On November 8, 2016, Hillary Clinton bumped her head on that glass ceiling and lost the presidential election to Donald Trump.
After briefly removing herself from the public eye, and taking walks in the woods near Chappaqua, she returned and quickly inserted herself back into the political spotlight.
In April, 2017, Hillary announced she would not run for office ever again, ending speculation that she might attempt a third presidential run. Thankfully, she will not, and the country will be spared from seeing her name on any future ballot.
However, she’s not going away.
Her interviews and media appearances only seem to be increasing, and she’s often mentioned in the news. While it’s true that she has vowed to fight with and for the Democrats in an attempt to regain Congress through midterm victory, her near-constant presence isn’t exactly doing them any favors.
In fact, the GOP should thank her for remaining on stage as a sort of figurehead for a leaderless Democratic contingent. Because if there’s one thing Hillary Clinton is, it’s polarizing.
Though Hillary Clinton was the obvious choice for Democrats in 2016, after waiting her turn behind Barack Obama, she was a terrible candidate. This woman had the gender card safely in her possession, years of political experience behind her, and plenty of name recognition. Even with all those balls in her court, she still lost to a loudmouth reality star and former friend.
She was easily one of the worst presidential candidates of all time. Even Hollywood Leftists like Susan Sarandon threw their support behind crazy Socialist, Bernie Sanders. The lure of the “first woman president!” still couldn’t entice legions of Democrats into her corner. They wanted someone even more radical than her, or frankly, they were just quite bored with an entitled woman who just wouldn’t go away.
And…she’s still here, hurting the Democrats.
While in India recently, Hillary complained that her loss was partly because white women vote the way of their husbands. (Especially Evangelical white women. They’re the worst.) She also went on to slam red states and describe her deep love for blue states. Great look, Hillary. Afterwards, she took to Facebook to explain what she meant, but the damage was done. Even last summer, Democratic operatives complained about her blaming tour and hoped she would just go away.
She hasn’t, and won’t.
Now, the midterms are right around the corner. Democrats continue to view her as a liability. Republicans see her as good political ad material.
Republicans are running attack ads blasting Hillary Clinton as an out-of-touch elitist. Fox News prime time is blanketed with reports about Clinton investigations. Trump 2020 campaign rallies in key presidential swing states feature “lock her up!” chants.
So far, at least three Republican candidates or groups have released ads over the past week slamming Clinton…
And a new digital ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee opens by telling viewers Clinton “called you deplorable,” adding that “Florida won’t forget” Sen. Bill Nelson’s 2016 endorsement of her White House bid. It’s one of several state-specific spots being released by the GOP’s Senate campaign arm that ties vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents to their party’s most recent presidential nominee.
And why wouldn’t they? It’s a smart move.
Like it or not, when voters of any political persuasion think of Democrats or “The Left”, they think of Hillary Clinton. She is almost two years past her greatest and last loss, and she continues to be wedded to both politicians in power and those seeking it, even if some try to keep their distance.
Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Republican strategist and ad-maker, said the GOP’s strategic bet is that shifting the focus back to Clinton “lets Republicans and Donald Trump pretend like the 2016 campaign is still going on.”
“If I were advising Hillary Clinton,” he added, “I would raise a gigantic s— ton of money for people and stay out of the news.”
Naturally, some disgruntled Leftists see this focus on Clinton as a desperate attempt by the GOP to retain Congress. Well, obviously, that is the goal of the GOP. From a marketing standpoint, ads targeting little-known political candidates quite often don’t have much power on their own. But if you insert Hillary’s name into the targeted attack, compare similarities, and warn voters that said candidate will push a Clinton-approved agenda once in D.C., you will have succeeded in catching the attention of the electorate.
Democrats know this, and some candidates are steering clear of any discussion.
…candidates on the receiving end of the Clinton attacks aren’t dismissing their potential potency. Some are laying low, avoiding the issue entirely: Of half a dozen red state Senate Democrats asked to comment for this article, only one responded for the record.
Some, like Senator Claire McCaskill, are flat-out telling Hillary to shut up and let us do the talking.
“For those of us that are in states that Trump won, we would really appreciate if she would be more careful and show respect to every American voter and not just the ones who voted for her,” McCaskill told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt following Clinton’s Mumbai comments.
The move from Democratic darling (however reluctant some may have been to embrace her), to an annoying former candidate who is chided for loose talk, has been remarkable.
Unlike her husband, Hillary has never had to worry about having an overly charismatic nature. Her icy, controlling demeanor as a political candidate has thawed only to reveal a bitter woman who isn’t afraid to say what she thinks, however offensive those statements are to voters across the country.
What does she have to lose by running her mouth and complaining about a loss and those who handed it to her? The answer is nothing, at least personally. But in the big picture, her mere presence may cost some Democratic candidates favor with voters, if not their actual races.
As much as the country is tired of rehashing the 2016 presidential election, the continued presence of the second-place finisher is welcomed by the GOP. They are glad to shift focus from their own polarizing personality, Donald Trump, onto a woman who elicits disdain even from moderates.
On the other hand, the Democrats are more than eager to turn the spotlight away from Hillary Clinton. Their inability to quiet her words and influence may seriously hurt them come miderm election day.
Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.