Hillary Clinton 2016? If she wants it, then yes. - Spectator Blogs

17 January 2013

Yes, yes, yes, speculating about the 2016 Presidential election before Barack Obama has even begun his second term is a silly business. But so what? Silly things can be fun things.

So Jonathan Bernstein attempts to answer a good question: if Hillary runs, would she knock most of her erstwhile rivals out of the race before the contest even reaches Iowa?

His answer is sensible: maybe. But I think I’d be a little more certain than that and rate it probably.

In 2000, after all, Bill Bradley was the only candidate to challenge Al Gore’s inheritance and Bradley’s campaign never looked like prevailing. Now Hillary isn’t quite as obviously “next in line” as Gore was but, for a large part of the Democratic base, the difference between 2000 and 2016 is, in this respect, close to insignificant.

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There will, I suspect, be a feeling that, now that the United States has elected its first minority President it is time – beyond time – it selected its first female Commander-in-Chief. For many Democrats that was a powerful argument in 2008; it will be even more potent in 2016. And, if this proves the case, it will be difficult for any male candidate to defeat Hillary. History and all that jazz will be on her side. (She’ll enjoy the benefit of not being part of Obama’s second-term too.)

So difficult, in fact, that some potential challengers may well choose to sit this one out.

That said, there are difficulties. Hillary will be 67 in 2016. Not ancient but she’d be the republic’s third oldest President (after Reagan and William Henry Harrison). Then there’s the present Vice-President. Joe Biden will be 73 at the next election but it’s not impossible to suppose he will think he retains enough vim and pep to have a third crack at the top job. (Republicans should hope he hopes so: running against Biden makes their “time for a change” message an easier sell). Of course, a Biden candidacy would dampen any quiet concerns folk felt about Hillary’s age.

And the biggest question of all: will she want to run? Perhaps not but if she does she’s immediately going to be considered the front-runner and will start the race at such short odds that some of the younger putative candidates – Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley and so on – may be persuaded there’s little chance of defeating Hillary and, thus, little point in running.

After all, it took an exceptional set of circumstances – and an exceptional candidate – to deny Hillary in 2008. If she wants to run, how likely (at this stage!) is it that comparable circumstances will arise to thwart her in four years time?

Of course, early front-runners don’t always prevail (Hart 88!, Clinton 08!) but, assuming she runs, I’d rate Hillary’s chances  of knocking much of the competition out before the first votes are cast a little higher than just maybe.

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Show comments
  • rndtechnologies786

    Your blog is nice.

  • In2minds

    Michelle Obama will be the next President just like Saif Gaddafi was next in line.

  • Austin Barry

    This is silly.

    Clinton’s health is broken.

  • Jupiter

    Since she is already 65, she will be 69 in 2016.

  • kidmugsy

    And yet her only substantial qualification for any of the posts she got was that she had been Bill Clinton’s moll. Hurray for feminism.

  • Daniel Maris

    Do you have a good record on predictions Massie?

    Let me give mine. Clinton will not get the nomination. I suspect she has serious health issues. We never get to hear the truth about senior politicians’ health problems, but that is my surmise. It would be a tough call in the USA for a woman to get the nomination in any case. But it will be an all the more tougher for a sick woman to get the nomination. 67? For a woman, that’s the political equivalent of 78 for a man I would say.

    Here’s my little overheard snippet of conversation – Chelsea is being groomed for a New York Congress seat.

  • white patriarch

    Whay has no mainstream newspaper in the US or UK pointed out that the Clintons are now worth $200 million? How did this happen? Why is the meeja ignoring this blatant corruption? Who is paying em all this money? And what are they expecting in return? Why have Massie and his fellow hacks never asked the same questions re Tony n Cherie, Jack Straw, Lord Mandlebum of Fondleboy and all of the other newly enriched ex politicos in this country?

  • CraigStrachan

    Wonder what she’s going to be doing for the next four years? I doubt she’d want to do a Romney amd “only” run for President.

  • Ron Todd

    67 ok; 67 with health scares not ok.

    • Steve

      Who hasn’t had a health scare by the age of 67? I hope she runs. She would make a good President and has moved away from a lot of the culture war crap that seemed to define her as a First Lady.

      Still, as 08 shows she is not a great campaigner and America might actually want (and need) a fiscal conservative in 16 after eight years of Obamanomics. Could she pull it off?

      • Daniel Maris

        She’s not going to be President. Get over it.

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