As Hillary Re-Emerges, Some Democrats Worry

Former adviser Reines, however, says the party would be foolish to disregard her
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2018 11:16 AM CDT
Chance of Hillary Running? 'Not Zero'
Hillary Clinton says she isn't running, but not everybody believes her.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – "No, I'm not going to run again." So declared Hillary Clinton this week in an interview with BBC Radio. Clinton, however, said she planned to remain in the public eye criticizing President Trump, reports CNBC. One thing that seems clear: Given her re-emergence on the national stage, lots of people think she will, in fact, run for president in 2020—and lots of Democrats are conflicted about that. Details and developments:

  • Pro-Hillary: A Politico piece headlined "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Hillary?" talks to some of those conflicted Democrats. But it also quotes from Clinton adviser Philippe Reines, who argues that no other Democrat even comes close to her base of support. "Chalking the loss up to her being a failed candidate is an oversimplification," he says. "She is smarter than most, tougher than most, she could raise money easier than most, and it was an absolute fight to the death." He thinks it's unlikely, but possible, that she will run. The chances are "not zero."
  • Anti-Hillary: A good example of the "please, no" camp is a piece by Liz Mair in the Daily Beast, who likens Clinton to a zombie who won't stay down. "Hillary remains caught up in the delusion that the only reason she lost in 2016 was because of Russian interference," writes Mair. "She does not seem to have fully processed the fact that she lost the Electoral College, the only vote that counts."

  • Another: Michelle Cottle, a member of the New York Times editorial board, wrote an op-ed arguing that Clinton is doing her party more harm than good ahead of the midterms with all her public appearances. Instead of generating support among Democrats and independents, she's merely energizing the Republican base, Cottle writes.
  • Bannon's view: "She's a lion in winter," Steve Bannon tells Politico. "Not only is she running, she should run. In the Democratic Party, the question is can anybody throw a punch or take a punch, and one thing we know about Hillary Clinton is she can take a punch." Trump, for his part, says he hopes she runs.
  • Lewinsky controversy: Last weekend, Clinton told CBS that her husband's affair with a 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky didn't constitute an abuse of power because Lewinsky was an adult, reports USA Today. Clinton continues to take flak for this, including from Tarana Burke, who's credited with starting the #MeToo movement. "It's absolutely an abuse of power," Burke tells the Root. "Two people made a choice and one of those people was the most powerful man in the world." And former Obama adviser David Axelrod wrote: "Just guessing this isn't the story Democratic candidates were looking for in the homestretch of the midterms."
  • A tour: Clinton will further raise her public profile with a series of appearances starting next month with Bill Clinton to talk about the 2016 loss and other issues, reports Business Insider. "An Evening With the Clintons" will visit 13 cities, with tickets ranging from $60 to $745.
  • Low numbers: A Gallup poll in September put Clinton's favorability rating at a record low 36%. That's down 7 points from the eve of the election. The partisan split: 77% favorable rating among Democrats, 30% among independents, and 4% among Republicans.
  • Clinton also drew attention for asserting that "civility" will return to the US only when Democrats reassume power.
(Read more Hillary Clinton stories.)

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