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The Democrats' Only Hope May Be a Last-Minute Hillary Campaign, and the GOP Should Prepare for It

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Forbes recently ran a story on some interesting polling, in the wake of Biden's terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week. As calls for Biden to drop out of the race continue to simmer, some people -- like Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski -- are throwing their support behind Biden.

The question has always been: 'Who Replaces Biden if he drops out?'

Most people would go with the obvious answer: Vice President Kamala Harris. She is, after all, his vice president. The heir apparent should something happen to Biden that renders him unable to serve out his term as President. But as I argued here, she's the real loser of Thursday's terrible debate.

It's clear the Democrats know she's an unpopular candidate who would make an unfit president and lose the general election to Trump. She dropped out of the 2020 primaries early because voters did not want her. She didn't get a single delegate. In fact, Bernie Sanders got more of the black vote than Kamala Harris did. And while -- today -- some voters are willing to 'blow up' the Democratic Party if Harris is passed over for a white candidate, the fact remains: Kamala is not popular with voters. Black, White, or otherwise.

And her stock hasn't risen in the intervening years.

So, what are the alternatives, and how do they stack up against Trump? Well, here you go:

Vice President Kamala Harris (45%) trails Trump (47%) by two points in a CNN/SRRS poll—a smaller deficit compared to Biden’s six-point shortfall behind Trump in the same poll.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (42%), who has starkly pushed against the idea of replacing Biden, according to Politico, is five points behind Trump (47%) in the poll.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (43%), who has commonly been floated as a Biden replacement despite turning down rumors of a “shadow campaign” for the White House, polls five points behind Trump (48%), according to the poll.

Secretary of Transportation and former 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (43%) trails Trump (47%) by four points in the CNN/SRRS poll.

At 44%, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a former presidential candidate who ran against Biden in 2019, also sits two points behind Trump (46%), albeit in a poll from progressive think tank Data for Progress.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (43%) expressed support for Biden after his debate performance and is behind Trump (46%) by three percentage points in a Data for Progress poll.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., another familiar face to voters, polls three points behind Trump in the Data for Progress poll, with Klobuchar capturing 43% support compared to Trump’s 46%.

Notice a name that's conspicuously absent from this list?

Where's Hillary Clinton?

You cannot tell me she left out of this polling by mistake.

In fact, aside from Bill Clinton's post about supporting biden post-debate, the Clintons have been unusually quiet.

Part of me wonders if this isn't part of an intentional strategy on the part of the Clinton camp -- keep her name out of the polling, keep her name off the list of potential replacements for Biden.

For now.

We all know how 2016 went.

Yet, Clinton may be the Democratic Party's Hail Mary play this election cycle. They've clearly decided it's not Kamala Harris and, therefore, the millions raised by the Biden-Harris campaign are lost. Clinton is the only candidate with the name recognition and the network to pull off a late-stage presidential campaign.

This, of course, hinges on Biden dropping out of the race. That scenario is a precarious one, because it would be an admission he's not fit to serve as president now, and how do the Democrats justify keeping him in office -- in charge of the nuclear codes -- if he can't run a campaign? There's no logical way to reconcile those two positions, even if you argue Biden surrounds himself with good people.

The flaw in the Hillary campaign is, of course, Hillary.

Hillary is her own worst enemy, and it has less to do with the fact she couldn't find Wisconsin on a map than her having the personality and warmth of a tinfoil teddy bear. There's a reason she lost to Donald Trump in 2016 and it wasn't Russian collusion.

After eight years as First Lady, and a stint as senator and Secretary of State, the people know Hillary Clinton. And they don't like what they see.

So the longer her name is out there as a potential candidate, the less likeable and less electable she becomes. So it would not surprise me at all for the Clinton camp to sit back and wait until the last possible second, then swoop in as the savior of the Democratic Party. 

Could she win?

I don't know. I doubt she could, but she's the best play the Democrats have with the hand they've dealt themselves. And let's face it, there's no way the 'I'm With Her' crowd has given up on Hillary being the first female President. In fact, there's no way Hillary sits on the sidelines and watches Kamala Harris or Amy Klobuchar run for the presidency. Losing to Donald Trump was a bitter pill and it's one Hillary still hasn't gotten over.Democrats -- some of them, anyway -- would be thrilled to see her run. See her warm reception at the Tony Awards, for example. Hollywood would trip over themselves to support her campaign. 

A rehash of 2016 is something the GOP should be prepared for. Why? Because now we know Trump and we know Clinton, and the question will come down to who the voters think is best suited to get us out of the malaise of the Biden years.

There, Trump is at a slight disadvantage. Hillary, while she has a reputation that precedes her, has zero executive experience. That worked to Biden's advantage in 2020 -- he was an unknown executive. It might work in Hillary's favor. Late in 2016, Clinton's campaign was also marred by the illegal server revelations. While she never faced charges or jail time, it certainly didn't endear voters to her.

We saw what happened with COVID, and some voters may blame him, in part, for the economic woes we're experiencing now. Trump needs to hammer home the point that inflation was low when he was president, that gas and groceries were affordable. Keep pounding the message that Bidenomics-induced inflation is a regressive tax on everyone -- but especially the lower- and middle-classes.

There's also abortion, which was a big issue in the first debate and will be an even bigger issue if Clinton is the nominee. Trump needs to counter that narrative by hammering home the Democrats' capitulation to the trans cult -- and especially Biden's gutting of Title IX. Suburban moms and single women may lean Democratic, but they also won't like the thought of their private spaces, their sports, and their academic and athletic opportunities being usurped by men. And they really won't like the thought of their daughters being forced to compete against and change amongst men.

Trump and the GOP also need to study up on the Supreme Court rulings the Left has absolutely melted down about -- immunity, the bump stock ban, etc. -- and be prepared to present disciplined, coherent arguments as to why Sotomayor's dissent (wherein she said the president could order Seal Team 6 to assassinate his opponent) is Leftist insanity.

The Democrats are in disarray right now, but the GOP should not assume that'll last until November. It won't. The GOP needs a clear, concise, and disciplined message for not only campaigning against Biden, but the very real possibility Biden won't be the nominee.


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