According to a BBC story, Hillary Clinton has officially announced that she won’t be seeking the 2020 presidential nomination, ending months of speculation over whether she will throw her hat in the ring again. However, she cautioned opponents not to expect her to go away either.
“I’m not running, but I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe,” Clinton said in a 12 News Westchester interview.
When the interviewer pressed her as to whether she could foresee any potential runs for political office in her future, Clinton replied, “I don’t think so.”
The interview was the first time Clinton definitively said she wouldn’t be joining the crowded Democratic field, which has more than ten declared candidates and counting.
Since her loss in the 2016 election, the Democratic Party establishment and Clinton’s supporters have been seeking a single, easily identifiable culprit that prevented Clinton’s widely expected election as the first female U.S. president, with legions of fans begging her to run again in 2020. The BBC article did point out that Clinton was widely perceived as a problematic candidate from the beginning, carrying baggage that included a visceral hatred for her from the far right, tepid support from younger voters, and an uncomfortable coziness with Wall Street in economically turbulent times, leading to a race that pitted the two most unpopular candidates in the nation’s history against one another. A narrative around Russian meddling in the election, as well as voter suppression, coalesced in the months after the election.
In remarks at the anniversary of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” Selma, Alabama, civil rights march, Clinton addressed voter suppression in 2016, as well as the polarization the U.S. faces under President Donald Trump.
“We are living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy. This is a time, my friends, when fundamental rights, civic virtue, freedom of the press, the rule of law, truth, facts and reason are under assault.”
Clinton went on to suggest that had it not been for voter suppression in Georgia and Wisconsin, Stacey Abrams would be governor of the Peach State right now, and Clinton would be president. She added that changes in voting law affected her chances there.
“I was the first person who ran for president without the protection of the Voting Rights Act and I will tell you, it makes a really big difference,” she said in Selma. “It made a difference in Wisconsin, where the best studies that have been done said somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 people were turned away from the polls because of the color of their skin, because of their age, because of whatever excuse could be made up to stop a fellow American citizen from voting.”
However, other reports have mentioned that Clinton’s campaign team chose not to send her to Wisconsin, nor to Michigan or Pennsylvania, states they assumed were a lock for the Democratic candidate. Each of those three states went by less than a percentage point for Trump.
A Salon piece that included interviews with a pair of constitutional scholars who disputed the thesis that the Supreme Court striking down the Voting Rights Act had any effect at all in those Rust Belt states.
“None of those states were covered… by the part of the VRA the court struck down,” said Richard H. Pildes.
Regardless, Clinton ended her interview on a hopeful, if cautionary note, saying she’s spoken with most of the 2020 candidates.
“I’ve told every one of them, don’t take anything for granted,” she said.