When Hillary Clinton stood in front of her millions of supporters on November 9, 2016 and consoled women and girls around the world by saying “We have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling … someday someone will,” we assumed she didn’t mean herself. We assumed she meant one of those women “who put their faith in [her] campaign.” Well, it’s been two years since then and it looks like Clinton might be revving up for her next go at that ceiling. Or is she?
We’ve been getting some mixed messages from the Clinton camp about their plans for 2020. It was widely understood in 2016 that Hill wouldn’t be running again. Her concession speech pointed to the up-and-coming women who “hopefully sooner than we might think right now” would have their shot at being the first female president. Now, she’s suggesting that she still wants it to be her.
At a Q & A with Clinton over the weekend, interviewer Kara Swisher asked the former-presidential candidate if she wanted to run again. Clinton initially replied “No,” but then things got a little dicey.
“Well, I’d like to be president,” she added, before getting into “the work” that will need to be done by a potential Democratic president come 2021. Work she feels she’s uniquely qualified for.
“We have confused our friends and our enemies, they have no idea what the United States stands for,” she said. “The work would be work that I feel very well-prepared for having been in the Senate for eight years, having been a diplomat in the State Department. And it’s just going to be a lot of heavy lifting.”
She finished with an even less convincing answer.
“I’m not even going to think about it until we get through this November 6th [midterm] election, about what’s going to happen after that,” she said. If running isn’t on your mind, it’s usually pretty easy to just say “no” when asked if you’re going to run for president. We certainly wouldn’t have trouble if we were asked the same question.
The following day, Clinton advisers and allies told The Hill that Clinton is not considering another presidential run. Long-time confidantes of the former-candidate pointed to this time four years ago when she already had donors lining up to fund her run.
“She’s not running. I think it would be pretty damn clear if she was,” said one.
Perhaps, but why tease everyone by not giving a straight answer? Sounds like somebody might be testing the waters.
If that’s the case, Clinton might not be happy about what she finds. Not only do Republicans seem as hostile toward her as ever (they still chant “lock her up” regularly at Trump rallies), her own party isn’t as enamored with her as it once was. There are the old accusations of her being an establishment politician and renewed arguments that she’s not as good for women as she seems since her recent comments on the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton scandal in the light of Me Too.
Not to mention, there are a ton of fresh Democratic female faces out there that bring none of the negative baggage that Hillary has. There are established women on the national stage like Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Elizabeth Warren who have both made headlines during the Trump presidency. There are far more progressive candidates at lower levels of government too like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in New York and Stacey Abrams in Georgia who are pushing the established Dems farther Left and could be on the national stage within a few years.
Hillary Clinton’s historic 2016 campaign (and backlash from Donald Trump‘s win) paved the way for all these new women in politics whether by inspiring them or alerting people to the fact that we need to pay attention to them. We can’t suggest that Hillary wasn’t a crucial factor in what many are calling “The Year of the Woman,” but it doesn’t necessarily mean she should be the next president.