According to a scathing report Friday by the New York Times, Democratic candidates are no longer wanting to be publicly seen or associated with Bill Clinton.
While the former president was long a standard fixture when it came to helping democrats across the country get elected to public office, it appears that is no longer the case.
One of those democrats is Clarke Tucker, a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. As recently as last year, Tucker had defended Clinton when a Republican legislator attempted to rename Little Rock’s Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
“The argument was that the people of Arkansas don’t support the Clintons,” Mr. Tucker told the Times. “My thought at the time was, well, the people of Arkansas voted for Clinton eight times.”
But things have changed.
Tucker is presently embroiled in what is being called the tightest congressional race in the state. And so far, he has not asked for any sort of assistance from Bill Clinton, former governor and attorney general for the state of Arkansas.
Perhaps even more noteworthy is the fact that Clinton has not once appeared publicly to endorse any Democrat running in next week’s midterm elections.
“Every election is about the future,” said Tucker, as he drove to Little Rock for a campaign fund-raiser.
Even the New York Timesis now willing to concede that Bill Clinton is “in a kind of political purgatory, unable to overcome past personal and policy choices now considered anathema within the rising liberal wing of his party.”
So far this election season, Clinton’s involvement has been limited to a handful of private fund-raisers for midterm candidates, according to sources close to him. TheTimesreports that last week, for example, Clinton headlined a New York City fund-raising event for Mike Epsy. Epsy once served as Clinton’s agriculture secretary, and is now running for Senate in the state of Mississippi. Epsy’s campaign had no comment for the Times.
As early as last year, offers by Clinton to campaign for Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, were rejected.
When the former president called Andrew Gillum--the Democratic nominee for governor in Florida--to congratulate him on his primary win, Gillum did not ask Clinton to campaign for him.
And in August, the Democratic Party in New Hampshire removed Bill Clinton’s name from its annual fall dinner.
It is a dramatic shift for the former president who for decades, with wife Hillary Clinton, more or less defined the Democratic party. Some are speculating that Clinton’s diminished role in national politics may be the result of his former indiscretions combined with changing times.
“In an election shaped by the #MeToo movement,” reports the Times, “where female candidates and voters are likely to drive any Democratic gains, Mr. Clinton finds his legacy tarnished by what some in the party see as his inability to reckon with his sexual indiscretions as president with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, as well as with past allegations of sexual assault.”
While Bill Clinton has historically denied the allegations levied against him, and largely enjoyed a positive relationship with the Democratic party, it appears those denials are no longer good enough for key Democrats.
Tamika D. Mallory, an organizer for the Women’s March and active promoter of liberal female candidates across the country, confessed to the Timesthat she doesn’t believe Clinton’s political endorsement is capable of helping candidates get elected.
“I’m not sure that with all the issues he has, he could really be that helpful to the candidates,” Mallory admitted. “It would do the Democratic Party well to have Bill Clinton focus on his humanitarian efforts.”
Veteran Democratic strategist Rebecca Kirszner Katz also voiced her concerns to the Timesabout party support for Clinton, in light of his past behavior.
“It was an abuse of power that shouldn’t have happened and if the Clintons can’t accept that fact 20 years later,” Ms. Katz declared, “it’s hard to see how they can be part of the future of the Democratic Party.”