Commentary: Does Hillary Clinton see an opening in 2020?

Hillary Rodham Clinton makes the keynote address Tuesday June 27, 2017 to the American Library Assoc
Hillary Clinton makes the keynote address June 27, 2017, to the American Library Association Annual Conference and Exhibition at McCormick Place in Chicago.
(Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)

Hillary Clinton likely sees an opening in 2020 for another presidential run.

Over the last few days, I have spoken to a number of Republicans and Democrats regarding this possibility. One Republican kept asking: “Why are so many Democrats still deferential and respectful to the Clintons, and especially Hillary? She is yesterday’s news now — swept into the dustbin of history.”

Not so fast, I cautioned the distressed Republican. Influential establishment Democrats — just like influential establishment Republicans — are mostly interested in what is best for them. They elevate the definition of “craven” to an entirely new level.

With regard to the 2020 presidential primary, these entrenched political bigwigs simply want to be seen as backing the winning candidate and will switch politicians as many times as needed to position themselves with the victor.


Then, when the winner finally emerges, these faux-sycophants will enthusiastically rubber-stamp any pronouncement by the candidate to cement their position.

If the candidate says, “The sky looks green,” they will scream in unison, “Yes, hunter green!”

In this particular case, prominent “mainstream” Democrats will almost always be concerned about their own advancement or maintaining their base of power, and no one understands this better than Hillary Clinton.

There are no shortages of opinions on both sides regarding the former secretary of state. Leaving aside that almost endless and polarized list, four things Clinton is for sure are: intelligent, tough, vindictive and a survivor.


No one has to tell Clinton that the emerging Democratic field for 2020 is weak at best. Likewise, for the key “queen-” or “king-” makers in the Democratic Party.

The party as a whole — along with its supporters in the mainstream media, the entertainment community and academia — has been driven to the point of rage-filled incoherence because of the election of Donald Trump. Many of these Democrats, journalists, celebrities and academics are no longer capable of giving a rational assessment of the Trump presidency. Rather, they cover you in spittle as they call the president everything from a puppy murderer to a war criminal.

To say Democrats are desperate to defeat President Trump in 2020 would be the political understatement of modern politics.

From this mindless madness emerges Hillary Clinton.


I believe she does see a legitimate opening in 2020. I think she does want to avenge her embarrassing loss to Donald Trump. And I’m convinced she will still have the fire in her belly to go through the grueling process one more time to become president.

The current Democratic presidential hopefuls are probably frustrated and fearful that Clinton’s post-mortem book on the 2016 election titled “What Happened,” could muddy the waters for 2020.

Politically, I see the forthcoming memoir as a brilliant move. Leaving aside whatever revisionist history there might be in the book, its publication amplifies the No. 1 question Clinton wants to implant in the minds of influential Democrats and voters. That being: What if? What if Clinton is still viable for 2020? What if she runs? What if she gets the nomination? What if she wins the presidency?

Hence the deferential treatment and respect.


As I write this — just weeks before its publication — Clinton’s book has claimed the No. 1 best-seller spot on Amazon. And, like her or not, it is safe to predict that it’s going to be a massive best-seller. More than being a best-seller, it is going to accomplish her No. 1 goal, and that is keeping her name in the 2020 presidential discussions.

Over the years, I advised clients and politicians that the best way to “win” is to be brutally honest about yourself, your business or your product.

Not surprisingly, many people don’t like to focus on or admit to their weaknesses. But if this process is followed, hints, signs and patterns will emerge.

As of now, there are real signs popping up that Hillary Clinton still is a political force to be reckoned with and that a path could be cleared for her in 2020.


Douglas MacKinnon served in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and worked on three winning presidential campaigns.