Is the Democrat angling for a third run?
She was quick to deny it in her Lunch with the FT interview, but the question of whether Hillary Clinton will run for President again is one that will not go away. Asked about the chances of a third run in 2024, the former Secretary of State’s answer was emphatic:
“No, out of the question. First of all, I expect Biden to run. He certainly intends to run. It would be very disruptive to challenge that.”
Intriguingly, there was no second point to this answer. Biden will run, that is that. But that leaves open the question: what if he doesn’t?
The President will be 81 by the next election and there is a lot working against him: underwater polling, declining mental faculties, worrying midterm predictions — and a party that is losing faith in his leadership.
Might this mean Hillary comes to the rescue? This year, columnists and outriders have been mentioning her name and 2024 more and more. Intriguingly, in the same interview Clinton described her “traumatic” 2016 battle against Donald Trump as “unfinished business”.
This does not sound like someone who has given up the ghost of becoming president. Nor did her description of the political situation as at risk of losing everything assuage the doubt:
Clinton’s antipathy for her 2016 rival runs deep (he has a “reptilian brain” she said), and it’s clear that she expects him to run again in 2024. But it’s interesting to see the former Secretary of State borrowing from the Trump playbook on issues that she would have been more careful about before. Take insinuations of voter fraud, for instance:
Swap ‘Republicans’ for ‘Democrats’ in Hillary’s answer and this might have elicited a rather animated response from the blue team. But the Hillary of 2022 appears to be rather different from the Hillary of 2008. 14 years ago, she attacked then Senator Barack Obama for being “elitist and out of touch” over his (widely misreported) comments about how people in small towns “get bitter” and “cling” to “guns or religion.” Eight years later, her worldview seemed to change. Now, she is only puzzled by the apparent “nostalgia” of former mining communities:
Whether this gives a flavour of what might be to come in a Clinton ‘24 campaign remains to be seen, but one thing’s for certain: as so often with politicians, apparent denials don’t necessarily mean that something won’t happen.