Both former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are working on plans to campaign for Democrats in 2018, and Democrats worry they plan to change the direction of the Party.
Aides to Obama told The Hill’s Amie Parnes he is looking to resurface on the national campaign stage. Parnes also reported Tuesday that Clinton is trying to sort out what role she might play in the midterm elections.
Parnes has written several books about the Clinton and Obama races.
Although the pair bring a lot of fundraising firepower to a very crowded field of needy Democratic candidates, party insiders worry about who would control the party if either past candidate became too influential.
“He has to be careful,” Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University told The Hill. “At a moment when President Trump’s approval is falling so fast — including with his base — there is a risk for Obama taking center stage and triggering the energy that many Republicans currently lack.”
Zelizer has a point. Republicans both on The Hill and in the White House successfully campaigned against the former president, winning control of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency during the course of Obama’s controversial tenure.
But Clinton brings a whole new set of potential baggage to the 2018 electoral cycle. The Democratic National Committee’s leaks revealed that members of the party worked with the Clinton campaign to ensure she received the nomination over Sen. Bernie Sanders, and she her reliance on Hollywood elites and overblown advertising campaigns failed to win over key minority voters in key states like Florida and Pennsylvania.
Despite those drawbacks, Clinton insiders argue that the former senator could help Democrats in states that she won over Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
“No one can argue that Clinton helping in those areas wouldn’t be helpful,” an unnamed Clinton source told Parnes. “That is a priority for her.”
Despite Democratic assertions, Republican strategists welcome the return of the party’s greatest targets in modern political history.
“For 30 years, Hillary Clinton has essentially been Old Faithful for Republican candidates,”strategist Doug Heye told The Hill. “Her continued prominence only helps GOP candidates with an electorate that historically is more favorable than what they faced in the last presidential election.”
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