This past weekend, Hillary Clinton — the failed 2016 Democrat nominee, the former senator, and the former secretary of State — told British talk show host Graham Norton that if she gets into the Democrat 2020 primary contest, “I’d have to make up my mind really quickly because it’s moving very fast.”
She also modestly mentioned she has been “deluged” with encouragement to run — but eloquently concluded with, “Right now, I’m not, at all, uh — you know, planning that.”
Clinton missed the filing deadline for the February New Hampshire primary.
But she could still run in February’s Iowa caucus — as Iowa has no filing deadline.
If Clinton were to get into the race, chaos would quickly ensue.
Candidates now running would have several options. They could endorse her and get out — a convenient break for some; they could stay in and fight; they could stay in and denounce her; or they could bide their time and ignore her.
Lower-tier candidates could use a Clinton entrance to claim they are leaving for the party’s good in order to give the strongest candidate a legitimate shot at a fight against President Donald Trump.
This would favorably spin the stain of a primary withdrawal for lack of support.
Several candidates likely would do so and endorse her to curry favor if she wins.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro of Texas could avail themselves of this opportunity.
The top-tier candidates would stay in, almost certainly. Former Vice President Joe Biden would fight Clinton because she represents a more leftist wing of the party than he does — and he knows this is his last chance at the presidency.
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Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, likely would fight on generational and ideological grounds.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — remembering how the Democratic National Committee fix was in against him in favor of Clinton in the 2016 Dem primaries — would fight her tooth and nail, in my view.
He also believes she comes from a corporate wing of the party — as opposed to his grassroots base and support.
The remaining top-tier contender would be in a tight spot. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) takes much of her support from the Hillary Clinton base of hardline feminists and extreme leftists.
She would be under tremendous pressure from the DNC and the Clinton machine, which is still potent with donors and state players, to get out of the race.
Warren would be promised anything but a VP slot to do so.
If she stayed in, she would see her support drop dramatically, as defections to Clinton would be rife.
If she got out of the race, she would be seen as someone who caves to political party pressure and a good number of her supporters would feel sold out.
This theoretical call by her could go either way.
The remaining candidates such as tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and billionaire Tom Steyer would likely remain in and hope for the best.
At this point, they’re likely hoping for a VP or Cabinet slot anyway.
So, to them, the top of the ticket doesn’t matter much as long as the nominee, whoever that may be, likes them — and politically compensates them for their run.
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