Clintonphobia: Why No Democrat Wants to Run Against Hillary

by - August 21, 2014

The winning-by-losing strategy works best when it gains you some influence over the person who defeats you for the nomination. Sometimes that means earning a place alongside them on the presidential ticket, as Edwards did in 2004. Sometimes it simply means convincing their supporters that you have a bright future and may be worth supporting down the line. The strategy works less well if the person who defeats you becomes your sworn enemy, committed to doing you political harm. It’s the fear that the Clintons may do exactly that that is limiting the pool of willing challengers. And for good reason. Throughout their careers, Bill and Hillary Clinton have shown a willingness to remember, and punish, political betrayals. In 1980, then-President Jimmy Carter sent some of the Cuban refugees who had arrived in the United States as part of the Mariel boatlift to Arkansas. Held in prison-like conditions, the detainees rioted and some escaped, which ensured Clinton’s reelection defeat as Arkansas governor. As Carl Bernstein details in A Woman in Charge, the Clintons retaliated more than a decade later by refusing to give anyone in Carter’s inner circle a job in the Clinton White House. In their book HRC, Jonathan Allen and Aimee Parnes note that in 2012, Bill Clinton repeatedly intervened in Democratic primaries to help candidates who had backed Hillary against rivals who had backed Barack Obama—thus reminding Democrats that opposing Hillary carries a price.

Source: Clintonphobia: Why No Democrat Wants to Run Against Hillary - The Atlantic

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