Will she run? That’s the question that almost every news organization has been asking almost immediately since President Obama’s re-election in 2012. Although this is a legitimate question for any one to ask, it is a silly question. Hillary Clinton is obviously running for president; everything she has been doing since leaving the State Department speaks “campaign.”
Clinton is a very strong candidate and would be tough to beat should anyone else decide to run. Her experience is extensive. After leaving the White House as first lady, she became a United States Senator, representing the state of New York. She served the Obama Administration for the first 4 years of his term as Secretary of State and was arguably one of the best diplomats this country has ever had in that position. Her popularity and job approval rating were always high while in the State Department and she often even received praise from both Republicans and Independents. So if Clinton became the Democratic nominee, she would bring great experience and would be highly electable in the general election.
Now, the Real Talk…
Clinton has a couple of problems. As she continues to position herself to earn the nomination, she continues to make blunders so early in the process that can potentially derail her candidacy. An example from couple of weeks ago, Clinton claimed that she and the former President Bill Clinton were “dirt broke” after leaving the White House. If Clinton expects to win votes, she needs to mold her messaging a lot better. Regardless of whether this is true on paper, this country is still going through an economic recovery and don’t necessarily care about the financial troubles of politicians. If this “out of touch” statement was said in 2016, she could very well have lost, as Mitt Romney’s 47% quote did for him in 2012.
Clinton also faces the potential problem of “Clinton-fatigue” again. We saw in the 2008 primaries where voters were tired of having a Clinton or a Bush on the ballot and wanted change. Then-Senator Barack Obama capitalized on that and eventually won the nomination.
Obama’s ascension to the Democratic nomination was not taken well by Clinton. It appeared to me that Clinton expected to win the nomination and was upset that some unknown senator was taking her spot. She came off with an attitude that she was entitled to the Democratic nomination and that nobody else had a right to it. While she hasn’t displayed that attitude yet, this whole idea of being the inevitable candidate can possibly be detrimental if someone else decides to run.
Bottom line, I think there should be a real election with multiple candidates. If Clinton ends up being the only candidate running for the nomination, it will limit the choices of the American people. Even if you support Clinton 100%, she would still be better served by having won the primary with multiple candidates, rather than being handed the nomination. It would make her (or whoever wins) a much stronger candidate in the general election.
In addition, with Clinton’s more moderate views, some voters are eagerly looking for an alternative, rather than continuing the Clinton dynasty. Here are a few candidates that I think should absolutely run.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA –
Warren is probably the biggest threat to a Clinton candidacy. A staunch opponent of Wall Street and the one percent, Warren has come off as a progressive populist and has recently been around the country campaigning for democratic candidates for the senate. The results of those senate elections in the 2014 midterms will likely show us how effective of a campaigner she is, especially in those red states that she’s visited recently. She has said she is not running, however, if she does she would be a very strong candidate.
Vice Pres. Joe Biden –
Usually the next person in a party to run after the current President is termed out is the Vice President. However, Biden has been overshadowed by the potential candidacy of Clinton. I think Biden would be an excellent president. He’s a straight talker and you always know where he stands on the issues. He’s a fighter for the middle and working class and tends to be even more liberal than the President on some issues. His age might be a concern for Americans, but he could definitely garner support.
Other candidates I think should run. Not necessarily because I agree with all of their policies (although some I do), but because I believe that we need a competitive field to give Democrats choice and so that we can hear where everyone is on the issues. This will make Democrats stronger in the general election as it will define the Democratic priorities as the nominee faces off against the Republican candidate for president.
Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-MD
Gov. Deval Patrick, D-MA
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY
Fmr. Gov. Brian Sweitzer, D-MT
Gov. Steve Beshear, D-KY
*Credit Huffington Post, ABC News, Politico for the photos.