Describing twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s public life following her 2016 defeat, NBC News contributor Heidi Przybyla wrote that Clinton “has maintained a fairly low profile.” Is that what you call it when a defeated candidate goes on a months-long international blame-all book tour, appears on every talk show that will have her, and offers her unsolicited opinion on every topic, from healthcare to LGBTQ+ rights?
Now, Clinton is even reportedly preparing to hit the campaign trail to raise funds for the Democratic National Committee that was so good to her as a candidate, offering a much needed financial boost to her party ahead of the crucial 2018 midterms.
Clinton plans to attend events in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York this fall to energize donors in the crucial days before the November election. Invitations were mailed out on Monday for the first of these “intimate dinners with discussions” in California.
In addition to raising funds for her party, Clinton plans to campaign on behalf of several women involved in tight races across the country, according to a political ally close to the former first lady and Obama administration secretary of State.
Last month, Clinton held a trial run of sorts when she headlined a fundraiser for Lucy McBath, a prominent gun control activist who recently won a runoff election in Georgia. But Clinton stopped short of actively campaigning for McBath, possibly out of concern that her influence could derail Democrats’ chances in 2018, like the toxicity attached to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s name tends to.
In fact, even without her presence on the campaign trail, Republicans find easy support from their constituents just by referencing Clinton. A series of campaign ads have relied on using the corrosive Clinton name to build opposition for Democratic candidates, and one commercial seen in 10 states that Trump carried in 2016 even reminded voters: “She called you ‘deplorable.’”
Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, is one of those conservatives who see advantages to Clinton’s participation this fall.
“The longer a scandal-plagued Hillary Clinton lingers in American politics,” Hunt predicted, “the worse off House Democrats will be.”
A sinking ship
Clinton, Pelosi, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts make up the trio of high-profile members of the progressive establishment that Republicans are attempting to tie to candidates in particularly polarized elections. But conservatives are not only touting the successful GOP tax plan that sent the U.S. economy surging in 2018 — they are also pointing to the Democratic calls to “abolish ICE” and institute socialist programs as reasons to vote Republican.
Although Clinton has not publicly named the candidates she plans to champion this fall, her longtime spokesman Nick Merrill maintained: “There has never been a more important midterm election, and Secretary Clinton is going to do her part to lift up the next generation of leader.”
Merrill went on to dismiss the notion that Clinton could actually harm Democratic chances moving forward.
“You pay attention to those you’re threatened by,” he said.” If they didn’t think she was still a force in the party, then they wouldn’t continue to treat her like the president.”
Clinton’s 11th-hour introduction on the campaign trail may be a desperate bid to even the odds with the Republican National Committee, which has outraised the DNC by $213 million to $110 million. Analysts are projecting that Clinton could draw massive online contributions from female voters, who account for 60 percent of the party’s digital donations.
While Clinton may serve as a money machine, the DNC gamble may serve to leave a foul taste with voters who felt let down by the former presidential candidate in 2016. Still, it appears that Democrats are willing to ride the sinking ship that represents the Clinton campaign to the deepest depths of the political abyss.