Although she is no longer going to be President, Hillary Clinton still has huge influence on the outcome of November’s Presidential election. With the nomination for the Democratic Party claimed by Barack Obama, it might appear that the former First Lady is redundant. Not so.
It is no secret that Clinton is fiercely ambitious and will stop at nothing, a fact that was seen time and time again on the campaign trail. Now that she has accepted defeat and publically endorsed her rival, surely she will sit back and watch Obama take a possible two-term Presidency. No chance.
Having failed to win the nomination outright, several options now face Clinton. The first is to seek the position of running mate for Obama, which would see her as potential Vice-President. The second option is to wait. Although this sounds unusually passive for Clinton, it is by far the more tactical and politically calculative option.
Several aspects point to the fact that she would prefer the latter.
Were she Vice-President, she would be campaigning later on the back of service in the White House during the preceding years. If, however, Obama fails in November, Clinton has a legitimate case for becoming the next nominee, hence her refusal to concede during the latter stages of the nomination campaign, even when victory became mathematically impossible.
The clearest sign was her withdrawal speech which was delayed by several days, resulting in the majority of the media focus remaining on Clinton almost a week after she had lost the nomination.
She did what she had to by endorsing Obama and promising to throw her full weight behind him. In the same speech she promised that “we will someday launch a woman into the White House”, saying that “the path will be easier next time.”
Her praise of Obama and suspension of her campaign was, however, simply acknowledgement of what has been obvious for some time, and was inevitably what she had to say in order not to be seen to be undermining the Democratic Party’s unity.
Finally, Obama himself said that Clinton’s presence would continue to be a factor in the election. Obama, who has faced her in no less than 22 debates, is in a prime position to know her thoughts and the motives.
If he does lose in November, Clinton would be the obvious choice for becoming the next nominee for the Democratic Party, and would be running against a then 76 year old President John McCain. That is the best case scenario.