Some Democrats are endorsing a new plan to bring down Donald Trump. The worst thing they can do is follow through on it.
Some Democrats are endorsing a new plan to bring down Donald Trump. The worst thing they can do is follow through on it.

Terrible plan to take down Trump

Speculation is mounting over whether Hillary Clinton will launch a bid for the White House in 2020.

In a recent op-ed, her former long-term adviser Mark Penn claimed "Hillary will run again" at the next federal US election.

"This new version of Mrs Clinton, when she runs for president in 2020, will come full circle - back to the universal-health-care-promoting progressive firebrand of 1994," he wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "True to her name, Mrs Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies. She won't let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House."

Last month, Ms Clinton was asked whether she could consider another run for the top job.

Her response? "Well I'd like to be president. I think, hopefully, when we have a Democrat in the Oval Office in January of 2021, there's going to be so much work to be done."

"I mean we have confused everybody in the world, including ourselves," she went on. "We have confused our friends and our enemies.

"They have no idea what the United States stands for, what we're likely to do, what we think is important, so the work would be work that I feel very well prepared for having been at the Senate for eight years, having been a diplomat in the State Department, and it's just going to be a lot of heavy lifting."

It's not exactly a "No, probably not".

 

But a number of commentators on both sides of the political spectrum have pointed out that Ms Clinton launching a 2020 bid would be the worst possible thing for the Democrats to do.

"The bottom line is that most Americans have had enough of the Clintons, just as they have of the Bushes," wrote The Australian 's Washington correspondent Cameron Stewart.

"Hillary Clinton has had her chances - in 2008 when Barack Obama defeated her for the Democrat nomination and again in 2016 when Trump defeated her in the presidential election. Her problem is that she remains an unpopular and polarising figure."

Similarly CNN's Chris Cillizza said the Democrats should be pushing hard for a different candidate if they wanted a shot at beating Mr Trump in 2020.

"People didn't like Trump. But they didn't like Clinton any better. People didn't trust Trump or think he was honest. But they felt the exact same way about Clinton," he wrote.

If anything, Ms Clinton is in a worse position now than she was in 2016. According to a September Gallup poll, only 36 per cent of people have a favourable view of Ms Clinton, down seven points from where it stood just before the 2016 election.

"Democrats would do well to try a different approach than Clinton used in 2016, which, when boiled down, amounted to this: 'I'm running against Donald Trump, and you're certainly not going to vote for him, are you?'

"And they'd be well served to try a different candidate to deliver that different message - not someone who was rejected by voters in the last presidential election even though she was running against the weakest Republican nominee in modern memory."

 

Donald Trump's election win over rival Hillary Clinton in 2016 came as a shock to many.
Donald Trump's election win over rival Hillary Clinton in 2016 came as a shock to many.

At the heart of the problem is this: Democrats can't rely solely, as Ms Clinton did, on people voting for them simply because the alternative is Mr Trump.

Brian Fallon, Ms Clinton's 2016 campaign press secretary, posted a series of tweets addressing this very point, amid rising speculation over Ms Clinton launching a 2020 bid.

"After 2016, no one thinks holding up a mirror to Trump - or engaging him tit for tat - is a winning strategy. However, sticking to a plan of ignoring Trump is a lot harder in a one-on-one matchup than for House challengers running individualised races," he tweeted.

He said this was in part because it's difficult to be more newsworthy than Mr Trump; the President epitomises the phrase "Any publicity is good publicity".

"You can give a thoughtful speech documenting Trump's many examples of acting racist. But at his evening rally, he will - with no supporting evidence - simply call you a racist back," writes Fallon. "And the next day's stories will read 'Candidates trade barbs'.

"This is why I tend to think that the theory that 'all Democrats need to do is nominate a bland, inoffensive guy and let Trump beat himself" is wrong. An uninteresting character is most susceptible to being sucked into the vortex because they cannot command attention on their own."

But it was Kellyanne Conway, of all people, who arguably summed it up best.

Earlier this week the Counsellor to the President tweeted a link to a story about Ms Clinton's potential bid with four choice words: "Dear God, please, yes."


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