By Jim Geraghty
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Here we go again.
You really want this, Hillary Clinton fans? You’re really itching for the same personalities, arguments, records, scandals, and debates all over again? Fine. Let’s do it. Let’s have a Clinton–Trump rematch in 2020.
A lot of us dread being faced with those options again, but Hillary Clinton and a portion of her supporters seem to think that the 2016 election result was just a weird fluke, a historical accident, and that for the second time in eight years, a combination of unlikely factors have conspired to unfairly deny Hillary an office that is rightfully hers.
Discussing her loss last week, Clinton said “she takes full responsibility,” but then added that she thought FBI director James Comey and Russian meddling were decisive factors.
“Every day that goes by, we learn more about some of the unprecedented interference, including from a foreign power whose leader is not a member of my fan club,” she told Christine Amanpour last week. “[Vladimir Putin] certainly interfered in our election, and it was clear he interfered to hurt me and to help my opponent.”
“And if you chart my opponent and his campaign’s statements,” Clinton continued, “they quite coordinated with the goals that that leader, who shall remain nameless, had.”
Old habits die hard; Clinton referred to President Trump as “my opponent” five times in that interview. Two words that never escaped Hillary Clinton’s lips in this sequence: “President Trump.”
When Clinton boasted about winning the national popular vote, Amanpour joked, “I see a tweet coming.” The former secretary of state responded, “Better that than interfering in foreign affairs if he wants to tweet about me!”
Except . . . President Trump isn’t “interfering” in foreign affairs; whether you voted for him or not, he is the president of the United States and is implementing a foreign policy. You can love that foreign policy or hate it, but he’s not some outsider who wandered into the Oval Office when no one was looking. Despite some generous gestures, such as attending Trump’s inauguration, Clinton’s real perspective is starting to slip out. Trump didn’t really win fair and square, and thus, he’s not really president. He’s just some goofball who won by accident and is “interfering” in the process of governing that is Hillary Clinton’s natural responsibility.
Oh, and the presidential debate moderators let her down by not asking the right questions: “You know, I kept waiting for the moment. I’ve watched a million presidential debates in my life, and I was waiting for the moment when one of the people asking the questions would have said, well, so exactly how are you going to create more jobs? Right? I mean, I thought that, you know, I thought at some moment that would happen.”
Or maybe, Clinton offered, it was just the wrong year: “You know, it’s very difficult to succeed a two-term president of your own party,” Clinton said. “That is a historical fact. And Democrats haven’t done it since, Lord knows, like the 1820s or ’30s. A long time ago.”
In the past weeks, Clinton made clear she expects to continue to be a leading voice in Democratic-party politics. She’s writing another book, has announced the launch of a new Super PAC, and says she plans on being active on the trail helping Democratic candidates in 2018. She declared, “I’m back to being an activist citizen, and part of the resistance.”
You might have thought that managing to lose to Donald Trump by 77 electoral votes — after the Access Hollywood tape broke! — would persuade anyone that it’s time to depart the national political stage and let others carry the torch. You might think that more Democrats would say, “Thanks, but no thanks” to the woman who managed to bobble the easiest layup in American political history.
You would think wrong, apparently. “I think that Hillary’s voice is a powerful one in this resistance,” gushed Patti Solis Doyle, a Democratic political operative. “The resistance needs all the voices it can have, [and that] it can get, and the fact she can get under his skin, I think it’s a powerful thing for this resistance.” (Really? How hard is it to get under Trump’s skin?)
In many Democratic eyes, the 2016 election is one of the great injustices of modern history, a national tragedy that cannot stand. Peter Daou, an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, declared earlier this spring that if “a hostile power helped elect our president,” that means “Russia tampered with VOTERS” and that “the only fair and just resolution is to have popular vote winner Hillary Clinton take office. Or to hold a new election.” Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren contended that President Trump shouldn’t be allowed to nominate Supreme Court justices until the FBI investigation of his campaign is over.
It’s clear now. In the minds of many Democrats, Donald Trump wasn’t legitimately elected. The Russian meddling disqualifies him. A December poll found 52 percent of Democrats believed Russia had hacked and altered the election vote totals.
Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, quite a few Democrats don’t believe that Donald Trump actually beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The easiest way to dispel this myth is to just do the whole thing all over again — with Trump enjoying all of the institutional advantages of incumbency but and also the potential risk of not having made America great again. The stakes are perfect. If Hillary wins, 2016 was indeed a giant astronomically unlikely fluke. If Trump wins, Hillary and Bill and Chelsea should go away and live quiet lives out of the spotlight.
Sorry, every other Democrat with presidential ambitions. You’ll just have to wait another four years . . . again. This time, Hillary Clinton and her fans are sure she’s figured it out. If Democrats are dumb enough to challenge Trump with the one woman in the world who has proven she can lose to him in a general election, who are we to stop them?