Hillary Dead In Water

She can’t announce. Can’t raise funds. Can’t even face the allegations against her. While her political advisors may be urging her to be outspoken in her own defense, her lawyers are doubtless advising silence. Because the emails of the secretary of state almost inevitably allude to classified information, Hillary’s actions in running them through a private server may subject her to the same kind of criminal liability that has laid the likes of David Petraeus, Sandy Berger and John Deutch low. She must go into any press event knowing that all she says can and will be used against her.

Dick Morris 3

Nor can she change the subject. No media will cover her pronouncements about policy or her latest homily to the rights of women and girls while this scandal fills the air.

And the scandal will take months to play out. The timing is not under her control. She could be dodging subpoenas as she goes to campaign in the primary for Super Tuesday.

After all, what is in those emails? More evidence of a cover-up in Benghazi? The real reason we were there in the first place? Complicity in the wiretapping of foreign leaders? Doubts about the very sanctions on Iran the administration is now crediting with starting the negotiations? Support for arming the rebels in Syria who became the ISIS thugs? Demonstrations of her gullibility and naivete in dealings with Russia? The emails will open up the former secretary of state to a degree of scrutiny that should would not have otherwise had to face.

With filing deadlines coming this fall, Democrats are increasingly realizing that if they don’t have an understudy for Hillary, the show may be over, bringing down the curtain on Democratic rule. It’s one thing to have a consensus nominee. It’s quite another to enter perilous waters without an alternative should things go south.

Not since the days of Ulysses Grant has a major party entered a presidential contest with only one candidate to its name. Now that this sole contender has been wounded, worried Democrats are coming to appreciate the vulnerability of their party’s position.

Will Hillary recover her balance and overcome the email scandal? Or will she face criminal investigation over misuse of classified materials? Will the drip-drip-drip of newly published emails paralyze her candidacy as worried lawyers guard her every utterance? Nobody knows. But all are becoming sure that putting all of the party’s bets on one candidate, especially as she tries to walk this legal tightrope, is not the way to go.

Especially not when there is a ready alternative — also a woman, clearly a liberal, highly articulate and popular with the party’s base — so readily available.

The days when the nomination seeks the candidate may appear quaint in our era of billion-dollar campaigns, but Elizabeth Warren may be the first “drafted” candidate since Eisenhower.

For her part, Warren can remain essentially passive, permitting her supporters to enter her name into presidential primaries simply as a precaution should Hillary get knocked out by her own emails. It would not be an act of ambition, just one of party loyalty, to allow her name to be put forward. She could even adopt a posture not unlike that of Gerald Ford, who let himself be nominated vice president, even as he staunchly advocated Nixon’s retention in office.

Hillary’s candidacy does not need to crash and burn for Warren to let her name be entered. It has only to be damaged to the point where Democrats want a backup, a low threshold indeed.

Also see,

Now Warren May Have to Run

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