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Hillary Just Won the 2016 Election

Everyone has assumed up to this point that Hillary Clinton is likely to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, but that has now become an undeniable fact. Why? Because Bill Kristol, who is wrong about every single prediction he makes, says that she won’t win.

This week’s Time magazine splashes the question on its cover: “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?” The Weekly Standard is happy to provide our friends at Time with an answer to their query: Yes. Hillary Clinton can be stopped. How? Let us count the ways.

The easiest way Hillary can be stopped is if she stops herself. She can choose not to run. Indeed, Time reports “on good authority” that “Hillary Clinton has not decided whether to run for president again.” There is a reasonable chance she’ll decide not to. She’s an intelligent woman. She remembers that her last experience of running for president wasn’t fun and didn’t end well. She knows that winning the Democratic nomination won’t be as easy as the media now pretend and that the general election will be, at best, a 50-50 proposition. Time points out that Hillary is now “able to dominate discussion of 2016 even as she sails above it.” Of course, the moment she announces, Hillary will no longer be “sailing above it.” It will be all downhill from the announcement. Why bother?

Because there’s so much she wants to accomplish as president, and only she can accomplish those things? No. Hillary has no agenda different from that of other generic Democratic candidates, or for that matter from Barack Obama, the man she would succeed. Hillary’s first term would in reality be Obama’s third. She’d be tinkering with his successes and trying to cope with his failures. Becoming president in 2009 after eight years of dastardly Republican rule, with a chance to make things anew, was an exciting prospect for a liberal. Succeeding the modern liberal president after two terms? Hillary may well decide it’s not worth the candle.

There’s also the matter of winning the nomination. Hillary is very likely to be out of step with the Democratic primary electorate in 2016—too close to Wall Street, too establishment, a prominent part of an administration that employed drone strikes and used the NSA in all sorts of dastardly ways. For Democrats in 2016, Hillary Clinton might be too much of a .  .  . Clinton Democrat. She’ll have a tougher nomination fight than everyone now expects.

And then there’s the general election. The only time since 1952 a party has held the White House for a third successive term was in 1988, when George H. W. Bush won, in effect, Ronald Reagan’s third term. Will the country be in as good shape in 2016 as it was in 1988, ready to vote for a continuation of the same party in office? Will Hillary’s opponent be as hapless as Michael Dukakis? It’s possible.

It’s more likely that Hillary goes down in the general election, a representative of the old order losing to a younger, fresher Republican face.

So she probably isn’t gonna run. And even if she does, she isn’t likely to win the nomination. And even if she wins the nomination, she isn’t likely to win the presidency. So says the most inaccurate predictor in American politics. Hillary might as well start picking out drapes for the White House right now.

Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    Clinton is within a year of being the same age as me. I kind of feel like we’re too old. But if she doesn’t, I guess she should go for it.

  2. says

    Has Hillary ever failed to support use of military force? Other than the time she was dodging sniper fire in Kosovo, ‘cuz it was aimed at her.

    I’m sure she’d be the lesser of two evils based on what the republicans’d come up with, but I think she’s probably more of an authoritarian/militarist than Obama. Which is to say she’s a horrible human being who should be kept as far from power as possible.

  3. Chiroptera says

    She’s an intelligent woman. She remembers that her last experience of running for president wasn’t fun and didn’t end well.

    What? How did that not end well? She ended up as Secretary of Freakin’ State! That is a very powerful and prestigious position.

  4. says

    This analysis fails to account for the fact that the Republicans are pretty likely to nominate someone as blandly disagreeable as Mitt Romney, or else a complete science-denying nutbar. It forgets that her chance of winning are greatly influenced by the quality of her opponent, and I don’t see much reason to believe that quality will be very high.

  5. atheistblog says

    It’s unfair from your part Ed. I don’t know whether this article or opinion is presented as predictions.
    It sounds like more of an analysis of Hillary’s prospect in coming years. May be Bill predicted before and failed.
    I think with that prejudice you totally misreading this article. Ed I expect you of more unbiased, but you disappoint me on this one. Obama is Bush’s 3rd and 4th term. Hillary if she goes to white house, obviously gonna be 3rd and 4th term of Obama. And I don’t believe that no viable progressive candidates will contest in the primary. So that means am I predicting Hilary future ? It’s a frigging analysis or opinion, Ed. You let me down on this.

  6. colnago80 says

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #2

    I’m sure she’d be the lesser of two evils based on what the republicans’d come up with, but I think she’s probably more of an authoritarian/militarist than Obama.

    Obama is certainly an authoritarian of sorts but he ain’t no militarist. Quite the contrary, he has shown considerable restraint in not intervening in Syria, despite the pressure being applied by many liberal chickenhawks. He also showed considerable restraint in Libya, allowing Sarkozy and Cameron to carry the ball, a stance which earned him the ire of the Krauthammers of the world.

  7. John Pieret says

    atheistblog @ 7:

    The last lines of the article:

    Hillary likely won’t run. If she does, she likely won’t win.

    We Think.

    That sounds like predicting Hilary’s future to me.

    Actually, I think Kristol accurately describes some of Hillary’s “baggage.” But that doesn’t mean she won’t run and win against any “younger, fresher [loonier] Republican face” that will emerge from the Tea Party primaries.

  8. Michael Heath says

    The almost always wrong Bill Kristol:

    There is a reasonable chance she’ll decide not to. She’s an intelligent woman. She remembers that her last experience of running for president wasn’t fun and didn’t end well.
    [Heath bolded]

    This is simply not true. Certainly the Clinton 2012 campaign didn’t achieve its ultimate objectives, winning the nomination and election. But Hillary Clinton didn’t flame-out and lose so much as she got beat by an incredible candidate. Ms. Clinton ran a successful campaign in terms of continuing to build her brand along with leveraging the opportunity after the election to successfully serve as Secretary of State.

    Let’s not forget how conservatives successfully demonized Hillary Clinton during the 1990s. But by the end of 2008 and afterwards, few people are as respected by Americans as Hillary Clinton. The right wing propaganda will have its work cut-out demonizing her now given Americans know, like, trust her, and find her to be competent and one of the few adults in the room.

  9. says

    Ms. Clinton ran a successful campaign in terms of continuing to build her brand along with leveraging the opportunity after the election to successfully serve as Secretary of State.

    I disagree — I saw her campaign as half-assed, crippled by her earlier failure to respond to her loony-right critics, and sometimes downright petty and desperate in its use of “sources” like WorldNutDaily to demonize Obama’s team. She showed no vision, no resolve, no ability to articulate a clear and coherent message, and no real willingness to overtly attack the most evil features of the Republican Party. She represented (to me at least) the tired old generation of Democrats who gave up on their vision in the ’80s and have since tried to appeal to the “independent” category by capitulating to Republican tax cuts, militarism, and abandonment of the neediest Americans. (Although, to be fair, the rest of her party was, and still is, crippled in the same ways as Hillary; but it was Obama’s superior willingness to break out of those bounds that won him the nomination, and the election, which I’m sure Hillary would have lost.)

  10. colnago80 says

    Re Ragilng Bee @ #13

    Hey Bee, how about former Governor McDonnell; couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

  11. jamessweet says

    There’s only two parts of this that are not crazy: 1) I think Clinton choosing to run is not QUITE the slam-dunk that most pundits seem to think, and I think Kristol has the reasons mostly right. (As others have pointed out, it’s wrong to say that the 2008 primary “didn’t end well”… but it seems to have been very psychologically draining for the Clinton family, and didn’t secure the nomination, so while I’d bet pretty heavily against it, there’s a chance that she’ll decide it’s just not worth the stress, especially since she can continue to have tremendous influence in other ways, as she does with her current job). And 2) the general election is probably pretty close to 50/50, at least from this far out. I daresay that if the GOP had even one candidate that didn’t completely and totally suck, I’d put the odds well below 50/50. Times are rough, and the message to “try something different” tends to resonate in rough times, even if the logic behind such an argument is deficient. Kristol is right to point out that 3 terms for one party is a rarity in modern times, and there are reasons for that… dumb reasons, but reasons nonetheless. Still, I would not be surprised to see it happen in 2016, simply because the Republicans don’t have any decent candidates.

  12. says

    Well, Chris “Fat Bastard” Christie is a “more deserving guy.” But I do hope McDonnell gets what he deserves too. So much for my prediction that the most credible Republican candidates for President would come from Virginia. Maybe George “Felix Macaca” Allen can make a comeback…?

  13. juliestahlhut says

    There are no younger, fresher Republican faces. They’ve all been run out of town by the prematurely fossilized like of Cruz, Ryan, Jindal, and Rubio.

  14. colnago80 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #12

    I would have to disagree with MH as to Hillary’s performance in 2012. A number of articles were written in various publications at the time that demonstrated that she pissed away a substantial monetary advantage early on when Obama could have been stopped by wasteful spending.

    As I stated in a comment on a previous post on this blog, the problem that Cuomo, Gillibrand, O’Malley, Warren, Warner, Schweitzer, etc. will face is fund raising. From everything I have read, Hillery learned her lesson in 2008 and will not make the same mistakes again.

  15. magistramarla says

    As for a fresh new face, I’m thinking that Hillary will (or at least should) name one of the Castro brothers from Texas as a running mate. Since I think that Joaquin is doing a great job as a representative already, and since Julian was the one who was introduced to the Democratic Party via his great speech at the last convention, I think that Julian will be the VP pick.
    This would definitely ruin any GOP hopes of gaining any of the Latino vote, and might go a long, long way towards turning Texas blue. I admire both of those brothers, and I would love to see one of them become our first Hispanic president.

  16. says

    It’s more likely that Hillary goes down in the general election, a representative of the old order losing to a younger, fresher Republican face.

    Unfortunately, the republican idea of a “younger, fresher face” would be Paul Ryan, who is not nearly as bright as he thinks he is. He couldn’t last in a debate with a gaffe machine like Joe Biden. Hillary Clinton would have him for lunch in a presidential debate.

    As much as I love Kristol’s unbroken record of being wrong, It’s far too early to make any predictions about 2016. I remember when “everybody knew” that Hillary was going to be unbeatable in 2008 and that the democratic primary was just a formality on her way to a coronation. Having said that, I also agree with magistramaria that tapping one of the Castro brothers as the running mate would be a masterful stroke. It might even put Texas in play for the democrats. But I’m not putting any money down on anything yet.

  17. colnago80 says

    Re magistramaria @ #19

    Speaking of Democratic candidates in Texas, it appears that putative gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis got caught blotting her copy book.

  18. freemage says

    Honestly, I was also never very impressed with Obama’s actual campaign skills. He simply benefited, repeatedly, from a multitude of inept opponents. Look at this list:

    1: Jack Ryan, Obama’s opponent in BHO’s original run for junior senator from Illinois, who, when reporters managed to get Ryan’s divorce proceedings from his marriage to Jeri Ryan, bailed from the campaign faster than you could say “7 of 9 in a sex club”.

    2: Alan Keyes, brought in to IL from NY to replace Ryan on the ticket, because none of the local GOP was willing to jump into a doomed run. Keyes was such an ineffective candidate that, after the first debate, Obama had time to go around to other states and stump for Democratic candidates there–something which I’m sure helped him get in good graces with the Dem establishment, which was important in the next race.

    3: The three-way Dem Presidential primary for 2008 was interesting. I was dead-certain that this was going to be a repeat of prior attempts by women and PoCs to run for the Dem nomination–a period of breathless self-congratulations on letting a woman and a black man get this far, then everyone votes for the white guy. But Edwards couldn’t get a lock, in part because with both Hillary AND Barack in the race, he couldn’t tie up either the closet racists or the closet sexists in the party. And then he bailed–in a moved timed far too close to the eventual revelation of his marital infidelity for me to believe it was coincidental. I suspect he knew things were about to break open, and he didn’t want to go down in flames.

    4: BHO vs. Hillary Clinton left Hillary in a tough spot. BHO was a political naif, but she couldn’t say she was more experienced at government than Obama, unless she counted her time as First Lady–a period that many liberals have long resented as a time of perpetual betrayal and/or failure, as well as reminding everyone of the cigar and blue dress. Obama locked up the gay vote and the environmental vote simply by existing as an alternative.

    5: McCain SHOULD have been a serious challenge. But in a race that should’ve been a case study in “youth and energy vs. experience and wisdom”, McCain nominated as his running partner the most un-wise and inexperienced individual he could find, and then failed utterly to contain her. On top of that, McCain himself often seemed half-there during interviews, which pushed ‘experienced’ into ‘old’ in the public mind, making the relevance of Palin being a ‘heart attack away from the Presidency’ a very real concern.

    6: And finally, after a long, grueling circular firing squad of a Republican primary season, BHO’s second-term challenger was… Mitt Romney, the only man in America capable of making Al Gore seem dynamic and personable–and with the attitude of an entitled shitbag on top of it.

    Note that in both of those last two elections, Obama’s victory was razor-thin, despite the general ineptitude of his opponents. If the GOP actually had someone who wasn’t completely unlikable as a candidate, I’m pretty sure those races would’ve gone the other way. As it is, I’m very grateful that Christie didn’t run in 2012–I think he might’ve been able to take Obama at that point.

    Now, Hillary is a lot more seasoned than when she went up against Barack–but she also has the problem of still being a known centrist. I think a slightly more liberal, or even just a more closeted centrist, would be able to take her down in the primary season again. So I suspect she’ll be waiting to see who else looks likely to run before committing.

  19. naturalcynic says

    RBee:

    (Although, to be fair, the rest of her party was, and still is, crippled in the same ways as Hillary; but it was Obama’s superior willingness to look like he would break out of those bounds that won him the nomination, and the election, which I’m sure Hillary probably would not have won by the margin Obama did.)

    FIFY
    especially if the R;s would have nominated Grumpy and Sister Sarah

  20. freemage says

    colnago: I Googled to find out what you were referring to with regards to Wendy Davis. I don’t see many discrepancies beyond unimportant details (FREX:Tthe biggest gotcha seems to be that she said she ‘divorced at 19′, when the actual divorce was finalized when she was 21. I’ve had friends and family go through divorce, and have no trouble at all believing hers, which included a custody settlement, took more than a year to complete, especially if you count the initial separation period before her decision to file papers.) There’s no actual break from the ‘narrative’–got married and divorced young, worked hard to get through school, did very well academically, turned her life around, got remarried, got divorced again.

    Hell, I’d call into question the claim that her 2nd husband paid her loan off pretty suspect, frankly. Unless they maintained separate residences the entire time, she was working as an attorney after leaving Harvard, and thus very likely contributing to the household funds in some fashion or another.

  21. imthegenieicandoanything says

    col & free,

    Is this going to be your standard type of post? ‘Cos it’s not only OT but full of Fox shit.

    If it’s how you two think, piss off.

  22. colnago80 says

    Re freemage @ #24

    I agree that it’s pretty small beer but in a race where she is a distinct underdog, even small beer hurts. By the way, she admitted that there were exaggerations in her campaign biography. Naturally the Fascist New Channel and other right wing outlets are making a big deal out of this. It remains to be seen how much damage this will do to her campaign.

    Re @25

    Excuse me, the subject of Texas and Democratic politicians therein, re the Castro brothers, was brought up by #19, which, IMHO, opens the door to discuss other Texas politicians.

  23. dingojack says

    Freemage – “Note that in both of those last two elections, Obama’s victory was razor-thin, despite the general ineptitude of his opponents.”

    What’s the weather like in your pocket parallel universe?

    Dingo

  24. Nick Gotts says

    freemage@22,

    Such an amazing run of luck!!!! Might it be worth asking, perhaps, whether Obama’s achievement in becoming the first black President in what is still a deeply racist country, and defeating a number of highly experienced political operators along the way, must actually reflect a very high degree of political skill? Sure his opponents made mistakes – everyone makes mistakes, and in a highly competitive arena, you win primarily by making fewer andor less serious mistakes than your opponents.

    And his victories were not “razor-thin”, although this is a popular claim on the racist right (I’m not saying that’s where you’re coming from, but you appear to have swallowed their propaganda). In 2008 he won 52.93% of the popular vote and had a margin of 7.27%. In 2012 the figures were 51.06% and 3.86%. Even the latter were better figures than for George W. Bush (both times), Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon in 1968, and John Kennedy, to name only the elections I’m old enough to remember. Obama won an absolute majority of the popular vote on both occasions, something Bill Clinton, widely recognised as a superb politician, did not manage in either of his victories; admittedly, in those cases there was a significant third candidate, Ross Perot, but since he was undoubtedly a right-winger, that probably benefitted Clinton. Obama’s actual margin in voter numbers in 2012 was 4,982,296. Some razor.

  25. Steven says

    I think Kristol is wrong in the end, but only because Hillary is too power hungry not to run and the Republican party has grown too despicable to vote for for a lot of Americans. Other parts of his analysis is spot on though.

    Hillary has no agenda different from that of other generic Democratic candidates, or for that matter from Barack Obama, the man she would succeed. Hillary’s first term would in reality be Obama’s third. She’d be tinkering with his successes and trying to cope with his failures.

    How could you possibly disagree with that? Any differences from Obama will be minor.

    Hillary is very likely to be out of step with the Democratic primary electorate in 2016—too close to Wall Street, too establishment, a prominent part of an administration that employed drone strikes and used the NSA in all sorts of dastardly ways. For Democrats in 2016, Hillary Clinton might be too much of a .  .  . Clinton Democrat.

    Snark aside that’s true. At least I hope it’s true and that people aren’t blinded by the exciting prospect of being screwed over by a woman for a change.

  26. colnago80 says

    Re Nick Gotts @ #28

    Actually, the characterization of Perot as a right winger in the elections of 1992 and 1996 is simplistic. He actually ran as a centrist candidate with populist overtones (remember his characterization of the agreement with Canada and Mexico on trade as a giant sucking sound of manufacturing moving south into Mexico looking for lower wages and fewer environmental restrictions).

  27. colnago80 says

    Re Steven @ #30

    In evaluating Hillary, one must consider her possible opponents in a Democratic primary. The most widely advertised potential opponents are New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, and New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand. Only O’Malley and Warren are significantly to the left of Hillary. Cuomo is another shill for Wall Street, and Warner is a centrist Democrat. Gillibrand is a former Blue Dog Democrat who represented a very conservative New York Upstate Congressional district who has edged to the left upon now representing Blue State New York in the Senate.

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