The sidelining of Bill Clinton

There was a time -- and it was a loooooong time -- when Bill Clinton was the most sought-after surrogate in the Democ...

Posted: May 22, 2018 10:01 AM
Updated: May 22, 2018 10:01 AM

There was a time -- and it was a loooooong time -- when Bill Clinton was the most sought-after surrogate in the Democratic Party.

The former president could go to almost any congressional district in the country -- urban/rural, Republican/Democrat -- and be an asset to a candidate or congressman. His charisma, brain and speaking abilities ensured that people would leave the town hall/fundraiser/meet-and-greet wowed by him.

Those days appear to have come to an end.

These two paragraphs -- from a terrific story by The New York Times' Alex Burns and Matt Flegenheimer -- are devastating.

"Mrs. Clinton's husband appears far less welcome on the trail, with his unpopularity among Republicans compounded by-new skepticism on the left-about his treatment of women and allegations of sexual assault.

"Mr. Clinton is said to remain passionately angry about the 2016 election -- more so than his wife -- raising concerns that he could go wildly off message in campaign settings, several people who have spoken with Mr. Clinton said."

That is tough stuff. But it reflects a broader reality, which is that Bill Clinton is simply a man out of this current time and place in politics. His past sexual indiscretions make him a ripe target in our #MeToo moment. His ongoing bitterness toward, among others, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is not only backward looking, but politically problematic due to Sanders' hero status among liberals within the party.

Clinton's sidelining is an especially humbling pill to swallow for someone who is not only widely acknowledged -- by Democrats and Republicans -- as the brightest political talent of his generation but also someone who lives and breathes politics like few others.

Clinton is, of course, nothing if not resilient -- having ridden the waves of public opinion through a series of ups and downs beginning in the 1970s. His own past history suggests that the self-proclaimed "Comeback Kid" should never be counted out entirely.

But, but, but. Clinton's diminished role -- internally and externally -- within his own party marks a moment for Democrats. No figure -- and certainly no family -- in recent memory has been so closely associated with the Democratic Party as Bill Clinton. That he is largely an undesirable figure to the new faces of the party speaks volumes.

The Point: The 2020 Democratic primary fight will be the true marker of what a party that has put Clintonism entirely behind it will look like. At the moment, the energy among Democrats appears to be almost entirely among liberals, while the Third Way/centrist path trod by Clinton feels almost entirely discarded.

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Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
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Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
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Rice3652
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Sherburne2081
Todd1970
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Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
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Mahnomen51
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Red Lake30
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Redwood30
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Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
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Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
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Fayette260
Hamilton260
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Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
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Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
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Kossuth70
Emmet70
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Union60
Adams50
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