hillary Clinton is by no means down for the count.
Before the book came the Italian art show in Venice, Italy. Not a particularly prestigious exhibition, it was nevertheless one in which the centerpiece -- at least for Hillary -- was an “installation” consisting of a replica of the president’s desk in the Oval Office, strewn with what were supposed to represent some of the former secretary’s thousands of questionably missing e-mails.
What was not missing was the photo-op for Clinton, who just “happened” to be in the vicinity of the event and graciously came over to sit behind the symbolic piece of furniture for an hour, reading aloud some of her e-mails while the cameras rolled. The visual, I suppose, was to show how well she and the desk fit together.
Since then, Hillary has cropped up in many other venues. Never mind that she’s put on a few pounds and wears the same sort of fuzzy tweed retro jackets. Her most popular party-line fashion statement is her chic hatred for Donald Trump. In that regard -- or disregard -- she shares the runway with at least 20 other Democrat wannabes strutting the same stuff.
So how then does Hillary fight through the pack and get to be top dog -- again? Surely, we’re not seeing any visible signs of enthusiasm for her possible third presidential bid. Still, several significant developments in the primary could bolster her chances of getting back in the race.
For starters, there’s the weak crop of Democratic contenders, three-quarters of whom are still hanging in despite unimpressive poll numbers and unremarkable face-time in the primary debates.
At this point, the top three contenders -- Warren, Biden, and Bernie -- face challenges that suggest none of them would be a shoo-in with Democratic voters. Frequent gaffes, the Ukraine/China scandals, and dubious debating skills could spell the end of Joe Biden. As narcissistic as Uncle Joe is, he likely rues his decision not run in 2016, still believing he could easily have beaten Trump (like a drum) and still could.
The loss of support for Biden, considered the surviving “centrist” in the Democrat race, is all the more reason for Hillary to insinuate herself as the most experienced, moderate, and level-headed grownup in the room, even as she whines like a baby over the injustice of her previous loss and vilifies Trump with irrational fury. (Among other things, she has labeled him “a corrupt human tornado.”)
On the other hand, if she hopes for a rematch, Hillary will have to suck in the political winds of change and let them blow her wherever they will -- even to the far left, if that’s what it takes to get elected.
Like other Trump-thumping Democrats, Clinton doesn’t care whether she stands on principle, a foreign word to her anyway. She’ll stand on not being able to stand the Orange Man in the White House and her willingness to do whatever it takes to best him. She even speculates -- in her hypocritically moralistic manner -- that Donald Trump, himself, knows that he is an “illegitimate president.”
But voters are already aware that Hillary has fueled and financed the anti-Trump train for years. Now her job is to somehow cut ahead of all the other Trump-loathing wannabes and secure herself the top spot on the Democratic ticket.
Elizabeth Warren’s rising poll numbers could give impetus to Clinton’s ambitions. While she claims to support all liberal women seeking public office, the political turmoil Hillary’s been through make unlikely any feelings of enthusiasm at the prospect of another woman getting the nod and maybe the presidency. Even worse, it’s a female with far less burnished credentials than hers. No Wellesley, Yale Law, First Lady, or Secretary of State. And to think that this woman -- as inveterate a liar as herself -- could be sitting at the “real” desk in the Oval Office !
So the scenario, as Hillary likely sees it on the Democratic side, is this: Biden could be having a meltdown. Bernie has suffered a heart attack. Warren -- perhaps considered by many swing voters as too far left -- shows signs of surging. The clear challenge for Hillary now is to figure out how, if it should come to that, she could snatch victory from the jaws of Nervous Nellie, whose dancing skills are even more awkward than hers. And then there’s Trump, on whom the impeachment fracas could take a toll.
Hillary’s only avenue lies through a brokered convention. If a clear winner is chosen before the Democratic Convention in mid-July, 2020, her hopes are dashed.
But if enough candidates continue to wrangle with each other and fail to unite Democrats behind a credible standard-bearer, the door could once again swing wide open for Hillary Clinton.