Wednesday, April 01, 2015

What if Hillary decides not to run?

That may seem like a preposterous April Fools Day question.  Of course she will run.  She has been on this path for most of her adult life.  That's the biggest trait that she and her husband have in common.  Her experience has prepared her for this.  What's more, there are no other Democrats even remotely on the screen, especially if you look at the national election in November 2016.  Who are the up and comers in the Democratic Party.  It's easy to name a distinct handful or more in the Republican Party and all have built up some broad name recognition.  Obama has tended to his own star, and that of no one else.  If Hillary did not run, the default would be Joe Biden and he is unlikely to be a viable candidate in a national election.

Hillary has no choice.  She must run for the sake of the Democratic Party.  One could wonder whether she would choose to do so if she had the opportunity to make a decision.  She has had a long political life and the campaign will be a grind like all campaigns.  That will be compounded by the fact that many Republicans not only do not like Hillary Clinton, they detest her in a way that is hard for an outsider to understand.  The election will be a minefield of false charges and a dredging up of a mostly imagined events of the distant past that have no relevance today.  Then, if she wins, she will likely inherit a Republican House and Senate that will make her governance difficult at every turn.

There is of course a personal side to this, if she is allowed to have one.  She is a grandmother.  She does not want Chelsea and her extended family to get dragged into an ugly campaign.  Bill is obviously not physically as strong as he once was, although his mind apparently still never stops going and his mouth rarely stops moving.  His need for attention is rarely satiated.  That is a danger for this campaign as it was for her last.  He would be her most visible Achilles heel.  With all of the wealth she has, Hillary could choose to write, give presentations, and influence public policy while at the same time enjoying life out of the fast lane.  Remember that she had that concussion two and a half years ago, and regardless of what some may say, concussions can take a lingering toll on stamina, especially for older people.

All of these personal concerns will be swept aside by her own ambition, one can almost be sure.  Is she really ready to go the distance?  Can she create a different singular persona and not show up in Mississippi with a faux southern accent and the cadence of a preacher or in West Virginia with the standard poverty photos and sad lament for the people there.  Can she rise above her usual "hit the mattresses" mentality when confronted with a challenge?  Will she use her vast international contacts in photo ops as if most voters in America cared about that.

The Democratic nomination should be hers easily, but it is surely possible that there will be those from the left who will show up to undercut her from the outset.

This will all be interesting to watch and nothing is necessarily preordained.  


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