It's not over until it's over, especially for Hillary Clinton
According to a new report in The New York Times, the failed 2016 presidential candidate hasn't completely given up hope that there's an opening in the 2020 field that would allow her to take over and rectify the mistakes she made in 2016.
The report says Clinton "looms large" over the 2020 field, but cites mostly negative examples of Clinton's influence, including an incident involving Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who recently declared her intention to seek the Dems' 2020 nomination.
Klobuchar assured her supporters that she would, in fact, travel to Wisconsin — a state Clinton deliberately avoided during the 2016 campaign. The oversight likely cost Clinton a handful of electoral college votes. Klobuchar, upon realizing what she'd done, didn't even wait a day to quantify the fallout over her remarks, and phoned Clinton "soon" afterward, apologizing profusely.
Other Democratic contenders — even including, reportedly, Joe Biden — have sought Clinton's advice, but it's clear from The New York Times' piece that Clinton isn't going to be satisfied being a campaign guru for other potential nominees, especially if those nominees get to take on her now-arch nemesis, President Donald Trump.
"But even as she offers supportive words, Mrs. Clinton has given the impression that she harbors a faint hope she could still become president one day. In private conversations, she occasionally muses about an opening, according to some who have spoken with her, sounding more wistful than realistic," the NYT claims.
Some Democratic strategists, surveying the field, aren't being as negative about the prospect as they once were.
“This party is part of her DNA and she deserves the respect,” one former Clinton adviser told the paper. “How many candidates have lost their campaign? Some twice, and they’re still running again, potentially. She has a stature in this party that she has earned.”
But as time wears on, the prospect of a 2016 rematch has waned significantly. Clinton, if she entered now, would face a field of at least 14 other candidates, some of whom, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) represent a similar political position as Clinton, and are struggling to stay relevant against younger, more dynamic, and more diverse candidates.
And there are already two powerhouses in the game: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden, who hasn't declared officially but is rumored to be picking up campaign staff in early states.
Clinton's only hope is a massive, field-wide failure that results in no desirable nominee, at which point, she'd simply be the most logical default character. That's not to say that won't happen, though. Few of the 2020 Democratic candidates are battle tested, and the elderly white male frontrunners may seem rather undesirable to a party whose last three nominees have been either minority or female.