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Hillary 2016: Definitely, Maybe.

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Is Hillary Clinton running for president?

Yes.

Regardless of what she says publically, if you watched her recent CNN Town Hall event, it is clear, for at least the moment, she is running for president. The big question is will she continue to run for president once 2015 rolls around.

For full disclosure, let me say that I am a strong Hillary Clinton supporter. I was an ardent supporter of hers back in 2008 and I will work even harder for her if she is indeed a candidate in 2016. I think she is the only chance Democrats have at holding onto The White House, and I feel she is more qualified than any other candidate in recent history.

My personal views aside, the Hillary 2016 chatter has much in common with the Hillary 2008 chatter. Rewind to summer 2006, the rumblings of a Hillary Clinton for President campaign were well underway and polls showed her to be the overwhelming favorite to not only win the Democratic nomination, but also the heavy favorite to win the presidency. Eight summers later and it is déjà vu.

A recent ABC News poll has the former Secretary of State with a whopping 57-point lead over her closest competitor, Vice President Joe Biden. By comparison, in the summer of 2006, then-Senator Clinton only had about a 20 point lead over Al Gore. Yes, Al Gore was polling second back in the summer of 2006. She has also held a steady lead over her potential Republican opponents.

So, as it was in the summer of 2006, so it is in the summer of 2014. Hillary Clinton seems to be the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee for 2016, and stands a very real chance of becoming the next President of the United States.

I’ve seen this movie before. I had high hopes for this movie, and when the movie concluded I was heartbroken. If there is a sequel, I really hope for a different outcome.

True, the dynamics of 2016 are different than 2008. In 2008, the American people were ready for a drastic change after 8-years of the Bush administration. Barack Obama was the change candidate, far removed from the status quo in Washington at the time. However, with many voters now suffering from buyer’s remorse, Secretary Clinton is in a better position than she was in 2008. Those who wished they had voted for her back then now want another chance to give her their vote.

The fact that she is the first woman with a serious chance to win the presidency gives her the ability to be able to label herself a “change” candidate, but for those who voted for “change” in 2008 and are now unhappy, she also is able to brand herself as the “experienced” candidate who will be ready on Day 1, ready for that “3am” call.

However, despite the odds seemingly being in Hillary Clinton’s favor, and it being more likely than not that she will end up being the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, if 2008 taught us anything, inevitability means nothing in politics. No matter how much I support her and desperately want her as our next President, Secretary Clinton does not have this in the bag, at least when it comes to winning it all.

It’s doubtful she will have to face another Barack Obama type challenger in the primaries. She has essentially frozen the field of Democratic contenders and the grassroots political action committee “Ready for Hillary” has become a formidable operation with countless big name supporters endorsing a possibly Hillary 2016 campaign. So, at least when it comes to winning the nomination, the contest should be hers to lose, and right now she stands an extremely high chance of sailing to the nomination.

Her challenge will be the general election.

Due in large part to the media, the 2016 presidential campaign began the night President Obama won reelection in 2012, shaping up the 2016 contest to be the longest presidential campaign in the history of American politics.

Should Hillary Clinton decide to make a second bid for The White House, we are still six to seven months away from an official announcement. After an official announcement is made, we are another year out from the first votes being cast in Iowa, with that states caucuses tentatively scheduled for January 18, 2016. By that time the American public will have been hearing about a second Hillary Clinton campaign for the presidency for the better part of three years. It is not an unreal notion to believe that fatigue will have set in.

Personally, with the field of Republican contenders currently mentioned for 2016, I don’t care how fatigued you may be, she is far and away better equipped to get this country back on track than any of them. And who the Republican party nominates will be a big factor in how much of a fight Secretary Clinton would have to wage in the summer and fall of 2016.

The biggest factor though will come down to Hillary Clinton herself and, if she decides to give it a second try, the type of campaign she runs. She herself has admitted mistakes were made in the incredibly mismanaged 2008 campaign. She will need to bring on board fresh voices to shape a campaign of the future, a campaign with a clear, solidified and consistent message of why she is the most capable candidate to take the reins on January 20, 2017, all while making a little bit (okay, a lot) of history.

If Secretary Clinton can be successful at what she failed at in 2008, conveying a strong message and showing that, yes, folks, she is likeable, she stands a very good chance at being the 45th President of the United States.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know Hillary Clinton just released a new memoir new memoir entitled Hard Choices, recounting her tenure as Secretary of State. Ironically though, it looks as though her hardest choice is yet to come and, to most, it would seem to be a rather simple one: who is Hillary 2.0 and does she have the conviction and discipline to run a winning campaign?

Only Hillary Clinton can answer that question.

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