Analyst Charlie Cook, a 40-year veteran of Washington politics who often reflects the consensus of political handicappers in Washington, told a National Journal audience in Washington today that he is increasing the chances that Hillary Clinton doesn’t seek the Democratic nomination in 2016 to 40 percent, up from 30 percent. “She didn’t have a great time on the book tour, and people in their late 60s usually don’t make a nine-year commitment (to run and serve as president) easily,” he said. He described running for president in the modern era as “a horrific marathon process of groveling to people you may not even like.”
A 2016 campaign without Hillary would open up the Democratic nomination to candidates ranging from Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Maryland governor Martin O’Malley on the left to former Indiana senator Evan Bayh (who expressed interest in running last week) on the right.
Cook also said he would be surprised if Jeb Bush ran for the Republican nomination in 2016 because the party’s base “is moving away from him on the two issues he cares about most: immigration and education with a strong element of support for the Common Core in it.” Cook also said that the weak economy and President Obama’s failure to accomplish more in office gives Republicans a 60 percent chance of retaking the U.S. Senate this fall.