BERNARD COLUMN: Hillary for president a bad idea

Published 9:30 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

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By Jack Bernard

Bernard is a retired corporate executive

“Given the likelihood that Democrats will lose control of Congress in 2022, we can anticipate that Mrs. Clinton will begin shortly after the midterms to position herself as an experienced candidate capable of leading Democrats on a new and more successful path,” -Douglas E. Schoen, Andrew Stein (WSJ)

Biden’s approval ratings are in the toilet. Every poll that’s released shows him going downhill since the inauguration. Clearly, the Democrats need to change course ASAP. Obviously, they need to strategize about how to keep the Senate and House in the 2022 election and the presidency in the 2024 elections. But Democrat leaders have got to use their heads and not their emotions.

There have recently been a spate of op-eds and commentaries on networks and in top newspapers (WSJ, CNN, Newsweek, Washington Post, Daily Mail, NY Magazine, Boston Herald, the Hill, Fox, and so on) regarding Hillary running for President in 2024 against Donald Trump. Some have openly called it a great idea (Daily Mail, WSJ). But it clearly is not.

I personally voted for Clinton in 2016. Clinton is a policy wonk who was the brains behind Bill’s policy achievements. Further, I believe she has very workable plans that would solve some of our national problems. And that would be very beneficial for a nation facing tremendous domestic and foreign challenges. However, precisely due to her intellectualism and reserve, she has no more chance of prevailing in the electoral vote than she did then. 

Let’s begin by analyzing that election, which some pundits predicted Clinton would win in a landslide. In 2016, Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. However, because our Founding Fathers did not trust the common voter and wanted to preserve the power of the states, that’s not how we elect a president. We have an outmoded Electoral College system. And she lost the electoral vote dramatically, 304 for Trump to 227 for her.

No one doubts that Clinton had a much stronger resume than Trump. So, why did he win as many states as he did? The answer is charisma and showmanship. 

I dislike Trump immensely and believe him to be a strong man “want to be” who cares nothing about democracy. But he is an attractive candidate to a sizable segment of our voters in key swing states. Trump is a modern-day P.T. Barnum, who believes that every voter is a sucker just waiting to be pitched whatever fantastic line Trump comes up with that day. And just like a carnival barker, Trump sells his personality, preying on emotions rather than worrying about substance, consistency, or policy.

Let’s look at just some of the states that Hillary lost but would have to win in 2024 (i.e., get the majority of the 538 electoral votes). These include Georgia (16 votes), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16) and Wisconsin (10). She would not need all of these five states if she kept the states that she won in 2016.

But she would need the majority of them unless she picked up even harder targets like Arizona (11) and Ohio (18).

The GOP is busy engaging in voter suppression efforts in every one of these states. And Trump has been busy building a coalition of supporters in every single one. Almost certainly, 2024 will be a tougher presidential election for Democrats than 2016.

The Democrats need to zero-in on how to win these swing states. And there is absolutely no evidence that dull policy wonk Hillary can bring out the vote, especially the crucial Black and Hispanic voters.

Biden will get the Democratic nomination if he wants it. If he doesn’t, the Democrats must choose whoever can win in these vital swing states. And that charismatic person is not Hillary.