Hillary Clinton has begun to plot her return to politics following her surprising defeat to President Donald Trump in November.
The failed presidential candidate and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have been discussing with advisers their future in Democratic politics and how they can help the party rebuild following its poor showing in 2016, Politico reported Monday.
Rumors in the past few weeks had surfaced that Clinton advisers and supporters were encouraging her to run for mayor of New York City against incumbent Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democrat. However, another Clinton run for public office remains highly unlikely, according to Politico.
"I don't think a team of mules could drag them to do that," former Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor said of rumors that either Clinton would run for another public office.
Instead, the Clintons have been focused on understanding the failures of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and what caused her to lose to Trump despite his high unpopularity rating at the time of the election. The Clintons have reportedly been poring through election data trying to understand why the Democratic nominee underperformed on Election Day, Politico reported.
The one-time secretary of state has been in contact with a range of ex-aides, studying presentations as she tries to better understand the forces behind her shocking November defeat.
Included among those presentations has been a series of reports pulled together by her former campaign manager Robby Mook and members of his team, who have updated her not just on data and polling errors, but also on results among segments of the electorate where she underperformed, according to Democrats familiar with the project.
For his part, Bill Clinton has spent considerable time poring over precinct-level results from the 2016 race while meeting with and calling longtime friends to rail against FBI Director James Comey's late campaign intervention and Russia's involvement, say a handful of Democrats who have spoken with him.
A major focus of the Democratic Party's post-election rebuilding process has been the race for chair of the Democratic National Committee, an issue that has delved into a battle between the Clinton wing of the party and the more liberal faction that supports Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.). So far the Clintons have avoided engaging in this proxy fight for the party as "the candidates for chair rarely mention either Clinton, sensing a level of impatience with them among voting members of the committee and elected officials who want to see a younger generation of Democrats take power," Politico noted.
Helping candidates in 2018 and 2020 with fundraising would be one way the Clintons could help their party, the report said.
Democrats are considering ways Clinton could emerge as a prominent potential ally for local-level officials. For example, a major problem faced by Democratic state parties in red states is the reluctance of national party leaders to travel and help them raise money, due to those state's lack of relevance in national races. But such a fundraising role would be natural for Clinton, said multiple Democrats who are piecing together the party's map ahead.
For all the talk about their political future, the Clintons are employing a cautious strategy about when and if they should reengage with their party.
But however the Clintons proceed, "their shadow will continue to loom over the party's infrastructure" in the months ahead as the Democratic Party tries to figure out how to fight back against the Trump administration, Politico wrote.