HILLARY CLINTON called today for Congress to end the 53-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. Her comments, made at a speech at the National Urban League conference in Miami, were more predictable than provocative; the Obama White House ordered restoration of diplomatic relations with Havana last year, so Clinton calling for an end to the formal trade embargo amounts to calling for the logical, eventual next step in what’s already underway.
Clinton did herself no harm in seeking an end to this national embarrassment. But other news about Clinton wasn’t predictable or provocative. Just problematical. McClatchy reported Thursday that classified emails stored on Clinton's private computer server held data from five U.S. intelligence orgs, including the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Clinton has denied ever knowingly sending anything that was classified. McClatchy said the email matter has put Clinton “in the crosshairs of a broadening inquiry.”
If the recent drip-drip-drip of such bad news, the optics around that news and the prospect for more of it don’t slow down or stop, the Democrats — from party leadership to rank and file — may have to get their heads around that which up to now would have been considered unthinkable: With Clinton hampered (if not actually wounded) in her bid for the White House, the time for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a candidate may be now, or certainly soon, more than ever.
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opinion polls in Iowa.
In March, while the media and mainstream Dems focused on Clinton’s campaign, the Boston Globe threw its weight behind the idea of a Warren campaign, in an editorial that was striking in its urgency (hometown-girl motivations notwithstanding). But The Globe also paid homage to the Clinton resume, and played devil’s advocate to say why Warren shouldn’t run. From the piece: “Clinton’s deep reservoir of support, from her stints as first lady, New York senator, 2008 presidential candidate, and secretary of state, no doubt poses a formidable obstacle.”
True enough. But that runs both ways. That well of experience makes people view you as someone who knows the game by either playing it or running it. Hillary Clinton’s done both. But her big challenge, in this respect, is to reintroduce herself to the American people — and meet for the first time the millions of new voters, the ones who’ll being voting for the first time next year.
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FOR THESE millennials, half of the Clinton biography might as well be from the Peloponnesian War. She was first lady? First-time voters next year weren’t around for nearly all of that. New York senator? Great, if the millennial cohort all lived in New York 10 or so years back. Oh those younger voters do remember her 2008 campaign, and her more recent period as secretary of state should certainly resonate for the globally inclined millennial.
But the problem with Hillary Clinton doesn’t stop with the millennials, who may be actually declining in their importance as a reliable voting cohort. For those voters who fully remember the Clinton era more commonly understood to be named for her husband, her candidacy is as much to be feared as celebrated.
Yes, she’s been at the forefront of the championing of the civil, reproductive and economic rights for all Americans, and, more widely in her role as secretary of state.