by Dimitar Bechev
In the four months since the election, New York and D.C. media outlets have been diligently boosting all stories related to Chelsea Clinton, apparently in the hopes that they can astroturf a political appetite among liberals for a political campaign by the former First Daughter. Here’s The Hill, from yesterday:
When rumors started swirling after the election that Chelsea Clinton was considering her own foray into politics, it was met with eye rolls even from staunch supporters of the family. […]
But that skepticism is starting to fade.
Last month, a separate report in the New York Daily News said that Clinton could potentially run for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) seat, should the senator decide to run for president in 2020.
Clinton has only stoked the rumors further, particularly on Twitter, where she has repeatedly gone after President Trump and his associates since Inauguration Day. On Sunday, she also took the opportunity to rail against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for racially charged comments about immigrant babies.
This story was followed up today by a report that Clinton is publishing a “political children’s book” entitled “She Persisted,” dedicated to “everyone who’s ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who’s ever been made to feel less than.” (It is unclear whether Clinton herself feels that she has been deprived of access to a megaphone).
This seemingly inexplicable media fascination with Clinton—who has not, as far as we can tell, shown any evidence of being a charismatic leader or innovative political thinker—makes more sense once you remember the reach and scope of the Clinton machine. The Clinton family has bestrode American politics for a generation on the power of its vast network of activists and apparatchiks and donors and loyalist nonprofits. Once political machines are set in motion—once checks are flowing, galas are scheduled, the loyalists are hired—they are hard to wind down. And that means that, as we have said before, “there has to be a Clinton in the political arena.”
What we are now seeing are the last gasps of a vast political machine trying to keep its gears spinning despite every indication that it is time for a new model. It may or may not be successful, but one thing is clear: The Clinton machine will not let itself be shut down without a fight.