No one in the Democratic Party has asked Hillary Clinton for advice on running for president in 2020, the former secretary of state revealed last week.
I can’t imagine why.
“Nobody’s actually been to see me,” the two-time failed presidential candidate said in a radio interview. “I see Democrats all the time, and nobody has said ‘Hey, I’m going to run,’ or ‘I’m thinking about running, give me advice now,’ because it is too soon."
She added, “And there may be some private planning going on by some people. I wouldn’t know who. I wouldn’t hazard a guess. But in terms of actually seeking out advice, people have said, 'hey, I want to come talk to you.' But I haven’t had those conversations, in large measure, because I’ve said I’m going to focus next year on 2018, and then, you know, I’ll be happy to talk.”
That no one has approached her for 2020 advice is not surprising.
First, as Clinton herself said, it is 2017. The shortlist of possible Democratic 2020 candidates isn’t just short. It’s practically non-existent.
Secondly, even if there were a set number of likely 2020 candidates, why would anyone seek campaign advice from the woman who lost to a former reality show host? Why would anyone want the advice of a person who lost despite the fact she enjoyed nearly every conceivable election advantage going into 2016?
As we’ve written before, Clinton had an enormous, overflowing war chest, a party that was more unified than her opponent's, a deep network of big league donors and political professionals, and the backing of top-tier celebrities and two very popular presidents. Clinton also enjoyed the benefit of an untested and oftentimes disastrously-organized opponent.
And she lost.
But worse than losing a very winnable election, Clinton refuses to own up to her carelessness, her mismanagement, her hubris, and her bad political instincts.
So, in the interest of saving the possible Democratic 2020 candidates some time, we can tell them what not to do during the next presidential election based on what Clinton did (or didn’t do) last year.
Don’t, for example, take states like Wisconsin for granted. Maybe visit them once or twice during the general election. Don’t frame the election in terms of how voters can best help you ("I'm with her!" and “Make herstory”). Your message ought to be the exact opposite. Don’t outsource millennial outreach efforts to aging boomers like Al Gore (age 69) and Dave Matthews (age 50). Don’t alienate undecided voters by referring to them as “deplorable” bigots.
Don’t take disaffected white and working-class voters for granted, especially when someone like Bill Clinton, who won the Rust Belt twice, tells you explicitly that you need to focus on them.
Lastly, and this advice is geared more towards the Democratic National Committee, don’t nominate a Wall Street crony and FBI “person of interest.”
Make better choices, people. We deserve at least that much.