It’s been a little more than a month since SGR documented the growing number of political pundits who have questioned the likelihood of a successful Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016. Since then, that number has not only continued to rise, but it has been accompanied by the emergence of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as a possible 2016 challenger from the Left. Former Obama advisor David Axelrod seemed to agree with this assessment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe when he said, “You hear Ready for Hillary; it’s like, ‘Ready for What?'”.
That appears to be the big question surrounding Hillary’s campaign. What will her message be? The confusion has been exacerbated by the rise of Elizabeth Warren, who unlike Hillary, has clearly positioned herself as someone who would run on a platform to the left of Obama. Whether it’s calling for bankers to be jailed over the 2008 banking crisis, threatening a government shutdown over provisions of the recent “Cromnibus” bill, or her past statement that no successful person has ever gotten rich on their own, Warren is clearly a liberal’s liberal. The kind of rhetoric that people would expect from Clinton in the months leading up to a presidential campaign has been coming instead from the Massachusetts Senator.
Warren knows where she stands but more and more political analysts are not so sure if Clinton knows where she does. Associated Press reporter Julie Pace, also on Morning Joe, said she isn’t sure what Hillary’s message is or why she’s even running for President. Joe Scarborough followed her comment up by saying that in 2006, everyone assumed Hillary was a shoe in for 2008. Now? Not so much.
It is quite possible that the public has simply become less passionate about Hillary. Axelrod supports Scarborough’s observation that in 2008, Hillary ran as the “inevitable” winner which was a strategy that obviously didn’t work out and left the door open for the meteoric rise of Barack Obama.
Although Hillary is still polling well ahead of her presumptive GOP challengers, the feeling that her victory is inevitable, has certainly dissipated. Hillary’s difficulty with successfully promoting her brand this year certainly speaks to that. The least popular issue of People magazine in 2014, was the one with Hillary on the cover and the sales numbers from her recent book were disappointing to say the least.
New York Times columnist David Brooks thinks that her odds of even winning her party’s nomination are 65% at best due to the fact that her foreign policy stance is “so out of step” with mainstream Dems, like Warren.
The game plan of being the “inevitable” candidate may have worked ten years ago and it almost worked in 2008 but today’s political climate does not indicate it will work in 2016. Voters have grown tired of the establishment on both sides of the aisle. There is plenty of time remaining before voters go to the polls in November of 2016 but Hillary Clinton as a “sure thing” may very well be a thing of the past.
– Andrew Mark Miller