The GOP's Secret Weapon for 2020: Condi?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because this could be the ultimate matchup that ensures Hillary Clinton doesn’t win a second term.
CEO and co-founder of OZY
Two weeks ago, Editor-in-Chief Carlos Watson made the case that Condoleeza Rice could be the GOP’s best hope. Then on October 8th, the former Secretary of State and National Security advisor took to Facebook to denounce Trump and call on him to withdraw his candidacy for POTUS in a succinct, four-sentence post. Now, more than ever, Condi may be asked to resurrect the GOP in a post-Trump world.
As some of us predicted following her performance at the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton is back on the upswing, the latest polls show. I suspect she will be comfortably ahead of Donald Trump nationally when the vice presidential debate kicks off on Tuesday and will continue growing her lead within important swing states. Though the Donald still has time for a comeback with a couple more presidential debates, an onslaught of media coverage and, perhaps, an October surprise up his sleeve, let’s play out a scenario where he loses.
Which would leave a GOP field laden with hungry young politicos such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and even South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and Tim Scott angling for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in four years. But I predict the person who will get the most calls to throw her hat into the ring will be none other than … Condi.
— Condoleezza Rice (@CondoleezzaRice) March 5, 2015
That’s right, former Secretary of State — and guest curator of OZY’s Presidential Daily Brief— Condoleezza Rice is soon to look like exactly what the doctor should have originally ordered to face HRC in this election battle: a woman, of color, who’s younger than Hillary and has a substantive policy background, a Ph.D. and broad global name recognition. The Southerner, who was a registered Democrat until the early ’80s, is the opposite of Trump in so many ways. She was even once known among her aides as “the anti-Kissinger,” because of her love of humbly staying behind the scenes.
Now, by no means is she the perfect pick. Will there be critiques about Rice because of her role in the Iraq War? Without a doubt; it’s tough to run for high office, even if some time has passed, when you are associated (as Rice and Colin Powell have been) with a major historical blunder. Even just being unmarried has traditionally made for a steeper climb into high office. And would Rice be any more interested in elected office than she has been over the last quarter century? Possibly not. She has heard it all, after all: GOP representatives have asked her to chase after Senate seats and the vice presidency, and she has always said no. And yet, the Russian specialist and minister’s daughter will almost assuredly become the person to whom Republicans turn if Trump does lose next month.
Condoleezza Rice won't be Trump's VP, and will skip the GOP convention. But she will campaign for GOP Senators. https://t.co/mKRrJLWrfv
— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) June 17, 2016
In some ways, a Rice vs. Clinton matchup looked just as likely a decade ago. Not only was Rice named the most powerful woman by Forbes back in 2004 and again in 2005, but also around that time, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton coauthored a book, Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race, whose thesis was that Rice was the only candidate who could give Clinton a run for her money. What’s more, courting Condi could just make the most strategic sense. The pursuit of Rice may remind political junkies of the run that GOP heavyweights made at Powell back in the mid-’90s. They desperately wanted him to challenge another Clinton. And by the time they were done wooing him, Powell almost did — though he later declared a certain lack of “passion” for the Oval Office.
Even if Rice does not jump in, she may get a chance to set the GOP on its post-Trump path. She could restructure some of their most important policy ideas, including around the military, foreign policy with Russia, economics, race and education. Either way, get ready for 2017 to become the year of wooing Condi.