According to a recent Marist poll, 89% of Iowan Democrats and 94% of New Hampshire Democrats have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton. In both states, at least 70% of Democrats expressed their support for a Clinton candidacy over a Biden candidacy.
Obviously, it is still very early in the process, but it’s hard to imagine a politician being in a stronger position than Clinton currently enjoys. It’s very intimidating. I could launch a very full-throated progressive crusade against a restoration of the Clinton dynasty based on the record of Bill Clinton’s presidency and Hillary Clinton’s term in the Senate. But who would listen and what good would it do?
Byron York wants to make trouble by highlighting that Hillary Clinton is offering a resume while Elizabeth Warren is offering a plan. I’m not going to take the bait. Until Warren declares that she is running for the nomination, I see no reason to contribute to divisiveness on the left. I think Clinton should be at least given the opportunity to offer to lead the progressive movement rather than triangulate against it. The coalition that put Barack Obama in office is stronger than ever and appears to be more favorably disposed to Clinton than I expected. Does she want to pick up their banner or does she want to shove Lanny Davis and Mark Penn in our faces and ask us to like it?
If she wants to pick a fight with progressives, there’s a good chance that she’ll see her support diminish substantially, at least in Democratic circles. Yet, she probably has that luxury and it might be too tempting to resist. There is so much room to run in the middle that it probably seems like the logical way to go. It might even maximize the size of her victory and lead, paradoxically, to more progressive outcomes.
This presents a quandary for progressives. Should we resist her coronation with every fiber of our bodies even though only about ten Democrats in a hundred agree with us? Or should we be solicitous of her campaign in the hope that we can have some influence over it? Should we give her a chance to run less as a New Democrat and more as a leader of the actual left-wing governing coalition?
Based on the polls I am seeing, Hillary Clinton doesn’t need us and may even benefit most by marginalizing us. Yet, this could benefit us in the end if she has the coattails to bring in a much more progressive Congress. So, is the right play to make nice and ingratiate ourselves, or is that a sucker’s play?
I can’t really decide, but without a progressive alternative to champion, there’s really nothing for us to do right now but watch.