Reines, one of Hillary Clinton’s longest-serving advisers (he played Trump in debate prep), took a break from bickering with Seb Gorka on cable television to offer advice for the Democrats’ 2020 nominee. While it isn’t framed as being backward-looking, Reines’s analysis says more about how he views the 2016 election than where he thinks the party should go.
Reines swats away the usual criticisms of Clinton’s campaign, dismissing its tactical (not campaigning in Wisconsin) and personal (all that Clinton baggage) issues as being immaterial because similar criticisms were thrown at Al Gore and John Kerry.
Reines sees the campaign’s flaws differently. First, there’s his biggest (and best) point, which is that overconfidence helped sink Clinton: Because she thought she was going to win, she didn’t feel like it was necessary to get in the mud with Trump. But then Reines runs into some trouble. He implores the Democrats’ 2020 nominee to punch back every time and to, like Trump, treat the media as a hostile force. Bizarrely, Reines argues that the next Democratic nominee should take money from everyone possible—tobacco companies and Harvey Weinstein are mentioned—without apology.
There’s a sense here that Reines was frustrated with Clinton’s attempt to walk a line between apologizing for taking money from Wall Street and not apologizing for taking money from Wall Street. But it’s not clear how it helps Democrats to run a candidate who tries to go toe-to-toe with Trump when it comes to corruption.
What it does suggest is Reines’s idea of the kind of candidate who can win in 2020: A slightly meaner Hillary Clinton who proudly takes even more money from special interests.