Is the end of the Clinton dynasty nigh?
For a power couple used to the political spotlight, 2019 is proving to be a tough year — and 2020 will most likely be even tougher.
Still bitter and reeling from her 2016 presidential election loss, Hillary Clinton is finding it difficult to remain relevant as the Democratic Party takes a hard turn to the left. As for Bill, the #MeToo movement caught up with him and he is now essentially political poison. And the Department of Justice may yet catch up with Hillary.
The rematch with President Donald Trump that both were sure they would win, isn’t happening. None of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates wants the advice of Bill, a former president no less.
Meanwhile, cash flow to the Clinton Foundation, which peaked at $249 million during Hillary’s first year as secretary of state, slowed to a 15-year-low in 2017 with reported total revenue of $38.4 million. One of the Foundation’s top undertakings this year is an independent power producer floating solar photovoltaic (FPV) project in the Seychelles, the island nation that is, per-capita, the richest in Africa.
Bill Powell noted in a report for Newsweek last month that a friend had related how Bill Clinton, at 72 and 15 years on from open-heart surgery and the complications that arose from it seemed a “bit sad, and more than a bit angry.”
“The 2020 race for the White House was underway, and not many of the ever-expanding field of Democratic contenders had phoned him or come calling to discuss what it is like to run a presidential campaign,” Powell wrote. “A lot of the contenders seemed to be scrambling to the left to satisfy the progressive wing of the party ‘and the angry Twitter-verse,’ as friend puts it. ‘This guy’s political brain is still sharp — among the sharpest in the party — and he worries that [the Democratic Party] may be frittering away the chance it has to beat Trump next year.’ ”
That’s where the anger comes in, Powell noted.
“And the sadness? ‘He realizes, politically, he’s in exile, and to some extent Hillary is too. This is a tough time for them,’ ” the friend said.
Powell noted that 2019 for the Clintons is “the year the might-have-beens become especially painful.”
In the #MeToo era, “the personal has become the political. And Bill’s history of skirt chasing — before the White House and during his presidency — is no longer defensible for many Democrats,” Powell wrote.
“When Hillary insisted in a national television interview last year that her husband’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky was not ‘an abuse of power’ because ‘she was an adult,’ the press reaction was scathing. According to three friends of the Clintons (who were granted anonymity to speak candidly), the furor had a ‘profoundly depressing effect’ on the first couple and all those around them who still like and support them.”
“It was just awful,” says one of the friends. “For Bill, it brought up all the bad times, and it showed yet again that Hillary just has no political fingertips. It couldn’t have been worse.”
It had been an “open secret in Clinton world that Hillary was at least considering another presidential run, though just how seriously is a matter of dispute,” Powell wrote. “She was being urged on by Bill, according to two sources close to them, who was convinced she would beat Donald Trump in a rematch. To both of them, ‘Trump had been predictably awful. They felt that, even with a relatively good economy, he was very vulnerable.’ And a lot of Democrats still wanted to make history by electing a woman, and both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders (whose supporters would have been infuriated by another Clinton run) obviously didn’t fit that bill.”
At the Clinton Foundation, cash flow nosedived to a 15-year low in the year after Hillary’s unsuccessful run in the 2016 presidential election, according to tax returns obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics.
While the Clinton Foundation’s cash has been hemorrhaging, Hillary Clinton started up her own new venture in 2017: a 501(c)(4) nonprofit called Onward Together, a report by OpenSecrets.org said.
Unlike the Clinton Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) that is legally prohibited from any political activity outside of voter registration and engagement activities, Hillary Clinton’s new 501(c)(4) nonprofit can spend unlimited sums on politics so long as politicking is not its primary purpose.
As for the project in the Seychelles, the Clinton Foundation said in a press release that construction is expected to start possibly as soon as this year and the floating solar facility will become operational in 2020.
“We at the Clinton Climate Initiative are thrilled to support this innovative project, which represents a groundbreaking step forward for island nations and other regions with limited land available for solar development. Floating solar photovoltaic energy holds immense potential for islands, and our partners in Seychelles are demonstrating true leadership in addressing the global climate and energy crisis,” said Fiona Wilson, Senior Regional Manager for the Clinton Climate Initiative.
The Clinton Foundation press release added: “When fully constructed and operational, this innovative project will be the first utility-scale, private-sector funded floating solar plant in Africa, and Seychelles’ first independent power producer, drawing international expertise and capital to both transfer knowledge to the local energy sector and accelerate Seychelles’ transition to renewable energy. The plant will also be the first utility-scale floating solar project in a marine environment worldwide, paving the way for further marine projects, a crucial opportunity for island nations and other land-scarce energy systems.”