Democrats Just Can’t Quit the Clintons

Democrats just can’t quit the Clintons. Despite two devastating defeats, Hillary Clinton refuses to ride off into a sunset filled with high-paying speaking engagements, and Democrats refuse to look for the next generation of candidates to carry them to a brighter future.

Over the past several weeks Hillary Clinton has been dipping her toe back into politics, offering up pointed remarks about President Trump’s budget, giving her first post-election interview, and generally acting more like a candidate for the nation’s highest office than someone who had just suffered a humiliating Election Day defeat. As Matt Latimer argues in Politico, Clinton announced that she would be scaling back the scandal-plagued Clinton Global Initiative, is planning on writing another book, is happily letting rumors fester about her run for mayor, and is trolling Trump on Twitter.

“Yes, barring some calamity, Clinton is running again,” Latimer concludes. “And this brave columnist will go one step further. Not only will Clinton run again, she has an excellent shot at getting the Democratic Party nomination again. But only if she approaches it quite differently.”

Democrats everywhere should be shuddering at the thought. After all, Clinton was the odds-on favorite to run away with the Democratic nomination in 2008, only to see her hopes dashed by an out-of-nowhere bid by a charismatic, but little known junior senator from Illinois.

Then came 2016 when Clinton was seen as a shoe-in, only to have to slog through a nomination fight with a crazy-haired senator from Vermont who wasn’t even a member of the Democrat party just months before the race began. Of course, that storyline would ultimately be buried by the stunning upset she suffered at the hands of Donald Trump, whom she dramatically out-spent and out-polled.

Clinton continues to get chances because Democrats continue to shift the narrative in her favor. In 2008 she was the woman-behind-the-curtain of her husband’s political success. In 2016 she was the political statesman who was “owed” the presidency because of her lifelong service. And already, just months after voters definitively decided against her, a notion is building that Clinton is a tragic figure who must have the opportunity for redemption, lest the story arc remain incomplete.

When Nicholas Kristof polled his social media followers about what he should ask her during an upcoming interview, the overwhelming response was simply: How are you doing? And so, he asked.

“You know what, I’m doing pretty well, all things considered,” Clinton said. Although she said that aftermath of the election was “devastating,” she made up her mind that “yes, I was going to get out of bed” with the help of family, friends and “long walks in the woods.”

“I would put it this way,” she said. “As a person, I’m OK. As an American, I’m pretty worried.”

Worried? Okay. I’m sure that almost all Democrats would describe themselves similarly given their so-called achievements of the past eight years are at risk, as is the size and scope of government, which they have tended to so lovingly.

But what should really worry Democrats is that they’re being deluded—once again—into the idea that Hillary Clinton is capable of serving as their standard bearer. In fact, she’s been a spectacularly awful candidate, who attempted to use race as a wedge in her ugly primary with Obama and formulated one of the worst get-out-the-vote strategies in modern history in her loss to Trump. As Timothy Stanley writes for CNN:

There is a post-politics role for Clinton, but it cannot be just yet. Her party needs a period in which to separate from her memory — to rebuild, find new candidates, reestablish its identity and delink itself from the entire Clinton philosophy.

…Whatever the Democrats look like in the future, Hillary Clinton cannot be permitted to capture the conversation and distract the press. America needs to move on. She needs to pause and reflect.

Then again, the real problem may not be the candidate, but is in fact, what they “look like in the future.” As Michael Saint writes for Observer:

“Resist, insist, persist, enlist,” Clinton said has been her mantra since the election, trying out new, meaningless slogans like “stronger together” and “America is already great,” which failed to resonate with the American public. By naming a children’s book She v.v.          ;;Persisted, Chelsea Clinton hijacked the phrase to capitalize on something that was said by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. This is what the Democratic Party is devolving into: public relations slogans and manufactured outrage from David Brock-run Super PACs and Clinton loyalists’ think tanks. Meanwhile, they continue to ignore coming up with solutions to the issues facing the communities throughout America that are hurting the most.

If Democrats want new ideas, they ought to think about empowering new brains. The Clintons are not it.

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey. See more of his work on Flickr HERE.