The battle for 2020: Possible Democratic presidential candidates
Don’t do it. Spare us all. Walk away.
You may be dying to run for president again. But from all of us sporting those bumper stickers that say “Any functioning adult 2020”, we beg you: Don’t.
It’s not that you’re not a functioning adult. It’s that you would lose, and we would go four more agonizingly long years with that same non-functioning adult in the White House. For those of us in the Anybody But Trump camp, you are a massive threat.
Maybe our worries are premature. Maybe you have no intention of running. Maybe the op-ed this week in the Wall Street Journal by your former pollster, Mark Penn, and New York politician Andrew Stein headlined “Hillary Will Run Again” is way off base. After all, they cite no real evidence that you’re planning on it.
But forgive us for believing it might be so. After all, you yourself left the door wide open in an interview last month with Recode’s Kara Swisher, telling her “I’d like to be president” and that it “would be work that I feel very well prepared for…”
OK, so you would be very well prepared for it. Few people in the nation’s history have a better resume for the job – US senator, Secretary of State, First Lady, Wellesley and Yale Law graduate. And you’ve been within sniffing distance of the job for decades. You even won the most votes two years ago.
We get why that would all justify a run in your mind. Except one thing. As you said in “What Happened,” your book about the 2016 race:
“I have come to terms with the fact that a lot of people – millions and millions of people – decided they just didn’t like me.” You are, as you said in that book, “a lightning rod for fury.”
So many things would go wrong if you ran. You would again justifiably be seen as untrustworthy. The “Crooked Hillary” epithet would reemerge and stick. Your “basket of deplorables” comment would fire up President Trump’s base. Your vote for the Iraq war would be rehashed.
More women won elections last week than any time in US history, including more than 100 to Congress. That’s long overdue and a cause for celebration. We hope that momentum will continue in 2020, including with impressive women running for president. But you are not the best candidate to capitalize on this trend. Even amid this tide and the #MeToo movement, it wouldn’t take much for Trump and his backers to blunt or minimize that line of attack, with you married to you-know-who.
You had the second-lowest approval ratings of any presidential candidate in generations and managed to lose to the person with the lowest. Not much has changed since then.
You would win the Democratic-leaning states, but you’d be no threat to flip a Republican state and you’d be a dicey pick in the purple states. Florida? Ohio? Michigan? North Carolina? Trump. Trump. Trump. And Trump.
America has a major case of Hillary fatigue. And we cringe at the idea of four more years of policy by tweet, inflammatory insults, America playing to its worst fears rather than its greatest hopes. There’s one way to make that likely.
The stakes are too high. Please, don’t do it.