In the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s monumental decision to overturn Roe v Wade, conservative writer John Ellis took to the internet to make a provocative case: It was time for Hillary Clinton to make a(nother) political comeback.
“Now is her moment,” he wrote. “The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade creates the opening for Hillary Clinton to get out of stealth mode and start down the path toward declaring her candidacy for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination.”
Ellis’ argument is centered on the ideas that 1) President Joe Biden, who will be 82 shortly after the 2024 election, is simply too old to run again (Ellis is far from the only person making that case) and 2) The Democratic bench is not terribly strong
He’s not the only person eyeing a Clinton re-emergence.
Writing in The Hill newspaper, Democratic pundit Juan Williams makes the case that Clinton should become a major figure on the campaign trail this year.
“Clinton is exactly the right person to put steel in the Democrats’ spine and bring attention to the reality that ‘ultra-MAGA’ Republicans, as President Biden calls them, are tearing apart the nation,” Williams writes, adding: “Keep talking and talk louder, Hillary!”
So, just how far-fetched is a Clinton candidacy?
Well, start here: That a conservative writer is leading the charge – at least at the moment – for another presidential bid by Clinton should be looked at with some healthy skepticism. No candidate unites the Republican party – even with Donald Trump as the GOP’s likely nominee – like Clinton does. So, this may be a bit of wishful thinking by Ellis. Keep that in mind.
Then go to this: Biden is giving every indication that, even at his advance age, he is planning to run again. The New York Times posted a piece Monday night headlined “Biden Irked by Democrats Who Won’t Take ‘Yes’ for an Answer on 2024” that included these lines:
“Facing intensifying skepticism about his capacity to run for re-election when he will be nearly 82, the president and his top aides have been stung by the questions about his plans, irritated at what they see as a lack of respect from their party and the press, and determined to tamp down suggestions that he’s effectively a lame duck a year and a half into his administration.”
And finish here: Clinton has been pretty close to Shermanesque in her denials about even considering another bid.
“No, out of the question,” Clinton said of another presidential candidacy in an interview with the Financial Times earlier this month. “First of all, I expect Biden to run. He certainly intends to run. It would be very disruptive to challenge that.”
In an interview with CBS Tuesday morning, Clinton said she couldn’t “imagine” running again. Host Gayle King rightly noted that Clinton’s answer wasn’t a definitive “no.”
So, if you are a betting person – and, of course, there are odds on Hillary running – the smart gamble is that Clinton doesn’t run again.
With all of that said, we know that circumstances change. And that changed circumstances can lead to changed minds.
While I find it utterly implausible that Clinton would run against Biden in a primary in 2024, I also think that an open nomination – if Biden takes a pass on running – would be something that would be hard for Clinton to not at least look at. That’s not to say she would run. It’s only to say that her name would get bandied about if the seat was open. That’s a lock.
Then there’s the Roe decision to consider. Clinton’s comments about not running again came before Roe was decided. As someone who has fought for women’s rights throughout her career as first lady, US senator and secretary of state, might the Supreme Court’s ruling have changed her calculus somewhat as she looks to her own future?
Again, the chances are very slim that Clinton runs again. But they aren’t zero.