Recently I attended a dinner event where Roger Stone, news magnet, political strategist and longtime friend/adviser to President Trump, was the featured speaker.
Along with plugging his new book, “The Making of the President 2016” and pleading innocent to any Russia/Trump campaign connection, Wikileaks or Guccifer 2.0 hack, Stone made an astounding public prediction. He proclaimed that former First Lady Michelle Obama would be a future presidential candidate, adding that she would be “formidable” and should not be underestimated.
Given that for decades, Stone has played either an official or unofficial role in Republican presidential campaigns starting with Richard Nixon, I should know better than to question one of his predictions.
But I asked anyway, “Do you really believe that Michelle Obama will run for president even though she supposedly hates politics?”
Roger reiterated that he firmly believed Mrs. Obama would run adding, “Just wait, remember when I told you that Trump would win and you did not believe me?”
Silence on my end.
Coincidentally, hours before hearing Stone’s prediction I read a piece headlined, “For Democrats, No Clear Leader” in The Hill that reported:
On the question of who should be a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, Bernie Sanders led the field, at 14 percent, followed by former first lady Michelle Obama at 11 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 9 percent, Hillary Clinton at 8 percent, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo each at 4 percent, and television personality Oprah Winfrey and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) each at 3 percent. Forty-five percent said they want to see someone not on the list of possible candidates in the survey.
Seeing that poll and hearing Stone’s prediction on the same day got me thinking about who would lead the now leaderless Democrats in 2020. But instead of a name, only one word came to mind: desperation.
Desperate for presidential leadership, the Democrats could resort to a brand-name that is tried and true, well-respected and a “sure” winner.
Therefore, consider these five reasons why Michelle Obama would be “formidable” and “should not be underestimated” as a potential 2020 presidential candidate.
1. A Slobbering Media Love Affair
Credit for that phrase goes to Bernie Goldberg who authored a 2009 New York Times bestseller by a similar name. Goldberg’s full title was “A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance between Obama and the Mainstream Media.”
If Michelle Obama were to win the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination, then Goldberg would only have to change the cover photo and not the title.
The prospect of a black woman becoming the first female president would send the mainstream media into a state of sustained orgasmic ecstasy. But voters watching the unspeakable horrors of a Trump vs. Obama campaign war would demand a national distribution of Valium, and earplugs. By comparison, the Trump/Clinton 2016 race would be fondly remembered as respectful and gracious.
2. The Patriotic Guilt Factor
It has been written that the former first lady “doesn’t like politics in general. She doesn’t like the games that are played in Washington.”
However, if — and this is a big capital IF — in 2019 the Democrats are still leaderless and desperate, then it’s possible Michelle Obama could respond favorably to the Democrats’ rallying cries calling her into action. One can just imagine Mrs. Obama saying:
I am humbled and honored to be called back into public service to save Americans from the malicious policies of President Trump. I am ready to lead the next Obama administration guided by my values, our values, reflecting who we are as a nation.
Naturally, Mrs. Obama’s potential candidacy could be a nifty way for President Obama to win his third term. (Obama said he “would have won” if not constitutionally barred from running.) Through Michelle, he could prove that brag correct. But best of all, President Obama would relish the opportunity to outdo the Clintons and crush President Trump, if the election goes his way.
3. Name ID
Since American voters are familiar with Michelle Obama, there is no need to spend millions of dollars introducing her to the electorate. Immediately she could start criticizing President Trump while unleashing her vision. Running for president with high name recognition from day one has its obvious advantages. (See President Donald J. Trump, “The Apprentice” for a refresher.) Furthermore, Michelle Obama would begin her campaign equal to President Trump in name ID and stature.
4. Barrels of Cash
A presidential candidate must initially self-fund or have the ability to raise millions quickly. The former first lady has both options covered, starting with a few trips to California and New York City. Then if needed, with her multi-million book advance and speaking fees, Mrs. O could instantly write a yuge check to start her campaign engine.
According to a Gallup poll released as the Obamas were leaving office in early January, Michelle Obama had a 68% favorable rating compared to President Obama at 58%. Then compare her favorable rating to another former first lady turned presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, whose rating was only 56% favorable upon leaving the White House in 2001.
Surely, if Michelle Obama were to acquiesce and run for president she would come under increased scrutiny and her favorable rating would likely drop. Or maybe it would even increase, depending on Trump’s job approval rating average, currently at 41.1%, and the state of the nation in 2020.
For now, “Michelle 2020” is a Democratic Party pipedream. True believers can buy “Save Us Michelle 2020” T-shirts and bumper stickers. You can “like” the Michelle 2020 Facebook page.
A Trump campaign veteran told me, “No way in hell, ridiculous speculation.” And it probably is. But I remember back in September 2013 when, after writing, “Five Reasons Why a Trump 2016 Run Could-Be Good News for the GOP”, friends and associates laughed at me, just as I laughed at Roger Stone’s prediction.
Finally, former First Lady Michelle Obama’s legacy was her Let’s Move campaign encouraging healthier lifestyles for kids. That means a “Let’s Move 2020” campaign slogan as Mrs. Obama’s personal branding strategy practically writes itself.
Of course, Michelle Obama’s other legacy was saying that she was never proud of America until her husband got elected to the White House.
My fellow Republicans, stop laughing! Remember, desperation is a powerful motivator and the Democrats are desperate!
Cross-posted at BizPac Review