If there is one thing that politicos cannot stop talking about, it is Hillary Clinton. Her speeches, her new book deal, but most of all the will she or won’t she question of a potential run for the White House in 2016 dominates the conversation. Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the popular news website, Huffington Post, recent threw her thoughts into the ring. On ABC’s This Week, Huffington said, “[Clinton is] obviously running.”
Huffington may be one of the most informed and well-connected people in the media world, but this is hardly a scoop. Anyone who has been able to stick their head out of their window should know that a Hillary Clinton run in 2016 would be a surefire bet.
Already all the pieces are coming into play for a Hillary Clinton 2016 run. A Super Political Action Committee know as “Ready for Hillary” launched in January of 2013 in a media rollout that included CNN, the Washington Post, and Politico, many of them talking about the PAC before it even had its website fully functional. Already many former Clintonland heavy hitters, such as James Carville and Harold Ickes, are assisting the PAC but not working for it directly.
There is also the matter of Clinton’s new book deal. Books are traditionally seen as a way for candidates either define themselves personally to voters or lay out a policy vision for America. Clinton already had Living History published in 2003, covering her childhood and time as First Lady. Her new book, which is due to be published in 2014, will focus on her time as Secretary of State. The book will also talk about major trends shaping the 21st century, namely “trends in economics, energy and climate change, democracy and human rights, the critical role of women and girls, technology and innovation, health and human development, and more.” To my ears this sounds like at least the beginnings of a policy document.
Then there is the issue of Clinton’s poll numbers. They are good. No they are really good. How good? Public Polling Policy had her at 64% of Democratic primary voters supporting her candidacy, trouncing Vice President Joe Biden who came in at a distant 2nd place with 18%. When it comes to the general election, a poll on Tuesday by McClatchy-Marist had Clinton beating the top four Republican contenders Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), former Governor Jeb Bush, and Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.). Rubio, Paul, and Bush are all beat by at least 8%. Christie is the only one who gets in striking distance, losing 43%-46%. PPP also has these general election results, with Clinton beating the top four Republican contenders, Jeb Bush replaced by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in this poll, by four to seven points. Christie is again the closest, losing 42%-46%.
And on a state-by-state level, such a candidacy would be juggernaut. As I have detailed before, Clinton is both competitive in swing states and in traditionally red states. Her run would have enormous crossover voter base. Voters of today would be rather immune to the attacks that date back to the previous Clinton administration, many of them being softened by being the punchline of numerous comedy routines since then. And the previous attempted attack over the Benghazi attack did not work in damaging Clinton credibility and are unlikely to work if pulled out again. The one line of attack that may actually work is her age, as Clinton would be 69 at inauguration, a line that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already started to say. But that may not be good move when one of the most consistently voting demographic in America is the elderly.
Overall, the stars are aligning for a 2016 Hillary Clinton run both in the general mood of the electorate and the groundwork for such a campaign. Barring any medical emergency or other incident, there is no good reason that Clinton should not run if she wants it as badly as she did in 2012. And people who run for president once can rarely be accused of not being ambitious.