Well, it’s official. Hillary has announced her candidacy. I know that’s a shock. Personally, I think she should go with this slogan:
The 2008 election was very fun to blog because so much was uncertain. Hillary seemed inevitable but then Obama beat her. McCain was declared dead but roared back. It was completely unpredictable. 2012 was fun, in its way, but we all knew it would be Romney in the end.
I’m dreading this election because what is there to say? We’ve had 24 years to see how corrupt and petty the Clintons can be and yet there are enough kool-aid drinkers to make this happen. Our only hope is that some even more massive corruption is found (always a possibility with these people). But even then, I think the Democrats will go ahead and nominate her. She could club baby seals and they’d still nominate her. She could throttle orphans on TV and they’d still nominate her. Hell, she could announce that she’s a Republican and wants to bust unions and they’d still probably nominate her. The thought of 4-8 more years of the Clintons may be enough to get me to vote Republican for the first since 2000.
I don’t, however, think Clinton’s ultimate election is unavoidable. To quote me:
What the hell is Hillary’s campaign going to be about?
Seriously. What issues is she going to run on? She can’t run on Obama’s record since it isn’t that hot and Obama is unpopular. But she can’t run against it without splitting the party.
Healthcare? That used to be her issue but we have Obamacare and that’s quite enough, thank you. Foreign policy? The economy? None of those are winners for her. In the end, I suspect Hillary’s campaign will come down to “it’s my turn” and I just don’t see the voters jumping on that. They didn’t with McCain in 2008. Or Dole in 1996.
As I see it, she has two options. One is to hope that the economy is doing great, the world is settled down, the scandals blow over and Obamacare becomes popular. Then she can run on a campaign of continuing those policies. And also doing something about all the pigs flying through the air.
The other option … and I suspect that given the realities of Obama’s tenure, this is where she’ll go … is Republicans Be Crazy. She’ll attempt to portray them as deranged lunatics who want to end Medicare, take away your health insurance, crash the economy and start a war. She’ll rally the various parts of the Democratic coalition and try to isolate the Republicans to only representing old white Christian men. Such a campaign would be nasty and divisive but I strongly suspect this is the road she’ll take.
Because, that’s the other reminder in this story. The Clintons talk nice when they have nothing to gain or lose. But when it comes to something they want — be it a plea bargain or the White House — they will scorch the fucking Earth to get there.
It will require a tremendous and concentrated effort by the Republican Party to derail her train, but it can be done. Especially as I think a lot of people are contemplating Clinton II with the same dread I am.
Right now, the only official Republican candidates are Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. I don’t think either of them has much of a chance. While the GOP may flirt with outsider candidates, they always end up nominating someone mainstream: Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush II, McCain. Romney was so sensible you could have marketed him as a floor wax.
But that may be a strength this year. The Democrats and their allies are so busy portraying Cruz and Paul as crazy nutjobs that when the Republicans end up nominating someone sensible like Scott Walker or Jeb Bush, what are they going to say? I know what they’ll say but why would people listen?
(This was a similar dynamic to 2012. The Democrats kept telling us that Newt was crazy, Caine was crazy, Santorum was crazy, Bachman was crazy. So when Romney won the nomination, they were out of ammunition. Romney lost, of course, but he did outpoll the Republican Party nationally and was even leading for a while. And I don’t see Clinton as having Obama’s political guile.)
Gun to my head, I would say the GOP candidate is most likely to be Jeb Bush or Scott Walker. Rick Perry could surprise as could Rick Santorum. But I keep getting this sneaking suspicion in my gut that the future GOP nominee is someone we’re not talking about right now.
Election 2016 is still dull and a long way away. But it could get exciting fast if the right Republican comes along.
(Possible thread for the comments: put out your own dark horse GOP candidate and how you think he’d do.)