Molly Ball of The Atlantic recently had a piece discussing the lack of star power in the Democratic Party should Hillary Clinton nor Joe Biden take the plunge and run for President in 2016.
It’s an actual interesting piece and Elizabeth Warren appears to be the one big topic of discussion for those who want to run in 2016. Warren, running for Senator of Massachusetts against incumbent Scott Brown, has a rockstar appeal amongst the progressive base of the Democratic Party but polls have had her neck-and-neck with Brown.
But say Warren loses in 2012 in a liberal state? Her national campaign is essentially over before it started.
Meanwhile the Republican Party has Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul & Susana Martinez as up-and-comers, with the future activity of Jeb Bush still up in the air. If Mitt Romney were to lose, they have a deep bench to choose from with plenty of appeal.
The Democrats? Not so much. Kirsten Gillibrand has done well for self and attached her names through a few pieces of legislation. Ideologically though, she has gone further left as a Senator than she did as a Congresswoman and that could be used against her. Also, while she is well-known amongst the political junkies, I don’t think she has the national appeal as of right now. Her star was rising not too long ago, and it just seems that it’s reached the apex for the time being.
Martin O’Malley of Maryland is a favorite of mine and as head of the Democratic Governor’s Association, he does have some establishment credibility. He also has a lot of appeal to the base with his slight tax increases to the wealthiest residents of Maryland as well as his support for gay marriage. He also found himself with some positive publicity to the left with his public rebuke of the policies of neighboring Virginia and their Governor, Bob McDonnell. Still, I think he will be more of a late-bloomer in the campaign as opposed to coming out with a bang.
Andrew Cuomo could very well be the frontrunner if neither Clinton nor Biden run. In fact, I would expect him to be. His recent appeal to decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana could be an olive branch to the left after their distaste due to the whole redistricting saga and tax cuts for the rich. Cuomo is the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, who famously wavered between running for President in 1992.
Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana will definitely be a name to watch nationally. He’s very popular in the state and was the former head of the DGA. Whether he primaries Max Baucus in ’14 (or tries to replace him if Baucus retires) OR runs for President in ’16, he will not be done following the end of his gubernatorial career. Schweitzer is opposed to gun control but has been one of the leaders in the party when it comes to energy.
Also, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a prodigious fundraiser, heavily consider a run or former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold.
But none of these candidates really have that huge appeal that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton had in 2008. The bench also seems surprisingly thin amongst Team Blue and it seems that the Democrats have a mixture of retreads or candidates who are seeking national exposure. It almost reminds me of the 2008 Republican Party field.
However it must be stated that this is an EARLY look at 2016 and four years could make a world of difference. Let’s see what happens in November first, right?