On Wednesday's episode of Radio Sputnik's Fault Lines, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin joined hosts Lee Stranahan and Garland Nixon to discuss the prospect of Clinton running for president again in 2020.
Despite her poor track record as a presidential candidate, Clinton seems to be doing anything but hide from the limelight, the columnist said. In fact, Goodwin sees telltale signs that Clinton may be trying to stay politically relevant.
"I do think that she has been biding her time and building an organization and making good with a lot of people on the left by giving them money, the old fashioned way. I think she's been building her credibility with the [2016 presidential nominee] Bernie Sanders' wing of the [Democratic] party, which, of course, she was at war with two years ago. And I think that she is doing other things, giving speeches. She started recently calling White House reporters, which is a very interesting development. That is not something a normal citizen would do. She is also, with her husband, going to be doing a speaking tour over the next six months right after the midterms — again, not something you would do if you were trying to hide from the limelight," Goodwin told Radio Sputnik.
Furthermore, Philippe Reines, who was an aide to Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State, recently said the chance Clinton gives it another shot is "somewhere between highly unlikely and zero… but it's not zero," The Hill reported October 19.
Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton and her husband, former US President Bill Clinton, announced that they would be touring across the country in the final weeks of 2018 and into 2019 for "An Evening With the Clintons."
"From the American presidency to the halls of the Senate and State Department to one of the United States' most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections, they provide a unique perspective on the past, and remarkable insight into where we go from here," the tour website reads.
"I think [all of Clinton's actions] are designed to keep her front and center while all the other 2020 candidates are forming their exploratory committees, starting their fundraising operations, starting to jockey for position in the Democratic field. She will be out there with them but separate from them, and I think the result from all of this will be some time next year, probably in the late summer or fall, she will be in a position to announce her candidacy, if that is what she decides to do, if she doesn't have a health problem," Goodwin noted. Clinton's only deterrent might be if another candidate "merges in a dominant fashion within the Democratic field" and "dethrones" her, the columnist predicted.
This year, Clinton has been "building the infrastructure" at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the formal governing body of the Democratic Party that supports candidates throughout the country for local, state and national office.
"What she [Clinton] has been doing is building the infrastructure at the DNC. She has been making sure that the people at DNC are people that she can count on. You would think that after the debacle of 2016, they would want to restaff the DNC for a change, and they've done the opposite. It's become more establishment," Goodwin added.
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Democrats learned the primary contest between Sanders and Clinton was not exactly on the level. Under former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC went out of its way to undermine Sanders while exalting Clinton, a scandal that forced the Florida Democrat to resign from her leadership position, Sputnik reported in June.
According to DNC email exchanges published by WikiLeaks that show the party's inner machinations in 2015 and early 2016, Wasserman Schultz said at one point of Sanders that "he isn't going to be president."
In fact, the DNC, which received contributions from donors under the auspices of supporting the party, was allowing Clinton to control that very same money.
"We talk about the DNC as though it is a separate entity. But we saw in 2016 that the way Clinton took over the DNC, took the money from the DNC, vacuumed the money up on the basis that she helped it when it was broke. So the DNC is basically a hollow organization that will do what it's told by the nominee," Goodwin told Sputnik.
However, if Clinton's perspective is "screw the Bernie people," Nixon asks, would she really try to win over those supporters in the next presidential election, if she decides to run?
"I think you make good points, but I would distinguish between her attitude toward Bernie himself and some of the leading members of the tribe that he assembled in 2015 and 2016. I agree with you that fundamentally, there was a war in the Democratic Party the last time. And of course, the mainstream media never characterized it as such. Bernie was in the driver's seat in terms of the energy of the party, the new ideas of the party. Hillary Clinton and her wing have not contributed a single new idea to the Democratic Party. What they have done is modified a lot of Bernie's ideas, to make them more acceptable to moderate Republicans and sort of centrist Democrats," Goodwin responded.
"The Bernie wing is the driving force in this [Democratic] party. I think what she is trying to do is co-opt it by being nice to it. But I am sure there is still a lot of bad blood between those two wings," he added.
"Both Bernie and Trump said something to the establishment people," Nixon noted.
"You can be an outsider, and you can raise enough money to win, or you can win without having the money. I think Bernie and Trump, in different ways, [shifted the] old paradigm that they [the establishment] wanted everyone to believe is needed to be successful. Looking in 2020, that's something we have to consider. Could there be somebody out there out there that could shift the paradigm the same way Bernie and Trump did in 2016?" he asked.
"Absolutely agree. That is part of the overlap between Bernie and Trump. [They were] underdogs in terms of the establishment, almost pariahs. Trump showed it through the mastery of television. [His] rallies themselves became so big and impressive that the money was no longer important. And Bernie, too, with the enthusiasm that he generated primarily among young people," Goodwin responded.
However, Goodwin doesn't know if there's another anti-establishment candidate, like Trump or Sanders, that people should be on the lookout for the 2020 presidential elections.
"That's part of why I think Hillary is inching back. So you go down the list, and there's nobody who looks and smells and feels like a champion," Goodwin said.