US Democrats eyeing the 2018 midterm elections are torn on whether failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will help or hurt their chances at winning more seats in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Senate next year.
Perennially a divisive figure, Clinton has continued to be a favorite target of US President Donald Trump despite no longer holding public office. And Clinton, for her part, has publicly criticized the president and cast suspicion on the vote that brought him to office.
“So General [Michael] Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times… and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?” Trump tweeted December 2.
Former member of Congress Steve Israel, a New York Democrat, tells the Hill, “if she’s willing to go into those districts she won, she would be extraordinarily helpful.” Israel called Clinton’s potential appearance on the campaign trail a “no brainer.”
Trump sees Clinton’s future participation as a no brainer as well, particularly because the president thinks he could stay in power for a second term if Clinton were to run for president again in 2020.
“Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years,” Trump tweeted November 18.
If the polls suggest anything about whether Clinton should try to help candidates by making public appearances, the former secretary of state might best serve her party by laying low for a while.
Clinton’s favorability rating has reached a one-year low of 36 percent, a December 19 Gallup poll found. By comparison, Gallup said Trump’s favorability rating is hovering around 40 percent, which is low for a president’s in the first year of office, but still higher than Clinton’s at present.
“Clinton can be helpful, but not a force,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) told the Hill Thursday. “I mean, we’ve got to redefine ourselves and do our own work… we can’t depend on leaders who have served us in the past.
Democrats may not have much of a choice but to accept Clinton’s help — after all, the Democratic Party was placed on an “allowance” by Clinton and her backers as recently as the Fall of 2016 after the party started running low on funds, former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile wrote in a November article for Politico.
One “longtime Clinton ally” told the Hill, “I don’t see a scenario where she’s not doing anything publicly.” In June, Amie Parnes, author of “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” wrote in a article for the Hill that “she is also looking at the House districts she would in last year’s presidential contest against Donald Trump as part of an autopsy of her failed campaign, according to two sources who have spoken to the former secretary of state.”
“For 30 years, Hillary Clinton has essentially been Old Faithful for Republican candidates,” GOP strategist Doug Heye said in June. “The more Clinton weighs in and tries to tell voters ‘I’m baaaack,’ the more Republicans will tell her to keep on trucking.”