A Clin­ton dy­nasty? 4 cru­cial things to look out for in 2015


A still un­de­clared can­di­date, Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton sits atop the prospec­tive field of Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates for 2016. But as Clin­ton has said be­fore, if she runs again, she’ll work as hard as any un­der­dog.

Clin­ton’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial bid stum­bled in the Demo­cratic pri­mary against U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, un­der­mined by anti-war ac­tivists who op­posed her vote to au­tho­rize the Iraq war, in­fight­ing among her staff and other prob­lems.

How the for­mer first lady at­tempts to ad­dress those de­fi­cien­cies — as­sum­ing she runs for pres­i­dent, as ex­pected — will be a big part of Clin­ton’s ef­forts next year. Here’s a look at five things to watch from Clin­ton in 2015.

AN­NOUNCE­MENT: Spec­u­la­tion about the tim­ing of Clin­ton’s an­nounce­ment has been ram­pant. Some Democrats wanted her to make it of­fi­cial after the party’s dread­ful midterm elec­tions, when the Democrats lost con­trol of the Se­nate. Clin­ton has sched­uled some paid speeches into March, rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that she will hold off un­til spring. Demo­cratic in­sid­ers ex­pect a dif­fer­ent ap­proach this time — re­call her Jan­uary 2007 video declar­ing, “I’m in to win” — that har­nesses the grass­roots ac­tivists sowed by out­side su­per PACs, groups that are barred from mak­ing di­rect con­tri­bu­tions to po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns but are al­lowed to spend un­lim­ited funds to support can­di­dates in­de­pen­dently.

RA­TIO­NALE: Clin­ton has said any­one who runs for pres­i­dent needs to have a spe­cific agenda and have a rea­son to run. She of­fered hints at what her ra­tio­nale might be dur­ing the cam­paign, ad­vo­cat­ing for mid­dle-class eco­nomic pros­per­ity, paid leave for work­ing moth­ers and a hike in the min­i­mum wage. The party’s lib­eral wing will look for signs that she might of­fer a brand of eco­nomic pop­ulism that have made them grav­i­tate to Mas­sachusetts Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren, who says she’s not run­ning in 2016.

OBAMA: Where Clin­ton em­braces the pres­i­dent’s agenda, and where she seeks to sep­a­rate her­self from him, will be closely scru­ti­nized. Obama was a li­a­bil­ity for many Democrats dur­ing the 2014 midterm elec­tions and saw his ap­proval rat­ings sink dur­ing the year. Clin­ton, who served as sec­re­tary of state un­der Obama, will need to re­main loyal enough to the pres­i­dent to main­tain his vot­ing coali­tion while dis­play­ing enough in­de­pen­dence to ap­peal to those who have grown weary of him. Suc­ceed­ing a two-term pres­i­dent in your own party is never easy in the U.S.

TEAM: How Clin­ton as­sem­bles a cam­paign team could be in­struc­tive of what she’s learned since 2008. Back then, her cam­paign was be­set by in­ter­nal ten­sions and fights over strat­egy. This time, Clin­ton will have her pick of the party’s top tal­ent and Democrats ex­pect her to build upon the tech­ni­cal know-how of the Obama cam­paigns.

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