Democrats are on the decline – could Hillary Clinton save them? – Orange County Register
The 2022 midterm elections are still ten months away, but Democrats already have reason to worry about their presidential ticket in 2024 – namely, that none of the potential candidates have the stature for win a general election, nor the experience to lead while in office.
President Joe Biden will not be running for a second term due to his age, and Kamala Harris is less popular than any other vice president in recent history. Even if Harris herself were slightly more viable, the unpopularity of the Biden administration became a cornerstone around Democrats’ necks, and it would inevitably be marred by the administration’s political baggage.
Indeed, voters are turning to the Biden presidency: Republicans now lead the generic 2022 vote for Congress; and in a hypothetical Trump-Biden revenge, 48% of voters say they would support Trump, compared to 45% for Biden.
Assuming Harris is not the default candidate, we can expect a lengthy primary process to ensue in which progressives and moderates face off in a contest that further exposes the party’s deep divisions. . Other Democrats who could potentially win such a primary, like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, could be relatively stronger than Harris, but not by much.
There is only one potential solution, which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently suggested could happen: bring back Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton would offer Democrats a different take on the Biden administration. She would also likely sweep in a primary race, allowing the party to quickly regroup around a candidate.
Granted, a Clinton candidacy is unlikely to happen. However, the fact that it is even being discussed reflects how far Democrats have strayed from their traditional stance, and how extreme the party’s positions have become in international and domestic affairs.
That being said, the Biden administration has three major issues that a Clinton candidacy could address.
First: their foreign policy. Either the administration does not have a coherent foreign policy strategy, or its approach has failed.
In August, the world saw the United States botch the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, which led to Taliban militants linked to transnational terrorist groups taking control of the country. The Biden administration has yet to define a strategy for dealing with the vast fallout from Afghanistan, namely how to deal with militaristic aggression from China and Russia, two autocratic nations emboldened by strategic failure. the United States.
Second: the administration’s rudderless domestic politics, especially following the failure of efforts to pass Biden’s Build Back Better plan before the end of the year. To that end, the majority of voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of key national issues, including the economy (53%) and immigration (56%), according to a recent Politico / Morning Consult poll.
The third problem, a by-product of the first two, is the deterioration in President Biden’s overall approval rating, which now stands at just 43% approval, 53% disapproval, according to Politico / Morning Consult.
Biden’s overall decline is largely due to a decline among independent voters. Although Biden handily won the independents in 2020, only 33% of independents now approve of the work Biden does, while 59% disapprove of it.
In light of these three major issues, only a pivot to Hillary Clinton – as desperate as it may be – can save the party from mid-term gutting and potential obliteration in 2024.
It would start with Biden forcing Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to resign and elevating Clinton to that position. If nominated, she would become the favorite for 2024 in the event that Biden does not run for a second term.
In terms of solving the first problem I identified; Clinton represents a clear new direction in foreign policy.
If the past were a precedent, Clinton would be tougher on China for its undemocratic actions against Taiwan and Hong Kong, and for its human rights violations against religious minorities. As Secretary of State, Clinton spearheaded the Obama administration’s “backbone” to Asia and made it clear early on that the United States would not stand idly by while China took over. aggressive measures in the South China Sea.
As for the Middle East, although Clinton expressed her skepticism of the Iranians, she was more cautious in her approach to the Iran nuclear deal than the president she served under.
When it comes to domestic politics, Clinton has one overriding advantage: she would be able to create distance between herself and the disappointments of the Biden-Harris administration, while still offering experience.
And in light of the controversy surrounding abortion bans in Texas and Mississippi, Clinton may be in a unique position to excite groups of Democratic and independent voters. Throughout her career she has championed women’s rights and, of course, was the first woman to run for president of a major political party.
Of course, I’m well aware that Hillary Clinton lost an election she shouldn’t have.
In retrospect, it was likely the result of FBI Director James Comey’s “October surprise” reopening the investigation on his mail server. Some will say it has more to do with Russian meddling, others will point out the lack of an economic message of his campaign.
Clinton remains ambitious, outspoken, and convinced that without Comey’s intervention, she would have won the 2016 election and she might just be right.
So, with the right message, one could argue that Clinton has the stature, the positions and the track record that Democrats need.
If we want to have a foreign policy that is respected in the world and a democratic leadership at home that is a clear break with the Biden administration, at this point there is no clear alternative.
Douglas Schoen is a longtime Democratic political consultant.