Look out Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state and twice-failed presidential candidate proclaimed herself part of the #Resistance, but it’s a rabid left-wing movement that probably doesn’t even want her.
Now Eric Holder wants to be the leader of the #Resistance. He is even pondering a 2020 presidential run. This might seem implausible , but the prospect of a Democratic nominee with massive baggage, in this case someone held in contempt of Congress in a bipartisan vote, should bring joy to the Republican Party.
It won’t matter to the far-left hate-Trump voters, to whom the former attorney general has emerged as a hero and a leader. Never mind that Holder epitomizes the D.C.-Wall Street revolving door about as well as anyone. He has allied himself with California lawmakers who would rather not follow the law as long as Trump is president—a bunch of modern-day John C. Calhouns.
Holder believes he has attributes more important than merely leading rebellious Californians.
“I have a certain status as the former attorney general. A certain familiarity as the first African-American attorney general,” Holder told Yahoo News, which first broke the news he was considering a run. “There’s a justified perception that I’m close to President Obama. So, I want to use whatever skills I have, whatever notoriety I have, to be effective in opposing things that are, at the end of the day, just bad for the country.”
His actual presidency would involve “heavy lifting” on issues, likely pushing a constitutional amendment to ditch the Electoral College.
It’s difficult to imagine Holder as a presidential candidate, or really a candidate for any elected office. Maybe he’s close to Barack Obama, but he doesn’t have Obama’s stage presence. Controversy doesn’t equal charisma. Holder almost makes Hillary seem energetic.
On the other hand, perhaps Trump’s historic victory teaches us not to be dismissive of any candidate.
What can be said of Holder is that he probably has fewer skeletons than Hillary in his closet. But there’s still fertile ground for Trump to campaign against “Crooked Holder” in 2020.
In June 2012, when 17 House Democrats joined Republicans in voting to hold the attorney general in contempt, it was about America’s top cop in the self-proclaimed “most transparent administration in history” refusing to provide the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with thousands of pages of documents.
This was a horrible mark on his record, essentially a censure, but Holder knew it amounted to very little functionally. He continued serving at the Department of Justice well into Obama’s second term.
Congress was investigating Operation Fast and Furious, the botched sting in which the U.S. allowed 2,000 guns to flow to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. The DoJ lost track of the guns, and halted the operation only after one of the guns was found at the murder scene of a border patrol agent .
Before the Fast and the Furious scandal, Holder stopped the prosecution of the New Black Panther Party members. There was near overwhelming evidence against Minister King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz, and Jerry Jackson of misbehavior at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008. They were even caught on video intimidating voters.
Should anyone think Trump is hostile to the media or anti-First Amendment, well, Holder would be absolutely ghastly. As attorney general, he regularly used the Espionage Act to silence leakers and even target journalists. He hunted James Risen of the New York Times and James Rosen of Fox News. He issued a subpoena to Risen to force him to testify against a whistleblower. He also made Rosen an unindicted co-conspirator in other cases.
His scandals really began in the Bill Clinton administration, where he was the deputy attorney general in Janet Reno’s ethically-challenged Justice Department.
In August 1999, he advised President Clinton to give clemency to members of the terrorist group, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, or FALN. The FALN terrorists bombed a tavern in New York that killed four people and claimed responsibility for 100 bombings. Holder violated internal protocols by bypassingthe DoJ’s pardon attorneys and the U.S. attorney to push the clemency.
Holder’s most notorious act during his Clinton years was his role in securing the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. Rich managed to be a big financial booster of the Clinton presidential library fund before Clinton left office. Holder provided the legal cover for an obviously political pardon that Bill Clinton issued with hours left in office.
Between his dubious service in the Clinton and Obama administrations, Holder worked for the corporate law firm of Covington & Burling. Representing business giants such as UBS, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, CitiGroup, and Chaquita you might think would irk the left. But the firm also represented a few terrorists along the way, so the sin of defending capitalists can probably be forgiven by the far left. Still, after stepping aside as Obama’s AG, he went back to the firm, prompting leftist journalist Matt Taibbi to say, “I think this is probably the single biggest example of the revolving door that we’ve ever had.”
For all his progressive weaponizing of the DoJ, such as suing states that want to clean their voter rolls of dead people and launching investigations of America’s police departments, Holder consistently disappointed the left for not prosecuting the big corporations.
That might be related to his private practice and could present a challenge when it comes to picking up the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrats that Hillary couldn’t connect with. But, he’ll probably be okay. While progressive politicians’ goal is to effectuate the maximum amount of control over the most people possible, low-information progressive voters typically are governed by emotion. Even without charisma, Holder might be able to deliver on emotion, given the issues he likes to tout. He can ingratiate himself with the left because he’s no fan of America. He called the U.S. “a nation of cowards.”
Also, based on what he told Yahoo, he’s ready to capitalize on race. There’s nothing the left loves more than identity politics. As attorney general, Holder compared voter ID laws to Jim Crow-era poll taxes—which either demonstrates a profound racial demagoguery interested only in political red meat or someone completely ignorant of the history of the wretched Jim Crow era in the South. It’s most likely the former, since for all his flaws, Holder is a smart guy.
Could he be nominated? Possibly.
Sanders, a senator from Vermont, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren would seem to be in the top tier of Democrats who have indicated they might run in 2020. Holder’s name recognition would easily put him in that top tier. At 70 in 2020, he’ll be the youngest of the group, compared to the 71-year-old Warren, the 78-year-old Biden and the 79-year-old Sanders. To be fair, they’ll all be vying to challenge a 74-year-old Republican president. It could be the most Jurassic presidential race in history, with a need to pick a 69-year-old vice presidential nominee to add youth and vigor to the ticket.
Sanders and Warren could split the socialist vote. Biden, likely won’t run, but if he did, his tendency to unleash legendary gaffes would probably be the end of him. So Holder could walk right through the middle and win the nomination, having never held elected office. To low-information voters, he could even claim his not a politician.
Could he be elected?
Even if by 2020 the Russia-Trump theory has been cast into the territory of Roswell aliens and 9/11 Truthers, it’s possible the special counsel investigation could begin digging into something totally unrelated by that time. So, maybe there could be suspicion to go around. Whatever comes out on Trump, it will likely be difficult to top Holder’s past.