Let’s pretend you’re a Democrat. I know, it may be difficult to take leave of your senses, but do it for a second.
Let’s also pretend that you’re a prominent Democrat — say, so prominent that you’re credibly tipped to be in contention to represent the party in the 2020 election.
Who would be your source for strategy? Your family? Your advisers?
Or, would you take advice from a former presidential candidate who had twice as much money as her opponent, fawning media coverage, support of the sitting president and an opponent pretty much everyone was more than happy to portray as a tyro, a bigot and a liar — and who still lost?
Well, if you want advice from such a figure, Hillary Clinton has some counsel for you. So, if you’re such a Democrat, feel free to do exactly the opposite of what she said.
The 2016 standard-bearer was speaking at the Women in the World conference in New York City on Friday when she urged candidates “to do two things simultaneously.”
“You have to be able to counter and ignore where possible (and) respond where necessary to the diversion and distraction that we see, unfortunately, working by the current incumbent in the White House,” she told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
“So you have to do that balancing act, and I think that we have excellent candidates who are demonstrating their ability to do that.”
WATCH: Hillary Clinton gives her advice to 2020 Democrats challenging President Trump. pic.twitter.com/RWNNn5ViCG
— The Hill (@thehill) April 13, 2019
That advice really means everything and nothing at the same time. It’s also how Clinton lost the 2016 election.
Keep in mind that when she ignored Donald Trump, it was during the homestretch of the campaign, when she decided to look beyond the Republican opponent.
Take this CNN article from Oct. 24, 2016, that, as the kids like to say, hasn’t aged well:
“Hillary Clinton is steadily moving her focus beyond Donald Trump, increasingly planning for what she believes will be her transition to the presidency after a final two-week dash through battleground states.
“Even as Clinton intensifies her efforts to help Democrats across the party, particularly trying to win control of the Senate, she is spending much of her time behind-the-scenes putting together a White House team and preparing for a task even tougher than taking on Trump: governing in the divisive election’s aftermath.”
So in other words, she looked beyond Trump and was more interested in transition, plus “governing in the divisive election’s aftermath.”
And that’s not even mentioning the fact that she misidentified what the battleground states were.
As for “respond(ing) when necessary,” well, I don’t think she did a fantastic job of that either.
But, as some Twitter users pointed out, the cheek of Hillary giving election advice to anyone was really the best part of this:
Why would she tell people not to campaign in swing states?
— Religious Jaw (@religiousjaw) April 13, 2019
"Ignore the Midwest. The popular vote means everything."
— DavidGomez (@davidgomeznm) April 13, 2019
— Frank Zhou (@realFrankZhou) April 13, 2019
And at least one of the top contenders says he won’t be asking Hillary for advice or meeting with her — although you might be able to guess who it is and why he isn’t going to be doing so.
“I suspect not. Hillary has not called me,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a March appearance on “The View,” when asked if he would be consulting with Clinton.
“Look, we have differences. She has played a very important role in modern American politics.”
Well, yes — opening the 2020 field for Bernie Sanders.
Of course, there’s no real front-runner at the moment and the Democrats seem to be divided as to whether they want to turn hard to the left (Sanders, Harris, Warren, Buttigieg) or they really just want to beat Trump with the vaguest candidate possible (Biden, O’Rourke).
Neither seems like a particularly fantastic strategy at this point, but one hopes that whoever gets nominated will remember to “counter and ignore where possible (and) respond where necessary to the diversion and distraction that” Trump represents.
That’s some deep stuff right there, coming from a woman who knows what she’s talking about.
After all, just look at her track record.