Saturday, January 03, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 1

The race beings quietly, as it always does. Scores of ambitious politicians have already begun their angling for the White House, but it will take some time before things truly get ramped up. Numerous Republicans seem intent on making the race, but as the new year gets underway, the biggest political story of the week will be the swearing in of the new Congress, run completely by the GOP.

To be sure, many Democrats would like to be President as well, including the 72 year old man who is currently a heart-beat away and who has harbored White House ambitions for at least 30 years. This time though, their party is completely reduced to a waiting game and an unprecedented situation for an open seat contest.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has been on the national political stage for 23 years now. The former First Lady, often a lightning rod for controversy, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and then embarked on a campaign to be nominated for President eight years ago, in which she was considered the heavy front-runner. During a long and difficult campaign, Hillary proved to have significant candidate weaknesses, and she lost to Barack Obama, before going to on to serve as his Secretary of State during his first term.

Now, conventional wisdom is that Mrs. Clinton will run again and that the nomination is hers for the asking, as well as status of being the strong favorite in a general election. Despite Obama's unpopularity and the pounding the Democrats took in the 2010 midterms, the 69 year old Hillary will be a strong bet to win enough votes to easily keep the White House for Democrats and will historically become America's first female nominee and President.

As the saying goes, time will tell, but my perspective is that if she even runs, the path will be far more difficult than many realize. She has high name recognition now and polls fairly well in the ridiculously early match-ups, but the day she becomes a candidate, whenever that is, she will be under a tremendous amount of new scrutiny. Is that really something that she wants to risk at this stage of her life?

When last year began, she left office with high favorability numbers after several years away from domestic political battles. I think it is safe to say that 2014 was quite rocky for her politically after a series of gaffes and missteps on both her book tour and on the midterm campaign trail. Just about everyone she campaigned for lost. Can that blame all be put on Obama, an unpopular President, or is the strategy of trying to differentiate herself from him not been working thus far?

As I wrote in my immediate disappointed reaction to the 2012 Presidential election, it is tough to deny a President a second term, but it has historically been even tougher for a party to win three national elections in a row. Whomever the Democrats eventually nominate will be tied, whether they want to be or not, to the Obama Administration. When he has not been on the ballot, it has been disastrous for his party. All Democrats need to hope he has a Ronald Reagan 1988 like political comeback so that the specter of a "third Obama term" is something that might actually appeal to voters. Then, the nominee will have to run on that, much like George H.W. Bush was successfully able to do so in 1988.

If Obama's numbers do not improve dramatically though, and if Republicans do not nominate a political disaster, I think it is going to be very tough for Democrats to be considered the favorites. The electorate will be in the mood for a change, and despite being a woman, Hillary is hardly a "fresh face", and she will be considered tied at the hip to the incumbent.

Hillary Clinton has looked strong before, but unlike her husband, has failed as a Presidential candidate as well. If she truly does decide to leave behind the world of being a first time grandmother and lucrative paid speeches to test her political legend, she will have to show significant improvement as a candidate. Without a doubt she is her party's overwhelming front-runner if she gets in, but I think that she can expect more opposition from the Democrats' left-wing base than many now realize. Being for Hillary Clinton is not necessarily "cool" right now. Being for someone like liberal firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is probably considered far "cooler." Democrats and much of their base is most certainly into what is "cool."

The race remains in flux though, on both sides, until the day comes when Clinton truly makes her intentions known. It's just all speculation until then. She will certainly be running though, right? Stay tuned.


At 4:26 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey, Hillary will be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, but I do feel Americans want NEW BLOOD after 8 HORRIBLE years of Obama.

You know the GOP will tie her to Obama despite her attempts to distance herself from him.

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Zreebs said...

A couple of comments...

I find it a little amusing that you bring up both Biden's and Hillary's age. I haven't gone to the inteenet to check, but isn't Romney the oldest of the GOP candidates you mentioned? I think that Romney is only 4 1/2 years younger than Biden, and I think that Hillary is actually younger than Romney, but that hasn't stopped you from endorsing Romney in a huge field.

I agree that Hillary does have weaknesses as a candidate, and that she probably will face some unexpected difficulties on the campaign trail. At the same time, I agree with you that she is the overwhelming favorite to get the nomination. Some Democrats don't like her because she is very conservative (by Democratic standards).

You think Elizabeth Warren is cool? I have never heard anyone say that before. I like Elizabeth Warren, but if I had 100 words to describe her, I wouldn't have even considered that word.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Hello Zreebs,

I do not personally feel Hillary or Biden are too old to be President. I just think they are too out of touch to be President.

No, I do not personally think Elizabeth Warren is "cool", but I do not think there is any doubt that ardent liberals, especially young ones look at her like a "political rock star", in a way that Obama once was and in a way that is much harder for Hillary to appear. I've heard this in person from a few youngish liberals.

Appreciate the comments from anyone who offers them here. I will always approve them as soon as possible to be posted. I just have no other option to keep spam bots out.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

I'd prefer YOUNG politicos to run for President.

Especially Governors like Scott Walker (R) of WI.


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