Van Jones has declared the Clinton era of politics over. He’s right, but I think he is wrong about when it happened.
It did not happen with the defeat of Hillary Clinton, but with Al Gore running in 2000.
In 2000, if you will recall, Al Gore’s team made a conscious decision to sideline Bill Clinton. They were afraid he would taint Gore’s campaign because of the Lewinsky matter and impeachment. Never mind that Clinton was popular, Gore not only did not campaign with Clinton, but he also distanced himself from Clinton’s centrism.
Fast forward to 2016. We know that Bill Clinton insisted his wife’s campaign make a play for blue collar voters and that they amp up criticism of Obamacare. We also know that the skinny jeans wearing metrosexuals in the Brooklyn office refused. In fact, several people who were close to the campaign told me that if Bill Clinton said to stand, the campaign was likely to sit.
One of the reasons Clinton lost, and there were many, is because Hillary Clinton’s campaign team decided the Clinton era of politics was over. They were “with her,” not with the Clintons.
Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but he has one of the keenest minds in American politics and he has great empathy for and a connection with a lot of blue collar voters. Had he been on the ballot in 2016, he’d have been a formidable opponent to either Barack Obama or Donald Trump.
But Hillary Clinton’s campaign wanted nothing to do with his advice.
A friend of mine pointed out the other day that the “Clinton era” really hasn’t been operative since 2000 and Clinton style politics hasn’t been tried by the Democrats since 1996. But it worked pretty good for George W. Bush in 2004 and Donald Trump in 2016.
If Democrats go far left, as they appear to be doing for 2020, it’ll only ensure another Trump term in office. Why? Because the farther left the Democrats go, the more openly hostile they are to the American way of life. Just look at their open hostility to religion — something Van Jones has been critical of within his own party. Also look at their forced homogeneity on abortion, transgenderism, etc. There is far more diversity of opinion within the GOP on those issues and a willingness to let them play out at the state level instead of mandating them from Washington. Put that together in a Presidential package in 2020 and Trump can coast to victory, barring an economic catastrophe (see e.g. tariffs and trade war).