Hillary Clinton told an audience over the weekend that she's definitely considering a third run for president, this time in 2020, challenging President Donald Trump's re-election.
But while Hillary Clinton may be "Ready for Hillary, Part III," prominent Democrats aren't as sure about nominating the former First Lady and Secretary of State yet again. In fact, it seems, most prominent Democrats recoiled in horror at the mere thought of another Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
The Washington Examiner spoke to several top Democrats, and asked whether they believe Clinton will be back for round three. A handful, like former Howard Dean campaign guru Joe Trippi, told the paper they don't believe Clinton is serious — how could she possibly be serious?
"I don’t think she is seriously thinking about it," Trippi responded.
It seems she is, however. Clinton was clear when she told her audience on Saturday that she would "like to be president," even though she's tried twice and failed. And as the Examiner points out, strategists close to the Clinton campaign have been laying the groundwork in stages, suggesting Clinton is the best bet to be beat Trump in 2020, even if she's the Democrat who lost to Trump in the first place.
A former top aide noted last week that Clinton is "younger than Donald Trump by a year. She’s younger than Joe Biden by four years ... She had 65 million people vote for her [in 2016]," giving her plenty of time and a foundation of support other candidates — particularly the current front-runner for the nomination, Joe Biden — can't point to.
But while Clinton's die-hard supporters may be all in on the idea, Democrats just aren't.
"Look, I am a great admirer of Hillary but I don’t think that would be a good idea. I think that Donald Trump was more successful in defining her than she was defining herself," one top strategist told the Examiner.
She also made critical mistakes, and campaigned with an air of hubris, rarely believing the hype that surrounded Trump and, instead, putting her faith in pollsters who told her she had an almost-100% chance of winning, even without ever visiting key swing states like Wisconsin.
If she does decide to run, though, Trippi added in his interview, she'll be the immediate front-runner, well ahead of anyone in the field, on name recognition alone — and she'll force Democrats to contend with her in primary states she won handily in 2016, and to tangle with the "superdelegate" system that almost assuredly favors the well-connected Clinton.
I don’t know whether to expect anything and everything after 2016. … Who would have foreseen Donald Trump? I mean, that is not the question. The question is does she want to go? If she wants to go, you have to beat her," Trippi said.
So far, the Democratic primary field numbers around 20 candidates, from the notable, like former Vice President Joe Biden, to the unexpected, like celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti. So far, only Biden seems likely to lock up the 20% or so of the vote in early primary states, though the first primary is still more than a year away.