Hillary Clinton May Wait Until Summer To Enter Presidential Race

With no real opponents in the race for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton has no reason to rush getting into the race.

Hillary Clinton Speaking 2

While the race for the Republican nomination for President appears to be beginning in earnest, prompted in no small part by early maneuvering by Jeb Bush and the increasing likelihood that Mitt Romney is indeed going to throw his hat in the ring for a third run at the White House, things have been fairly quiet on the Democratic side of the aisle. At most the past several months have seen some talk of potential candidacies on the part of people such as former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, as well as some speculation that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders may enter the race. The “Ready for Warren” people continue to do their thing notwithstanding the fact that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has said she’s not running for President. Vice-President Biden, meanwhile, has apparently not taken any real steps to put together a campaign organization. To a large degree, of course, the lack of action on the Democratic side of the race is due to the fact that everyone seems to be waiting to see what Hillary Clinton will do. At this point, the major shock to the Democratic field would be Clinton announcing that she isn’t running since it would leave the party without a real front runner heading into 2016. The question, though, is when Clinton actually intends to enter the race, and a new Mike Allen piece at Politico suggests that she may delay entering the race until much later in the year than originally planned:

Hillary Clinton, expecting no major challenge for the Democratic nomination, is strongly considering delaying the formal launch of her presidential campaign until July, three months later than originally planned, top Democrats tell POLITICO.

The delay from the original April target will give her more time to develop her message, policy and organization, without the chaos and spotlight of a public campaign.

A Democrat familiar with Clinton’s thinking said: “She doesn’t feel under any pressure, and they see no primary challenge on the horizon. If you have the luxury of time, you take it.”

Advisers said the biggest reason for the delay is simple: She feels no rush.

“She doesn’t want to feel pressured by the press to do something before she’s ready,” one adviser said. “She’s better off as a non-candidate. Why not wait?”

A huge advantage to waiting is that Clinton postpones the time when she goes before the public as a politician rather than as a former secretary of state. Polling by both Democrats and Republicans shows that one of her biggest vulnerabilities is looking political.

So the Clinton camp has enjoyed watching her recede from the headlines in recent weeks as Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney have amped up their potential candidacies.

One option being considered would be to announce an exploratory committee earlier – perhaps in April, at the beginning of a new fundraising quarter, in the timeframe when insiders originally expected her to launch her campaign.

Then the actual kickoff would be in July, near the start of the next quarter. By launching at the beginning of a quarter, supporters have the maximum amount of time to generate a blockbuster total for their first report.

The fact that Clinton hasn’t announced anything yet is, of course, a sign of just how strong her campaign for the nomination is at this point. While many will point to the 2008 election in support of the idea that Clinton’s inevitability isn’t as assured as the pundits are making it out to be, it’s quite apparent that there simply isn’t any comparison between the 2008 and 2016 races and the idea that it’s likely that Clinton could be undermined by an Obama-like candidate this time around is extremely unlikely. As I noted when this argument was last raised back in July, even in the early stages of the 2008 race then Senator Obama was polling in a strong second place behind Clinton and the talk o f her “inevitability” was far less common than current conventional wisdom would have it be. This time around, Clinton polls far ahead of any of her potential opponents for the Democratic nomination, and she continues to out-poll her potential Republican challengers, and there’s no real indication that any of them could come close to being an Obama-like candidate. Webb and Schweitzer, for example, would potentially be interesting candidates that would garner a lot of press attention, but neither one of them seems likely to have the kind of grassroots appeal that would be needed to overcome their current single digit numbers in the polls. Martin O’Malley’s candidacy, to the extent it ever comes to be, will likely be hurt by the fact that he was unable to even ensure that his own Lieutenant Governor was elected to succeed him. At 73, nobody actually believes that Bernie Sanders is a serious candidate for office. Joe Biden seems unlikely to enter the race. And, finally, while Elizabeth Warren may have an eager fan base, she’s made it clear enough that she doesn’t intend to run if Hillary Clinton runs for President that for her to change her mind on that point would seem to undermine her own credibility as a candidate. Democrats are reportedly eager to downplay the idea that the 2016 primary race will basically end up being a coronation for Hillary Clinton, but that’s exactly what it’s shaping up to be, and as long as that’s the case there’s no reason for Clinton to enter the race any earlier than she needs to.


FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Moosebreath says:

    “A huge advantage to waiting is that Clinton postpones the time when she goes before the public as a politician rather than as a former secretary of state.”

    An even bigger advantage is that by waiting and keeping everyone else waiting, she is reducing the time for anyone else to hire staff and fund-raise before the primaries start.

  2. Will Taylor says:

    This post reminds me of the running article in Esquire.


  3. C. Clavin says:

    If she waits long enough all the passengers in the Republican Clown Car will disqualify themselves and she won’t have to run at all…she’ll just win by default.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    @Will Taylor: I expect the subject displeases you no end, but in contrast to the POLITICO pieces that Charlie Pierce tears up, where is the sycophancy? Where is the fawning? What part of what Doug has written is objectionable?

  5. Neil Hudelson says:

    @C. Clavin:

    To a large degree I think this is it. She’ll have a better idea of what issues are wedge issues within the party, and can chisel away at Bush/Romney/Rubio/Christie while they are still in the primaries, help paint them as No True Conservative.

  6. CSK says:

    There are advantages and disadvantages to waiting. One disadvantage is that–often but not always–the better staff people and advisors get picked off by those candidates who declare earlier.

  7. Will Taylor says:


    It does displease me but in the same way any early 2016 speculation does whether its Hillary, Bush, Warren, or anyone else. It’s just tiresome and i find myself coming here less and less with stories like this. As for her candidacy, she obviously is not my first or second choice, but it won’t exactly be the end of the world for me if she wins. I also understand stories like this help drive traffic to the site and create “debate but its just too much already for me.

  8. Gustopher says:

    Or, maybe, she just cannot handle the campaign because she is old, worn-out and tired and is hoping that something changes between now and July that will reinvigorate her — drinking the blood of new-born pandas, perhaps.

    Or she just doesn’t feel the fire in her belly the way she expects to.

    I’m not a Clinton fan. I wasn’t a fan in 2008, and I am less of a fan now. I’d like her to announce she’s not running. Still better than any Republican, and if it came down to a choice between her and Andrew Cuomo, I could develop some enthusiasm for her, but…eesh.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Will Taylor: Fair enough. Thank you.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    Yah, this is going to end up as a case where I’ll be voting for Hillary over the Republican simply because all the drag-along baggage on the Republican side is so ominous.

    I’d vote for a Republican if your side nominated someone who would a) kick the neocons to the curb b) jettison the moral majority types, c) swat the Tea Partiers, and d) bring back strong tariffs and support for science and technology research. Turn back into being a 1950s Republican, in other words.

    Which is now what the Democratic Party has turned into.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    It makes me nervous, but it’s probably smart.

  12. Tillman says:

    @grumpy realist: Basically, you’d vote for a Republican if no current Republican would vote for them. 🙂

    @gVOR08: I love Pierce’s writing, but even I know he’s shooting fish in a barrel there.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @Tillman: Yes–the Republican party has gone from being Eisenhower Republicans to a bunch of lunatic fruitcakes. Leaving aside all the social conservative silliness, I can’t understand why they think they can just drop all government investment in science and technology and remain with a working economy. This libertarian concept “we’ll let the companies handle everything” is great if your country is working in total isolation, but it makes you dead meat at the gate for any other country that decides to have a national policy of pushing science and technology.

    At some point China will carry out the equivalent of another Sputnik, and the US will only at that point realize that it pissed away its entire basic science and technological advantage. That all chip manufacturers are in China and Taiwan, that all the advances in solar cells are being done in China, and all the biology and medical advances are getting done in places like Singapore.

    The real point of no return will be when scientists and engineers start emigrating to another country because said country is “where the action is” and NOT the US. Then we’re hosed.

  14. CS says:

    To be honest, even if she doesn’t run there’s a few good reasons to hold off on announcing. Clinton staying ambiguous keeps the other potential major players from starting, and it avoids the additional months of battering away between the candidates. Even if she doesn’t plan to run Clinton will want a democrat in the White House, and avoiding the kind of protracted free for all that the Republican side of things looks like it will become is to the advantage of the party.

    With the Republican primary looking to be as bad or worse than last time the Dems staying quiet keeps the attention locked on the clown car. It focuses attention on the assorted Tea-party and comedy candidates surrounding whoever the Republicans finally pick. Footage of Romney or Bush debating against Trump or Cruz in front of a crowd which will be heavily from the extreme flank of the party will never help Republicans, because it forces their real candidate into the same position that Romney suffered last time- to placate the base he was forced further right than he would’ve wanted to be come the general. The crazies will bait the relatively plausible candidates into saying something stupid, and the Dems can plaster it across the airwaves.

    Meanwhile the Dem equivalents to the TP and comedy crowd (Though there is no Dem equivalent to Donald Trump, thank god) don’t have as long to campaign in the spotlight (which only really comes with the big names starting) hoping for momentum, so fewer will try a long-shot candidacy. That hopefully restricts things more to the candidates who can genuinely manage a national campaign and none of the serious players will want a charge to the extreme left that will hurt them in the General. Furthermore, most will be more willing to bow out if it becomes clear they won’t win, avoiding the ‘trapped rat’ flailing of characters like Gingrich when they realize their long-shot has missed. The professionals who truly stand a chance don’t want to poison the well to the same degree- they can hope for cabinet posts or a shot at VP this time round, and want to stay at least semi-respected for the next campaign, just like Clinton herself did.

    In the end, regardless of her final action, Clinton is forcing the Dems to follow the old adage ‘never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake’.

  15. Tyrell says:

    @grumpy realist: While China may have some technology, they are still way behind. I have yet to see a Chinese car on the road in this country. They wouldn’t hold a candle to US car companies. Why doesn’t China enter race cars in Formula 1, Indianapolis, or NASCAR ? And just how many times has China landed someone on the moon and returned them safely ? What kind of jet aircraft does China make ? Anything that compares with the F22 or Stealth bomber ?

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @CS: Good comment. However I can’t see Gingrich as delusional enough to think he had a shot at the nomination. He was just desperate to keep the grift going another few weeks.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell: There were Chinese cars at the Detroit auto show. Best one can tell from looking at them, they’re state of the art or very close. They are producing fourth generation fighters, including the Chinese designed J-10. Not equal to the F-22, but hey, we seem barely able to build the F-22.

  18. Tyrell says:

    Maybe she will take a pre-campaign trip to North Korea, accompanied of course by Dennis Rodman.

  19. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell: Yeah man – It’s almost like the Chinese value different things than we do – like they are foreigners or something!

  20. C. Clavin says:

    Butters threw his hat in the ring today…setting up a political committee.
    This changes everything. By which I mean it changes nothing.
    Has Butters ever been correct about anything?

  21. Tyrell says:

    @gVOR08: Thanks for the information. I will check out the Chinese cars – especially their time in the quarter mile and 0 to 60. It sounds interesting and we will see how they plan to market their cars. Hopefully they have some good ev or hydrogen powered cars.
    “Four speed, positraction Chevy 409”

  22. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: Yes, they are perhaps behind at present, but we can’t just sit on our laurels and assume that we’ll always be on top. That’s the point.

  23. Tyrell says:

    @grumpy realist: That is certainly true. I think there was a lot of that and complacency in the big three during the decades 70’s – 80’s. But that is apparently over.
    The new Cadillac puts out 600+ horsepower and can hit 200 mph on the street ! And take a look at the 2017 Ford GT ! If those don’t get your adrenalin / testosterone pump going wide open, nothing will. Looks like muscle cars are back, finally !

  24. CS says:

    @gVOR08: In a battle between Gingrich’s intellect and his ego, I know where I’d put my money. He may have known he’d lose, but when it actually began to happen he became pretty vicious. To be fair to him the fact he actually picked up a few good primary finishes probably stoked him up enough for things to get ugly- if he’d just been creamed he’d probably have taken it with a bit better grace, but I think he actually began to believe he had a chance after winning South Carolina, emotionally if not intellectually, and that pumped his ego up enough for Bad Newt to reappear when things started to go wrong.

  25. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: And please explain to me how this will supersede China’s advancing technology in solar cells and computer chip manufacturing?

  26. wr says:

    @Tyrell: ” It sounds interesting and we will see how they plan to market their cars”

    Has it occurred to you that the reason you don’t see Chinese cars out in Hog Walla or whever you is that the Chinese have no need to sell their cars in the US? They’ve got an enormous and growing market back home — there’s plenty of money to be had there.

  27. Tyrell says:

    @grumpy realist: Good point, but these new cars are not only powerful, but highly advanced. I can’t wait to get more information and figures on the 2017 Ford GT. Rumors about the tech advances on this car are running all over. Imagine a race ready car that can be driven on the streets .We are on the razor’s edge of cars that are beyond our parents wildest dreams. Look at what Tesla has done: an ev that gets 70mph in 3 seconds! The race tracks are the research labs of the car industry. Within five years I look for it to be routine to see races won by ev and hydrogen power cars. Think back to the famous turbine car that almost won the Indy 500 twice (then was withdrawn under strange circumstances). It was the red STP car, the “whoosh mobile” ! I would like to see Teslas in some of the racing leagues: Formula 1, NASCAR, Indy, and NHRA. People see Teslas running at Daytona, and sales would go off the charts.
    See FordSocial.com to see more information about the simply amazing 2017 Ford GT.

  28. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Gustopher: ” Still better than any Republican,”

    And THAT, alas, is the problem.

  29. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell: I think Tyrell explained his thinking well if you stop at “testosterone.”

  30. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: My bad, that was supposed to link back, to Grumpy’s original comment not to testosterone boy’s response.

  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    The more interesting thing to me is that he is discussing the technology of high end cars while economists are saying that one of the things that 75 or so percent of the population can no longer afford to buy is—new cars.

    What’s wrong with this picture? From the right side, nothing, because as one of my friends explained last week at lunch, the beauty of the labor market is that if you don’t like your salary, all you have to do is quit your job and go find a better one.

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Looks like muscle cars are back, finally !

    They never left … 😀

  33. michael reynolds says:

    I’ve never understood the love affair with old muscle cars. Some looked cool but for the most part they were junk compared to modern cars.

  34. Tillman says:

    Going to part with a ’93 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme this summer. There was no mechanic that didn’t fall in love at first sight with it. I like to think that gave me some cognitive advantages in dealing with them. Thankfully there weren’t too many who were so worshipful as to do expensive things to it behind my back.

    First car I ever drove that had a HUD in it showing your speed and what turn signal was flashing. Guy who originally bought it apparently went with a few of the luxury options.

    Ten years I’ve been driving this car. Fairly certain the red paint job is purely responsible for me receiving the only two speeding tickets I’ve ever gotten in my life.

  35. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Hillary is going to win by default no matter what. The Blue Wall is already probably past 270 electoral votes. There is almost no way the Democrats can lose in 2016. The real question is whether the media will keep pretending that the Republicans are relevant to politics or finally admit that the Republican have almost no influence on policy or governance.

  36. steve q says:

    Mike Reynolds, i remember a guy telling me such and such 70’s muscle car was Soooooo much better than the Porsche 959 i was lusting after. In less than a minute i was able to find out and tell him that the 959 had exactly Double the power/weight ratio of his 70’s junkmobile.