After being removed from the campaign trail during #MeToo, former President Clinton is back as a leading surrogate for Democratic Party in this election cycle.
Clinton’s moderate politics made him the first Democrat in the 1990s to win consecutive presidential elections. He is now touring the country, helping vulnerable members of his party before the midterms. Over the past week, Clinton was in New York to rally Democrats for the incumbent governor. Kathy Hochul and other House Democrats are in tight races.
Hochul stated, “Honored that President Bill Clinton has supported in the fight for a brighter future for all New Yorkers,” during a Brooklyn get-out-the-vote event.
Vulnerable Democrats in Nevada and Texas are now also supporting Clinton, even though President Biden is keeping a lighter schedule than one would expect from a sitting president. Three-term incumbent House Democrat Josh Gottheimer proudly declared his New Jersey district to be “Clinton Country” during a campaign stop.
The former president will make a last-minute swing through South Texas to support vulnerable Democrats. Clinton will be joined by Rep. Henry Cuellar and Michelle Vallejo, the Democratic candidate – both of whom are locked in a tough race with Republicans.
Cuellar, D.Texas said that “we’re excited because if anyone could motivate people to vote it’s President Clinton.” “We are excited to see him rally the vote in south Texas.”
Clinton’s reception on the campaign trail is nothing compared to what the former president received after his election. Clinton was seen as a troubled figure after sexual harassment and misconduct allegations reverberated between Washington DC and Hollywood.
Some Democrats had difficulty reconciling Clinton’s political prowess, presidential achievements, and his affair with Monica Lewinsky, a 24-year-old White House intern.
Clinton’s presence “just raises a lot of problems that will be very difficult for Democrats,” Rep. Pramila Japal, D.Wash., said to Politico in 2018. “And we all need to understand what #MeToo was,” I believe.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stated to the New York Times, Clinton should have resigned during the height of the scandal.
Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist, said that Democrats were stuck between a rock & a hard spot. They wanted to be firm against powerful men like Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh who were accused of sexual misconduct. But they didn’t feel able to do it with Clinton around.
Since then, Clinton has been linked to Jeffrey Epstein. This billionaire pleaded guilty more than a decade back to soliciting prostitution with minors. He was also arrested in 2019 on federal sex-trafficking charges after widespread criticism that his plea deal was too generous. Epstein was found dead in jail a little over a month later.
Clinton’s spokeswoman acknowledged that Epstein traveled internationally with Clinton. Clinton responded to a question about Epstein’s connection in Texas this week by saying, “I think there is evidence.”
These concerns seem not to be relevant for some members of the party a few years later. Democratic candidates who voted alongside Clinton and women’s groups at the forefront of the #MeToo movement (including the National Organization for Women and Time’s Up) did not respond to requests for comment.
Clinton’s reemergence was due in large part to the favorable political climate and low popularity ratings of Biden. The Democrats hold a narrow control of Congress and face an energized Republican Party due to President Biden’s low job approval numbers, 40-year high inflation, and low job approval numbers.
Clinton is still popular among minority voters, and Clinton’s moderate politics makes it easier to campaign for vulnerable Democrats.
Colin Strother, a Texas-based Democratic strategist, said that President Clinton is “one of those oldies” that everyone listens to. “Democrats are well aware of his flaws and foibles, and they love him regardless. He is particularly popular with the Hispanic community… and continues to be the best communicator of Democratic priorities and values.”