Activists Wonder: Will Hillary Replace Biden to Face Trump in 2024?

President Biden just texted this long-time Bernie campaigner for the second time this month (“It would mean so much to me if you could make a $10 donation to the DNC (Democratic National Committee).” His tone was unctuous. Just like him. No mention of why. No straight-talk such as: “Rick Scott’s plan to raise taxes could happen if the GOP wins back control. Rush $10 to the DNC’s Red Alert Fund.”

At least DNC PAC flacks’ are bold and upfront with “URGENT” and imaginative missives filling my email and snail-mail boxes. Nothing hesitant or mealy-mouthed about their prose: “Horrible News : A record number of Democrats—more than THIRTY—have decided to retire…The math is NOT on our side.” Or: “If we don’t meet our goals [$102 million], we will have to CANCEL THESE ADS ”).

Given pundits such as Politico’s Steve Shepard and several major polls predicting a Republican midterm landslide into Congress, the party apparently is desperately scouring the nation for votes. On their lists are defectors such as the “turncoats,” the angries, those disgusted with DNC candidate choices—and “temporary Democrats” like me, stuck in Oregon’s closed primary system. We are the bane of county election officials because the day after voting for a worthy, non-DNC-approved candidate, we “Temp Dems” re-register to return to our home party (Independent, Green, Progressive, Working Family, etc.—or Republican).

Unfortunately for the DNC, we “Yellow Dog” Democrats stopped giving to the DNC or voting for its usual malleable presidential candidates after its shameful treatment in 2004 and 2016/2020 of Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders, respectively, to keep them off the ballot. Moreover, as a public relations professional, it seemed to me that with Biden’s recent poll ratings nose-diving to 33 percent  —and election cash beginning to dry up—extraordinary electioneering boldness is called for, especially in these terrifying times.

After Biden’s two years in office, I and millions of others have concluded he and his DNC handlers have little interest in us 99-percenters by failure to vigorously and regularly fight for our critical needs. They have him blistering their foreign enemies, but rarely our domestic enemies in Congress and Corporate America. He still comes off as a disingenuous senator using Congressional courtesies and people-pleasing to chase cash from big donors.

Bernie he’s not. Bernie genuinely believes in what he’s advocating whether it’s bills, speaking everywhere on talk shows and giant rallies, carrying picket signs, or skewering opponents. He’s authentic. Though a year older (80 ) than Joe, he seems to have five times the pep. Considering Joe’s poll numbers, he’s now seen by too many Democratic voters either as the DNC’s puppet or a friendly, vacuous, hot-air buffoon. Like Trump.

We activists noticed even in his vice-presidential days how super-cautious he was about not upstaging or offending Obama. Like Mike Pence, he also holds ironclad centrist beliefs about right-and-wrong morality and is careful never to stray too far into controversial issues. Today, that means taking sides in today’s crucial issues: environmental protections, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, enforcing voting rights, abortion, expanding Social Security and Medicare, long-term support for the poor and homeless, student loans, and union members’ strikes. Joe’s a life-long compromiser and well practiced in avoidance of controversial issues that could cost votes for the Democratic party.

When the DNC decision-makers had to pick a presidential candidate in 2020 among 25 contenders , many of us Bernie campaigners were furious when they obviously convinced all but Joe to quit t o show unity against Trump. It’s been a traditional party tactic. Granted, Joe had solid national political credentials: the Senate (36 years ), a two-time presidential candidate (1988, 2008 ), and was Obama’s affable two-term vice-president(2009-2017 ). He and Bernie had monumental political recognition around the country. His time had come for the party’s biggest reward for being its long-time obedient and faithful servant.

If he initially demurred about the inner-circle’s presidential offer—perhaps out of exhaustion or family concerns—it would appear they assured him their experts would do all the heavy lifting, from speechwriting and budget preparations to handling foreign and domestic policies, press conferences, and public appearances. Thanks to the COVID pandemic, Joe could lie low in his basement campaign office to avoid the virus and controversies as well as his usual verbal and social gaffs. His team seemed to handle almost everything in the campaign—as promised.

For example, they provided him with 90 promises for the campaign trail. Some were cynically drawn for that list: ending new fossil-fuel drilling on federal lands and rejoining the Paris climate agreement. We activists knew that most of those domestic promises ever became bills, they would never get out of Congressional committees for a floor vote. Key ones would offend big donors—the party’s and his. They counted on the “public forgetter” being endemic with most voters. Many are unaware of the Congressional process to make them law. Even if they were aware, few would be likely to hold him to those vows. But never those of us in powerful progressive movements.

So 71 of those 90 promises did stall in Congress. Luckily, among the 17 that passed were the American Rescue Plan and Infrastructure bill. But as the DNC circle correctly guessed, others  were of little interest to the average voter such as “leveraging allies to support 5G alternatives excluding China”; resuming ties with the Palestinian Authority; and restoring the White House’s office for global health security.

We were among millions who sensed Joe’s heart and soul were not in what he was touting. He rarely mentioned the domestic promises he opposed. Older voters and the young, politically savvy generation knew about former presidents Harry S. Truman who did loudly and firmly champion his causes (“Give ‘em Hell, Harry”) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) who “went to the mattress” for his New Deal during the Great Depression. Truman did railroad whistle-stops around the countryside. Both flayed greedy corporations or Congressional opponents for killing or blocking crucial legislation for the “99%”— especially FDR’s Social Security. President Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) put the fear of God into Congressional colleagues and lobbyists to deliver Medicare, civil-rights laws, and other critical benefits for all Americans. He was a master at “godfathering” defiant colleagues into compliance by using low-growls and vise-like arm-twisting, to which the popular and powerful Senate minority leader Everett Dirksen (R-Il) could attest.

Joe’s half-hearted push for his own $3 trillion  Build Back Better bill (BBB) helped stall it so Republican lawmakers could slash it to $1.75 trillion and strip it of major offerings. Gone was free tuition at public colleges, extending the child tax credit, forcing Big Pharma to negotiate lower prescription prices for Medicare recipients and 80 percent coverage of glasses/hearing aids/dentures/implants Also omitted were paid family and medical leave , and fines for foot-dragging utility companies  over adopting clean energy systems.

Where were Joe’s fiery blasts against these deletions? He has yet to take Democratic opponents Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to the woodshed for supporting the filibuster blocking his agenda. Voters are also bound to weigh why his regime is so eager to spend us into another endless war, this one possibly nuclear against Russia . Why end federal help  for the ongoing pandemic? Why stall on canceling student loans ? And why not resurrect wartime price controls to stop inflation? These major worries aren’t going away for most voters.

Finally, in mid-March, the 98 members of the House Progressive Caucus, facing re-election in the midterms, ordered Joe to use his Executive Order powers  to do an immediate end-run around the Republican siege to restore the BBB’s provisions. Among them were fighting climate change, canceling student debt, lowering prescription prices, raising the minimum federal wages, and criminal-justice reforms. FDR signed 3,721Executive Orders, many for New Deal programs Congressional Republicans blocked. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren  warned and The Guardian’Joan E. Grevein reported:

“Progressives warn that if Biden does not start signing more executive orders [he’s done 87 ], Democrats’ failure to follow through on many of their campaign promises will result in severely depressed voter turnout among their supporters in November, probably allowing Republicans to regain control of the House and Senate.”

Perhaps the last straw for us climate activists was his shocking hypocrisy in releasing new oil and gas leases  covering 144 acres in nine states and 80 million in the Gulf of Mexico for fracking by the global oil barons. Banning new drilling was one of his 90 promises. His DNC handlers may think this destruction action a non-issue for voters, but when millions of environmentalists exploded  over that betrayal, it drew vast public attention from the public about the rapid approach of the planet’s death.

The DNC’s Machiavellian movers-shakers have to have concluded Joe is a liability for Congressional candidates in the midterms and the 2024 presidential run. Better cut their losses now to warm up that  winning presidential candidate in the months ahead.

That means convincing Joe to step aside (reasons: age, health, family). It may not be hard. He may be relieved to pass the baton to someone stronger, tougher, younger, politically seasoned, and a former major Administration official. Someone who’s a household name and too familiar in foreign capitals—and scares Trump who fears strong, smart, and super-competent Someone who’s been in the DNC “inner circle,” whose presidential campaign loaned the party millions to help pay off part of Obama’s $47 million debt  from his 2012 re-election campaign.

Who else but Hillary Clinton?

The party does owe her such a “last hurrah.” Besides, she beat Trump by 2.9 million votes in the 2016 election, but not in the right electoral-college states (227-304). This despite her being detested by millions as a cold-hearted, calculating, super-ambitious warhawk.

When I asked a business owner the other day about that possibility, he shook his head and said “I think she’s too tired,” he said, indicating two failed presidential tries (Obama/Trump) and being New York’s two-term senator, and a powerful Secretary of State. “Who else have they got with her stupendous qualifications?” I asked. A shrug and silence. A thirtysomething Trader Joe cashier agreed Hillary was fully qualified, but “we want someone younger.” Like who? Again, a sigh, shrug, and silence.

Because I’ve been tracking Hillary’s political moves for the last two years, I argued she seems to be in good physical and emotional shape  for 74. She stays current on national and international events—especially the hot domestic issues that concern most Americans. Upgrading a résumé in her case is a clear sign of plans to return to public office. After all, she’s never let go of the nearly 69 million  who voted for her in 2016, and those thousands of fanatic campaigners from two presidential runs. Indeed, she has created an “alumni” organization  (Hillaryland).

For the last two years, she’s hosted a podcast talk show (You & Me Both with Hillary Clinton ) split into a celebrity interview and her responses to listeners’ letters, permitting her to comment about major news. Late last year, she and husband Bill did an online teaching stint about leadership on the private MasterClass White House series  (1.5 million subscribers @$180 annually). She’s co-authored a “thriller” novel, and her latest book (What Happened ) about the 2016 election will be in bookstores September 12. Plenty of time for 2024.

Hillary still knows how to generate media coverage. A few days ago, she wrote a New York Times op ed eulogy to Madeleine Albright , her predecessor as Secretary of State. And she just sued Trump to dismiss his recent lawsuit  charging her with “a racketeering conspiracy to propagate false claims about him and Russia” in the 2016 campaign. She’s claiming he waited over four years to file action, that it lacked validity, and was a political publicity stunt (benefitting both for 2024). She’s also picked up publicity—and gratitude from the DNC and midterm candidates—by endorsing some in critical key states such as Ohio . Nor has she been shy about revealing a positive test for COVID . Millions of American voters will identify . 

So she seems to be making careful preparations for cultivating the inner-circle’s nod for another run against Trump. Her weapons will be his monumental basket of high crimes and misdemeanors leading to two impeachments. He faces federal prison for approving the treasonous attempt to overthrow the Constitution and the Biden government to remain president that’s unfolding in the House Select Committee on the January 6 attack . In addition, a federal judge just ordered him to pay a $10,000-per- day fine  in New York for failure to turn over his company’s subpoenaed documents in a business fraud case. His weapons will still be her emails, misogamistic comments about her looks (not age; he’s 75 ), and misdeeds as Secretary of State. Unfortunately, most voters either don’t remember them or no longer care.

It’s doubtful the inner-circle will ever dictate policies to Hillary. Recognizing Americans are more concerned with domestic crises than global issues like the Ukraine/Russian war, she has a kit of remedies from earlier campaigns to prevent a major public explosion. One major help will be her kit of 41 policy proposals of which 38 looked like a Bernie platform. They involved everything from gun control and debt-free college to expanding Social Security/Medicare, low-cost housing, and voting rights. Though accused of being in the pockets of Wall Street and the Pentagon, her proposals included plans to reform both.

With her monumental credentials, expect that DNC inner-circle soon to be asking us: What’s not to like about replacing Joe with Hillary as our presidential candidate?