I’m not surprised about the rumors that Hillary Clinton is thinking about running in the 2020 presidential race. At the same time, I believe her when she says she doesn’t want to run. The problem is, the Clintons don’t have a choice. They have to regain the Whitehouse to fulfill the promises they’ve made to their donors.
If Hillary does run, we should probably assume that a Clinton presidency remains important to the entire establishment. There is no doubt in my mind the Clintons will get help in this endeavor from the Obamas–and maybe from Joe Biden. Hillary’s candidacy may even be the motivation behind the large number of Democratic hopefuls lining up to run in the primary. They are going to run interference for her.
What does this mean for progressives? Desperate people do desperate things or, in other words, 2020 will make 2016 look like a game of croquet. Therefore, we have to be clear about what we are trying to accomplish and the best way to accomplish it.
I recently heard the argument that a Sanders candidacy won’t have the same pinache this time around–that progressives need a new face to get excited about. In my opinion, that argument is not sound political strategy–it’s more like betting on a horse race. This is the establishment’s approach to politics.
If we are fortunate enough to continue the conversation for generations, and to participate in elections during that time, we will probably discover that the exhilaration of Bernie’s 2016 campaign was the exception rather than the rule. What we need in the long term is good strategy, patience, hard work (at the very least, the determination to vote in both the primary and the general election) and a philosophical response to disappointment.
The memory of Bernie’s 2016 campaign is a source of encouragement, but it should not be the basis for choosing candidates. What potential volunteers, donors and voters need at this time is a realistic plan that takes honest account of the obstacles. The truth is, since the election of George Bush people have had every reason to be pessimistic about the electoral process. However, in 2016 they recognized opportunity in a decent candidate, an inspiring vision, and a realistic plan. The only difference now is that we’ve seen the monster up close and personal. No, I’m not talking about the Clintons–I’m talking about the system. If we are going to throw ourselve into the fray again it’s important that we at least acknowledge this.