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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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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