The post-Trump era has been a difficult one for the news business. It’s tough to maintain readers’ attention when the leader of the country isn’t spouting surreal nonsense every day. To keep things spicy, sometimes you need to play the old hits, even if those hits never made any sense.
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed with the irresistible headline “Hillary Clinton’s 2024 Election Comeback.” The article, co-authored by Doug Schoen and Andrew Stein, ludicrously argues that Clinton could present herself as a “change candidate” if Democrats lose in this year’s midterms. It is not worth engaging with on the merits. Instead, this latest invocation of the Hillary bogeywoman is best viewed as the continuation of a tried-and-true strategy for the conservative media, especially the Journal. It’s the higher-brow version of Donald Trump’s favorite chant.
In 2018, the Journal ran a similar op-ed, this one by Mark Penn and, once again, Andrew Stein (who labels himself a Democrat but endorsed Trump in 2016). The certitude-filled headline: “Hillary Will Run Again.” The even less prescient sub-headline: “Reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination.”
For those just catching up on the news, she did not end up running.
Nor did she run in 2012, even though Doug Schoen and Patrick Caddell argued the previous year in the Journal’s pages that Barack Obama should abandon his reelection campaign and make way for Clinton. (Headline: “The Hillary Moment.”)
That Penn and Schoen, Clinton White House veterans who have spent the past 20 years concern-trolling Democrats, have absolutely no insight into the current state of the party does not seem to be an impediment to publishing sweepingly incorrect predictions or advice. What’s more important is that Hillary Clinton, that ambition-mad schemer, is always waiting in the wings, perpetually about to take control of the Democratic Party, despite the fact that roughly zero people in America actually want her to do that.
Enough with the Hillary prophecies. Let’s stick to realistic 2024 ticket ideas, like Biden-Cheney.