Oh, but this is scary.
We’ve known for a long time that we were likely to face Hillary Clinton in 2016 in our race to retake the White House, but hearing this acknowledgement from leading Democrat pundits somehow makes it more real.
“If Hillary Clinton doesn’t run,” [CNN’s Jake Tapper] asked, “who’s on the bench then?”
“No one,” said Begala. “No one. My party–it’s not fair, there are impressive people, that I think could be good presidents, but don’t have I think the electoral prospects that Hillary does.”
While Republicans have a full bench of presidential hopefuls, Begala, who worked for President Bill Clinton and was an early Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, said Clinton is the Democrats’ best and perhaps only hope to capture the White House in 2016…
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick have also been floated as potential contenders. But their prospects might have dimmed after the Democratic candidates to succeed them in both states lost their bids in blue state upsets.
If you take a few seconds to consider the possibilities, you realize pretty quickly that Paul Begala is right. There really aren’t any national Democrats, besides Clinton, that are ready to take on a Presidential campaign. The Democrats favorite is Senator Elizabeth Warren – who “only” won Massachusetts by 7% back in 2012. Warren might make them happy ideologically but she is far too liberal for most of America.
Politico has an explanation for what has happened to Democrats during the Obama years to have caused this odd lack of candidates.
After the Republican waves of 2010 and 2014, the party is depleted not just in its major-league talent, but also in its triple-A recruitment prospects. It amounts to a setback, Democrats say, that will almost certainly require more than one election cycle to repair.
At the start of the 2014 campaign, Democrats envisioned an election that would produce new national stars for the party in at least a few tough states – Georgia Sen. Michelle Nunn or Kentucky Sen. Alison Lundergan Grimes, for instance, or maybe even Texas Gov. Wendy Davis. Even if the party fell short in those “reach” states, Democrats hoped to produce new heavyweight blue-state Democrats – Maryland Gov. Anthony Brown, the country’s only black state executive; or Maine Gov. Mike Michaud, who would have been the first openly gay candidate elected governor.
Any of them could have landed on a vice presidential short list in 2016.
Instead, all of them lost.
If all these projections are right – then Republicans may have a very unique opportunity in 2016, one that we can’t let slip through our fingers.
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