June 14th, 2014 // 5:31 am @ Oliver DeMille
Setting the Field
The Hillary machine is gearing up. A new book by Hillary Clinton is coming out. The liberal media is gushing about Hillary—will she run, or won’t she?
Every discussion on this question is used as an opportunity to encourage voters to support “the first woman president.”
A prime time national TV special is dedicated to her, in a fashion usually only reserved for State of the Union coverage.
Just watch the ads. Her face fills the screen in a larger-than-life campaign style poster. Talk shows gush about how deftly she’s handling her skeletons—from Lewinsky to Benghazi. Monica Lewinsky herself does a once-in-twenty years article putting the whole thing to rest.
Commentators and anchors mention and re-mention how brave Hillary is the face of these difficulties.
If you are a fan of Mrs. Clinton, this all makes perfect sense. If not, you are likely frustrated as the media coverage amps up.
Not Quite the Norm
Of course, this is presidential politics as usual. Except that it isn’t. The election is well over two years away. Most presidential elections don’t get started until after the midterm elections. So why now?
That’s the surprise. The Hillary machine is gearing up to do something the Obama team never could. Despite President Obama’s personal popularity, he never had coattails. He got elected twice, but he lost the first midterm in a huge, historic way, and even when he got re-elected he carried very few Democrats with him.
Unlike Ronald Reagan, or even Bill Clinton, Obama didn’t have much of a coattail effect.
Hillary might. It seems like she will. Thus the interesting timing. For months Republicans have been anticipating a big sweep in the 2014 midterms. Strengthening their power in the House. Winning back the Senate. Maybe overturning Obamacare.
Of course, the President would veto such a vote, but at least the Congress would have its say. And it could certainly defund parts of the Affordable Health Care Act. This would set up the GOP for a powerful run in 2016 where it might gain enough Senators to override a veto.
Republicans have been licking their chops for months. After all, just look at how many seats they gained in the last midterm.
But now Hillary has stepped into the fray. Not officially. Just powerfully. Will she have coattails? All indications are “yes, absolutely.” Obama won with small margins over Romney in three key voting groups: women, Latinos, and independent voters in the swing states. These carried him to two victories.
By all accounts, Hillary will have significantly bigger majorities in all three of these electorates.
The more noise she makes before the 2014 midterm, the more likely these groups are to vote and encourage their friends to go to the polls this year. If she has coattails on election day, like she does in the surveys, she’s going to rain on the Republican’s parade. Not just in 2016, but this year in the midterms.
And as for 2016, she is the presumptive winner. No Republican is even close. No Republican is even mentioned in the same sentence as her potential opponent. It’s the most fait-accompli presidential election since Reagan ran for re-election. It’s almost uncontested at this point.
Of course, a lot of time still has to pass, and a lot could happen. But where is a possible contender who can ignite political passion and excitement at Hillary’s level? Or even close to it? Nobody is on the horizon. Will such a person eventually rise? Maybe. Maybe not.
An Early Start
Why is Hillary doing this now?
Because she can.
Because it leaves the Republicans ineptly twiddling their thumbs, hoping someone, anyone, can gain a national following and hopefully slow her down a little.
Because the sooner she starts, the sooner the electorate will get tired of hearing about Benghazi and stop caring about her skeletons.
Because it just might swing the 2014 midterms away from a sure thing for the Republicans—making the 2016 run a referendum against conservatism on every level, a true mandate for one party that would be unequalled since the sweeping Reagan election of 1984.
Creating the Legacy
But most of all she is doing this because Hillary is, for good or worse—depending on your viewpoint—not just another politician. She is a reformer, pure and simple. Her history proves that she isn’t a “let’s win, and then enjoy the fruits of office” politician at all. Nor is she a “let’s set a legacy for history” seeker as much as the last four presidents. She wants action. She wants change. Even as a first lady she promoted Hillarycare.
Imagine what her plans are as president. She’ll take action, not play politics. More than Bush, Clinton, Bush or Obama. She’ll push, cajole, shame, and relentlessly exert the power of the White House to get Congress in line behind her Rooseveltian agenda. If she has coattails now, in 2014, even before she officially runs, she’ll be unstoppable in 2016-2024.
Whether she is a Hawk or a Social Crusader remains to be seen, and will probably depend on world events.
Either way, she won’t sit still, content with a few wins. If she ends up being a Social Activist, she will likely make Obamacare look like the first small step of a national progressive revolution. She may well eclipse FDR as the modern reformer and usher in a whole new level of government size, participation in everyday life, and influence. This won’t be anything new.
If we vote for it, we’ll get what we asked for.
If you like this direction, sit back, get some popcorn and smile while you watch the show unfolding over a year earlier than expected. If not, you’ve got less than six months to do something about it.
Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.
Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah