Hillary Clinton 2024? Sounds Implausible But Not Impossible, US Political Scientists Say
20:57 GMT 14.01.2022 (Updated: 14:15 GMT 15.01.2022)
A possible 2024 presidential bid from former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suddenly become a popular topic, although some political scientists in the US suggest that Dems should instead find a new young face to come out on top.
High-profile presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's political comeback in 2024 is a plausible scenario, as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' approval ratings are sinking and Democrats are expected to lose control of Congress in 2022, according to two Democratic insiders, pollster Douglas E. Schoen and an ex-Manhattan borough president, Andrew Stein, wrote
in an 11 January op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.
Adding to the chatter, The New York Post outlined
a scenario under which Clinton could jump in as a Democratic "saviour". According to some in the media, Clinton could replace an increasingly unpopular Harris as Biden's veep and even replace the sitting president in 2024. Meanwhile, Clinton's Twitter feed is "dotted with attempts at Clintonian nostalgia," the newspaper suggested, asserting not-unkindly that "the old blonde ambition seems to be burning again."
20 December 2021, 19:13 GMT
Hillary's Time is Up
"Hillary would love it, but the recent Republican sweep last November in Virginia warns that the Democrats need to look to the future, not the past," says a George Washington University professor, Gary Nordlinger. "Secretary Clinton still has the same 'baggage' that led to her losses to Barack Obama in 2008 and Donald Trump in 2016."
The professor admits that Clinton retains the advantages of "high name recognition, searing intellect and tenacity, and the ability to raise large sums of money quickly."
"While the prize of presidency is always hard to resist
, the likelihood of her launching a new campaign isn’t all that likely. That said though, not impossible. This is Hillary," echoes David S. Kerr, an adjunct professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Clinton, 74, would be 77 if she launched a new campaign: "Consider, if she took on Donald Trump, we would have two candidates in their late 70’s running for one of the most demanding jobs in the world," Kerr points out, although US President Joe Biden is currently 79 and less than halfway through a potential first term.
Hillary Clinton entered the stage as a presidential candidate when she first won a New York Senate Seat in 2000, the professor notes. Historically, however, Democrats have not given a candidate a second bite at the political apple, according to Kerr.
24 December 2021, 09:03 GMT
Biden-Kamala Ship Appears to be Sinking
Speculation about a potential Clinton 2024 presidential bid speak volumes about the present state of affairs in the White House, notes Kerr:
"When you’re one year into your term as a Democratic President and the media starts picking up on the narrative that the Democratic Party might choose someone besides you for the nomination in 2024 that’s not good," the professor suggests.
Biden's popularity is suffering on several fronts, including a disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and soaring inflation which reached 7% year-on-year in 2021, according to the academic. Kerr highlights that the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the US president's inability to pass his signature "Build Back Better" legislation suggest that he may have lost his effectiveness.
"And oh yes, and from the Democratic perspective, there is the looming fear that the Republicans will take over the US House of Representatives and will probably get the Senate too," says Kerr. "If that happens, they’ll blame Biden for it. That’s a lot on the line."
It's too early to rule Biden out, however, states Nordlinger, recalling that former US President Bill Clinton had a terrible first two years, lost control of Congress in 1994 and still came back to win reelection to a second term in 1996 by a landslide.
24 November 2021, 13:14 GMT
Dems Need 'New Faces'
If Biden decides not to seek reelection, the best potential candidates would be "new faces we have not yet identified," asserted Nordlinger.
According to the professor, his biggest surprise in the 2020 election was that the final four Democrats (Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg) were all in their 70's. He insists that Democrats need to identify new "stars," most likely - according to him - ambitious state governors.
"Michelle Obama is an interesting candidate, with high name recognition, high favorability ratings among the 'hardcore' Democrats, the ability to excite African American voters, and national campaign experience," he observes. "The question is whether she wants the job badly enough to devote two years of 80+ hour weeks to get the Democratic nomination and win the election."
Kerr doesn't see that Obama "would be even remotely interested," as, "her success is based on her intelligence, her reserve and grace". He adds, "I don’t see her entering the fray of American politics."
29 December 2021, 19:16 GMT
Younger Dem alternatives for leadership are not front and center, the academic suggests.
"Amy Klobuchar, senator from Minnesota is an option, so is Andy Beshear, governor of Kentucky, and possibly, Beto O’Rourke, if he were to be elected governor of Texas this year," Kerr notes. "Of the lot, Beshear has the middle of the road, Democratic governor of a red state, and hands on, let’s get it done attitude that might do well in 24."
Kerr decisively rules out a Harris candidacy: "[She] has not done well, and I don’t think would be taken seriously as a presidential candidate."