On the Democratic side, the big question is what does Hillary Clinton do. She is, New York Times polling analyst Nate Silver said last night at the Aspen Ideas Festival, in an extremely strong position as a primary candidate -- and that means she can get away with waiting to declare longer than some others. But if she waits too long to say she'll run, she won't be able to clear the field of competitors. And if she waits too long to say she won't run, she could potentially hurt the prospects of whoever the future Democratic nominee is, since less experienced and well-connected candidates will need more time to polish their performances on the stump and raise money and build a national campaign.
"From the standpoint of the party primary, it's almost as though she's an incumbent president, right, where she even trumps, kind of, the VP, who very often wins nomination after a president is term-limited," said Silver, who was interviewed by Katie Couric in an evening session. "If you look at polls, you know, 60 to 70 percent of Democrats say they prefer Hillary to be the nominee. There's no kind of non-incumbent in history with those types of numbers."
Silver also added that Clinton could afford to wait until the last minute because she had no need to waste advertising dollars in order to introduce herself to the voters. But he also said that if she did not at least privately signal her intentions to the rest of the possible Democratic candidates she would essentially frustrate them and potentially risk having one jump into the race before she made it plane that she intended to run.
I can only imagine how frustrating that would be to start the process, spend the money, and then have to find some believable reason to drop out after learning the Clinton juggernaut was about to launch.
Hillary could risk making some of her potential supporters angry if she waits too long.
Of course you know as frustrating as it might be for the Dems to wait, it would be infinitely more irritating for the Republicans to have decide if they want to put in a viable candidate or simply sacrifice someone's political future by having them run against Hillary.