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Donald Trump Features Jacob Heilbrunn US Politics

Could Hillary Clinton take on Donald Trump again?

It’s an outcome that would thrill Donald Trump and his supporters. The “it” is, of course, another Hillary Clinton run for the presidency. To support a Hillary candidacy, Democrats would have to believe that the third time truly is the charm.

Writing in the New York Post, Michael Goodwin hypothesises that she might be considering a rematch with Trump. He notes that the day after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy declared that he would retire, Clinton backed a new resistance organisation called Demand Justice. Its executive director? Brian Fallon, her former campaign press secretary. The idea behind a Clinton run is the belief that the Democratic party is riven by battles between the far left and mainstream liberals. Goodwin infers that Clinton could try to unite Democrats by playing the role of “mother hen to the fledgling activists drawn to politics by their hatred of Trump.”

Say again? The prospect that the left would embrace a Clinton run seems about as likely as Donald Trump following Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer’s advice and nominating Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court tonight. Everything that the last Clinton presidency represents is now anathema to the left—free trade, Sister Souljah moments, three strikes provisions, and so on. Another run would turn Clinton into the Norma Desmond of the Democratic party. The sun has set on her career.

It is the right, not the left, that would welcome another Clinton run. For Trump it would be déjà vu all over again, a chance to revive his greatest hits from his last campaign. Perhaps he might even invite Michael Flynn to the next Republican convention to reprise his “lock her up” chant to a cheering mob. That is, if Trump can find a city to host the 2020 event; according to the Hill, cities across the country are turning down the Republican National Committee’s requests.

It may well turn into a long, hot summer for Trump. Already he’s been dissed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who treated his emissary Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to a series of elaborate banquets while refusing to dicker over handing over his dozens of nuclear weapons. This rebuff has weakened Trump’s hand as he prepares for the Nato summit in Brussels, then heads to Helsinki to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin. Increasingly, Trump is being depicted as Putin’s plaything by his detractors. A widely read column today by Jonathan Chait, which floats what he calls “a plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion,” is representative of such thinking. In Chait’s view, “As Trump arranges to meet face-to-face and privately with Vladimir Putin later this month, the collusion between the two men metastasizing from a dark accusation into an open alliance, it would be dangerous not to consider the possibility that the summit is less a negotiation between two heads of state than a meeting between a Russian-intelligence asset and his handler.”

Meanwhile, Trump is doing everything he can to confirm his critics’ darkest fears by denouncing Nato. This morning he tweeted, “By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment. On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!”

If Trump keeps it up, he will have destroyed not only Hillary Clinton, but also the entire post-cold war order that she and other leading Democrats championed.

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