I don’t think Mark Penn has any inside info here. In fact, based on some of the things he’s said of late, I’d be surprised if Penn is still on speaking terms with the Clintons.
But as her chief pollster during the 2008 campaign, Penn is pretty familiar with how Hillary thinks. And as far as he’s concerned, it’s not even a question of whether she’s going to run in 2020. Of course she’s going to run. If you think Hillary’s given up the ghost of her psychotic need to become president to validate her entire life, well, you don’t know Hillary Clinton.
Not only that, but in an op-ed co-authored by former Democratic Manhattan borough president and New York City Council president Andrew Stein, Penn suggests he knows exactly which phony version of Hillary we’ll see this time . . . oh, and he thinks she’ll win the nomination too:
Expect Hillary 4.0 to come out swinging. She has decisively to win those Iowa caucus-goers who have never warmed up to her. They will see her now as strong, partisan, left-leaning and all-Democrat—the one with the guts, experience and steely-eyed determination to defeat Mr. Trump. She has had two years to go over what she did wrong and how to take him on again.
Richard Nixon came back from his loss to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and won the presidency in 1968. He will be the model for winning again. Mrs. Clinton won’t travel the country in a van with Huma Abedin this time, doing small events and retail politics. Instead she will enter through the front door, mobilizing the army of professional women behind her, leveraging her social networks, and raking in donations. She will hope to emerge as an unstoppable force to undo Mr. Trump, running on the #MeToo movement, universal health care and gun control. Proud and independent, this time she will sideline Bill and Mr. Obama, limiting their role to fundraising.
The generation of Democrats who have been waiting to take over the party from the Clintons will be fuming that she is back and stealing their show. But they revealed themselves to be bungling amateurs in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination fight, with their laughable Spartacus moments. She will trounce them. Just as Mr. Trump cleared the field, Mrs. Clinton will take down rising Democratic stars like bowling pins. Mike Bloomberg will support her rather than run, and Joe Biden will never be able to take her on.
I know some of you are laughing at this, and others are saying, “Please, Hillary, run! It will ensure Trump’s re-election!”
That is whistling past the graveyard if I’ve ever heard it. Hillary Clinton running for president again means there is still a chance, however slight, of a Hillary Clinton presidency. That is too horrible a possibility to tempt fate by encouraging her to run and thinking she’ll be easy to beat.
American electoral politics is not that predictable. Yes, I know, she is a horrible candidate. Yes, I know, people detest her and should. Yes, I know, she is a two-time loser and the American public has made it known as clearly as possible that it does not want her to be president.
None of that means it’s impossible she could win. And I for one do not want to see us get that close to this particular fire again.
Now, you think, don’t be silly. Hillary can never win. I know some of the reasons you think that, I’m going to knock them down – not because I want to encourage her but because I want to set straight the delusional minds of conservatives who think she would be easy to beat because of what’s happened in the past.
First, you’re thinking, she’s made such a fool of herself since 2016, she’ll never recover from that. The electorate has really seen who she is now and she’s destroyed any slight chance she might have had with her behavior.
Sorry. Not true. Political junkies have seen all this. Normal people neither know nor care what she’s said or done. And whether someone like her lives something down depends on entirely on whether the media decide to let her live it down – and they will. Once they choose to give her a pass for her nuttiness, and cover her as a serious and respectable candidate, she will start polling like a serious and respectable candidate.
Second, you’re looking at the margin of 116 electoral votes by which she lost and thinking that’s too much to make up. No. It’s not.
Elections trend in certain directions based on factors entirely different from prior elections. Wisconsin and Michigan, which hadn’t gone Republican in nearly a generation before Donald Trump, both just elected Democrat governors. If those two states revert back to their recent blueness and Pennsylvania joins them, Hillary is the 46th president. That’s all it would take.
Third, you’re looking at the booming economy and thinking presidents don’t lose re-election in prosperous times. That’s usually true. It may be true this time.
But Donald Trump has proven to be an exception to almost every rule of politics we’ve ever known. To date, his defiance of political convention has generally been in his favor, but that could snap back in the other direction as well. Trump has an astonishingly low personal approval rating for a president who is getting such positive results.
Fourth, you figure the Democratic Party is tired of losing with her and they would never give her the nomination. Penn knows Democrat presidential politics pretty well, and one thing he understands is the influence the Clintons still wield both with donors and within the party’s operational structure. Yes, the 2016 primaries were rigged in Hillary’s favor. But remember, that’s because Bill and Hillary had the power to rig it. What makes you so sure they don’t still have it?
I want to believe Hillary has come to terms with the idea that she will never be president, and the country will not once again find itself at risk of this megalomaniacal criminal obtaining the power of the presidency. But what I see of her gives me no confidence this is the case. She is bitter and furious her dream was denied her, and whenever she talks about it, she talks like a reckoning is due her.
Her claim that she has no plans to run is about as believable as anything else she says, which is not at all. We are not out of this danger, and believe me, it is danger. If this woman becomes president, she will use that power in ways that will make whatever bothers you about Donald Trump seem like pauper’s stuff. Hillary Clinton is a corrupt, angry, dishonest, malevolent human being. We owe debts of gratitude to Barack Obama – yes, I really mean that – and to Donald Trump for keeping her from getting the power she craves. And to the voters who had the wisdom not to give it to her.
But if she runs again, she will have a chance. And if she is nominated, she will instantly become the media’s candidate, just as she did last time. Now, you might say, a lot of good it did her in 2016. No one listened to the media. I know. But the dynamics of the race will be different with Trump as the incumbent. They will play up and exaggerate every supposedly negative thing about his presidency, and paint her as the reasonable alternative who would end the nonstop Trump s*** show and bring us back to normalcy.
There will be a lot of people who want that. More than you want to believe. Don’t take this possibility lightly. Anything legal and moral that can be done to prevent her from even getting close to the White House should be done. Because I don’t think she will ever decide on her own that we deserve, once and for all, to be done with her.