New York, United States | AFP |
The prospect of a Hillary Clinton comeback after her shock loss to Donald Trump could hardly be less certain, but in New York where she is revered, plenty of people dream of her running for mayor.
Her public appearances since the election have been largely confined to walks in the woods close to her Chappaqua home, where she is photographed in minimal make-up by neighbors mourning her defeat and repelled by the president-elect.
The 69-year-old former secretary of state otherwise emerged to present pop star Katy Perry with an award at a UNICEF ball and has been photographed at smart restaurants such as the Polo Bar, dining with fashion designer Ralph Lauren who custom-made the pantsuit in which she conceded defeat to Trump.
Then there was also a December meeting with donors at which the New York Times said that she blamed her loss on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the late-hour FBI intervention over her email scandal.
In a city where nearly 80 percent of the electorate voted for her, Clinton can forget that she polarized the electorate and the millions of Americans who consider her the incarnation of an abhorrent political class.
On January 8, she got a standing ovation on Broadway when she attended the last night of The Color Purple — in stark contrast to Vice President-elect Mike Pence who was booed and lectured when he went to Hamilton in November.
On Friday she will attend Trump’s inauguration — her first major appearance in months — when cameras will be watching for the slightest reaction from the woman who hoped to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling and become the first female commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful democracy.
While the Democrat lost the crucial Electoral College by 232 to 306, she won the popular vote by more than 2.7 million ballots — more than any white man as her supporters delight in pointing out.
Should she decide to run for mayor as an independent she would beat current Democratic Party incumbent Bill de Blasio by 49 percent to around 30 percent, according to poll published Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.
Confidante Neera Tanden told CNN earlier this month that Clinton would never run for office again, but several media outlets have reported on rumors that she’s been asked to consider a run for New York mayor this November.
– Trump’s hometown foe –
The job would put her in charge of Trump’s hometown, but the fact that de Blasio once managed her New York senate campaign and is running again, makes the prospect reportedly more unlikely.
But as the rumors have spread, Clinton has done nothing to give them credence or to shoot them down.
Even tabloid the New York Post, which was hostile to Clinton the presidential candidate, urged her to run against the left-leaning mayor it opposes.
“Secretary Clinton, we’d love to see you run for mayor. New York City needs you,” it wrote on January 6.
It listed her attributes and work ethic, and implied it would not be difficult for Clinton to become a city resident and build ties to city neighborhoods.
“While it’s not the glass ceiling she hoped to break, New York has never had a woman mayor. Isn’t it past time for that to change?” the editorial concluded.
Sam Abrams, professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, told AFP that something “inconceivable” months ago was “not ridiculous at all” given the scale of New York’s antipathy to Trump.
“We live in a city that opposes him ideologically more than any other city on this planet,” said Abrams.
“She has been doing this for years… she has the money, the infrastructure, the experience,” he said. “If she wants to keep fighting — it is a great way to keep fighting,” he added.
The former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state also “brings all that star power that de Blasio does not have,” he advised.
“It’s a great opportunity to be an oppositional mayor to the president.”