Could Hillary Clinton run for president again?
Speculation mounts of a third bid - and no law prevents the Democrat from running
Speculation is simmering that Hillary Clinton might make a third bid for the White House. The 72-year-old lost the Democratic Party nomination to Barack Obama in 2008 and then suffered a narrow, devastating defeat by Donald Trump in 2016.
Although it was assumed she had stepped aside from frontline politics, rumours of a third run bubbled up last week, when her husband, Bill, told an audience at Georgetown Law School that while he is precluded from running for president again, Hillary would be free to.
“She may or not ever run for anything,” he said, adding that he “can’t legally run for president again”.
Also last week, her former communications chief Philippe Reines said on Fox News that another Clinton campaign could be on the cards. “If she thought she had the best odds of beating Donald Trump, I think she would think about it long and hard,” he said.
Recent activity by Clinton has also fuelled speculation. “The sense that something strange is going on began a few weeks ago,” writes David Smith in The Guardian.
Reminding us that Clinton recently published The Book of Gutsy Women, co-written with daughter Chelsea, Smith writes that “a book is a traditional vehicle for a candidate”.
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues for £6–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
He also notes that in recent weeks, Clinton “has also become more prolific and pugnacious on Twitter”.
An attack from her on a fellow Democrat made some feel she plans to join the primaries. During an interview on a podcast, she claimed that Russia is “grooming” a Democrat running in the presidential primary to stand as a third-party candidate and champion their interests.
The comment was apparently aimed at Tulsi Gabbard, who responded, saying: “It's now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don't cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”
How might Clinton fair against her old foe Donald Trump? Fox News has published a poll that put her on 43% and Trump on 41%. However, the last time the pollster put the two together was November 2016, when she led Trump by 4% but lost the election itself within days.
A recent survey found that Clinton and Joe Biden would be nearly tied for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination if she ran again. She would get 18% to his 19%.
Amid disappointment over the charisma and calibre of the current Democrat hopefuls, The New York Times reported that party donors have discussed whether Clinton, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg or former first lady Michelle Obama might yet enter the race.
But John Zogby, a Democratic pollster, said the likelihood of a Clinton bid is low. “If there’s anything that could unite both wings of the party, it’s that it’s past time to move beyond the Clintons,” he said.
So a third run seems unlikely but the door is open. Or, as The Guardian’s Smith puts it: “A year before the US presidential election, it looks like a campaign and it sounds like a campaign but it isn’t a campaign. At least, not as far as anyone knows.”