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Joe Guzzardi: Hillary Clinton in 2016? It’s not likely to happen

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Posted: Saturday, September 28, 2013 12:00 am

Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton announced that although she served four years as President Obama’s Secretary of State, she’s an independent woman who had policy disagreements with the president.

After reading Clinton’s announcement, I immediately thought of the Washington Post column “The Fact Checker.” In his column, Glenn Kesser verifies things said by or about prominent Capitol Hill figures and, based on the truth (or lack thereof) behind assertions, assigns from one to four Pinocchios based on the truth his search uncovers.

Kesser hasn’t gotten around to Clinton yet, but I put her down for four Pinocchios. Even though she’s no longer in the Obama Cabinet, she’s still supporting Obama. Just three days ago, at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York along with her husband Bill, Clinton characterized the Affordable Health Care Act as “a big step forward for America.”

Clinton’s attempt to distance herself from Obama is perceived as her first step toward a 2016 presidential bid where she is considered the odds-on favorite. According to a poll of likely primary voters, Clinton leads the pack with 65 percent, a huge advantage over the second place Joe Biden.

Let me be the first to tell you why Clinton will not be the Democratic nominee. She’ll run, but she won’t win. Here’s my reasoning.

First, by the time the Democratic convention rolls around three years from now, Clinton will have been in the public’s eye for more than 20 years. Throughout America, serious Clinton fatigue will set in. For many voters, even some Democrats, it already has. Clinton’s best strategy between today and 2016 would be to vanish from the political scene. While she’s disappearing, Clinton should take Bill and daughter Chelsea with her. They’re overexposed, too.

Second, while she’ll continue her effort to distance herself from Obama, Clinton’s Republican and Democratic opponents can easily link the two. Clinton’s problem will be compounded, because in the waning days of his lame duck presidency, Obama will be extremely unpopular and viewed as an extremist. In a nation disgusted with politics in general, Clinton’s well-established and ongoing endorsements of Obama’s agenda will bog her down.

Third — and Clinton’s biggest challenge — is history. Emory University political science professor Alan Abramowitz built a forecasting model based on what he calls the “Time for Change” sentiment against the in-party. Among his findings, Abramowitz theorized that growing partisan polarization creates a decreased advantage for the incumbent party’s candidates even though election fundamentals may indicate otherwise.

Abramowitz speculates that even if Obama’s job approval rating is high (it won’t be) and the economy is strong (no chance) when he leaves office, Clinton, his potential Democratic successor, would face a substantial electoral headwind.

Another political scientist, State University of New York, Stony Brook’s Helmut Norpoth, explored the autoregressive tendency in presidential elections. Norpoth says that elections are related to one another and are not independent like coin tosses. The competitive nature of elections, argues Norpoth, guarantees that the initial popular support for the incumbent party always gravitates back to a 50-50 probability for either candidate. While the timing may be uncertain, Norpoth predicts that “a reversal of electoral fortunes” will happen.

America needs to rid itself of political family dynasties that perpetuate bad policy-making: the Browns, the Bushes, the Cuomos, the Daleys and the Kennedys. When George W. Bush reached his term limit in 2008, he and his father had occupied the first or second most powerful positions in the U.S. government for 20 out of the previous 28 years.

Enough is enough!

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Adult School in 2008. He’s a former Republican and former Democrat who is currently registered as an Independent.

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