Failed presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced a new PAC she claimed will advance “progressive values,” but her attempt to remain on the national stage may also shine a spotlight on the lack of upcoming Democratic prime-time players.
“I think it highlights that the next generation of Democrats have been somewhat in a stage of disarray,” said Erin O’Brien of the University of Massachusetts at Boston. “It’s a different era, or at least it feels like it with Donald Trump. But most people expected her to be backstage and if any long-standing politician was going to be a major player, it was Barack Obama.”
Clinton announced via Twitter the Onward Together PAC, complete with a forward-facing arrow, and a website for donations.
“The last few months, I’ve been reflecting, spending time with family — and, yes, taking walks in the woods,” Clinton tweeted. “We’re launching Onward Together to encourage people to get involved, organize, and even run for office.”
And in a tweak against President Trump’s failure to win the national popular vote, the Onward Together mission notes it is dedicated to “advancing the vision that earned nearly 66 million votes in the last election.”
Still, while Clinton is angling to remain not just a familiar name, but a powerful financial force within the party, she’ll have to overcome lingering anger and doubts from party loyalists who believe her bad political judgment botched the election and handed the White House to Trump.
“Democrats are mainly empathetic with Clinton and, as her husband used to say, feel her pain. So they’ll listen to her and regard her as one of the party’s leaders,” said Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia. “At the same time, Hillary managed to lose an eminently winnable race, so Democrats won’t be taking much strategic advice from her or her managers.”
Clinton singled out specific groups Onward Together will support, including those campaigning for criminal justice reform and recruiting more Democratic women running for office.
Clinton’s move mirrors a similar one from Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who formed Our Revolution, shortly after losing the Democratic primary. It’s unclear how the two will be distinct, or whether they’ll spar for progressive dollars.
“They’re competing for a fixed pool of money, but it’s a very large pool,” said Dennis Hale of Boston College. “There’s an awful lot of rich liberals in this country who are freaking out and would like to be part of the resistance. This is the way of doing it — giving it to Hillary’s PAC.”
Clinton’s organization received praise, and a plug, from progressive Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren yesterday on Twitter.
“Glad to see the terrific groups @HillaryClinton is supporting — they’re doing great work!” Warren tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration continued to refuse any further comment on the existence of recording devices in the White House after the president suggested on Twitter he might have secret recordings of his conversations with ousted FBI Director James B. Comey.
“The president has made it clear what his position is,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Pressed repeatedly by reporters, Spicer snapped: “I’ve answered the question over and over again the same way.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is slated to deliver a classified briefing to all senators on Thursday about the Comey firing.