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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.

Read Monday's full edition of The Point newsletter, and remember to subscribe to get future editions delivered to your inbox.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33591

Reported Deaths: 1204
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
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