If former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decides to seek the Oval Office again, a group of GW professors, alumni and students want her to have a running start.
Clinton, whose ambiguous aspirations for office have fueled the Beltway rumor mill, has remained tight-lipped on whether or not she will run for president in 2016. But the political action committee Ready for Hillary, led by GW professor Allida Black, is already assembling a base of supporters on college campuses across the country.
More than two months after its inception, the PAC held its first rally last week at the Kennedy Center – which included about two dozen GW students – in an effort to rev up support for Clinton’s possible bid.
Black, a history and international affairs professor who left her faculty position to create the PAC, has supported Clinton’s political career for the past 20 years. She traveled to 14 states, organized 500 house parties and knocked on 5,000 doors to fundraise during Clinton’s 2008 campaign.
“I have never known her to do anything without putting her whole heart and infinite energy into it,” she said. “This is our way of saying thanks to her by gaining a base of supporters while she is taking some downtime.”
She said the idea for the PAC came after President Barack Obama’s reelection in November as an attempt to energize supporters and keep pressure off of Clinton, who Black said has not had a “honest-to-God vacation since 1990.”
The group plans to select student leaders from college campuses across the nation to volunteer for the PAC and organize support bases at their schools, Ready for Hillary spokesman and alumnus Seth Bringman said.
Participants from GW, the first students to join the PAC, plan to create a student organization in the fall to maintain momentum.
The PAC held its second rally Friday in New York City at the Lincoln Center, where Clinton made an appearance.
Bringman said that because Clinton will not have an active online presence during her break from politics, the group is heavily focusing on social media. Since launching in January, the PAC has gained more than 50,000 followers on Twitter and more than 70,000 likes on Facebook.
Sophomore Avery Jaffe reached out to the PAC to volunteer this semester, after taking last semester off to work full-time for Obama’s campaign in swing-state Ohio.
He said another focus of the PAC is to convince Clinton to run for presidency, in light of an interview with NPR in which she said she “doesn’t really see herself getting back into politics.”
“I understand her wanting to take a break after being politically active for 20 years,” Jaffe said. “But she is not reluctant to serve the public.”