The Corner


Hillary Clinton 5.0?

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton looks down during her South Dakota and Montana presidential primary election night rally in New York, June 3, 2008. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Douglas E. Schoen and Andrew Stein suggest that Hillary Clinton may be gearing up for another shot at the White House:

A perfect storm in the Democratic Party is making a once-unfathomable scenario plausible: a political comeback for Hillary Clinton in 2024.


Several circumstances—President Biden’s low approval rating, doubts over his capacity to run for re-election at 82, Vice President Kamala Harris’s unpopularity, and the absence of another strong Democrat to lead the ticket in 2024—have created a leadership vacuum in the party, which Mrs. Clinton viably could fill.

She is already in an advantageous position to become the 2024 Democratic nominee. She is an experienced national figure who is younger than Mr. Biden and can offer a different approach from the disorganized and unpopular one the party is currently taking.

And Clinton wouldn’t represent a re-run because:

If Democrats lose control of Congress in 2022, Mrs. Clinton can use the party’s loss as a basis to run for president again, enabling her to claim the title of “change candidate.”

This is the point at which I thought, “what?” Hillary Clinton has been a national figure since 1992. One of the big reasons she lost in 2016 was that voters didn’t want to go backwards. It is plausible that the Republicans nominating Donald Trump in 2024 would neutralize that liability, but it certainly wouldn’t change it.

As for this:

In a recent MSNBC interview, Mrs. Clinton called on Democrats to engage in “careful thinking about what wins elections, and not just in deep-blue districts where a Democrat and a liberal Democrat, or so-called progressive Democrat, is going to win.” She also noted that party’s House majority “comes from people who win in much more difficult districts.”

This is correct in the abstract, but it doesn’t really apply to Hillary Clinton. She won her Senate race in New York in 2000 — albeit by less than one would have expected, given how well Al Gore performed — and she was reelected there in 2006, but her performances on the national stage have been notably subpar. In 2008, she managed to lose the primary to the mostly unknown Barack Obama. In 2016, she nearly lost the primary to Bernie Sanders, before losing the general to Donald Trump. And, even in the Democratic wave year of 2018, she remained remarkably unpopular.

Schoen and Stein conclude their piece by arguing that “if Democrats want a fighting chance at winning the presidency in 2024, Mrs. Clinton is likely their best option.” If that is true, the Democratic party is in more trouble than we thought.


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