The Hill publishes a piece titled "Five Figures on the Left Who Could Challenge Hillary Clinton," and Martin Longman (aka BooMan) is skeptical:
Yes, it would be kind of interesting if Russ Feingold came out of retirement to vie for the nomination, but is there even a hint of evidence that he is contemplating such a move, much less that he might be successful? Bernie Sanders has made rumblings, but just his age alone precludes him from being a strong challenger. Al Gore is the only Democrat with the stature, donor base, and experience to really challenge Hillary Clinton, and that wouldn’t necessarily be a challenge from her left....Me either. Barbara O'Brien writes,
But Gore isn't running. Biden doesn't have a chance. Martin O'Malley is running out of time to catch fire with the grassroots base and build an organization. Elizabeth Warren has officially "encouraged" Hillary to run.
Is the left even in the mood to have an ideological battle in 2016? Perhaps there is some appetite for it, but I haven't seen it reflected in our elected leaders....
Personally, I'd be up for an ideological battle, but I am not going to lie to you and say that I see many people by my side.
I don't want Hillary Clinton. I rarely hear from anyone who does.Yet I keep hearing she is popular! But with who, I wonder?Well, she's popular with the Democratic base -- the real Democratic base, which consists not of solidly progressive politics junkies, but of people who are vaguely liberal and tune politics out more than they tune it in. (They tune in primarily in presidential election years.)
The Democratic base doesn't vote in state and local elections and doesn't vote in midterms. These are the people we're supposed to count on to focus on a hero of lefty politics mavens? Yes, a Hillary-toppling insurgency happened in 2008, but elements were in place that aren't in place now: one burning issue (the Iraq War) and a series of secondary issues (Katrina, Social Security privatization, Terri Schiavo) that made a broad range of Democratic voters pay attention to politics between presidential years, plus an unusually charismatic insurgent with a really strong political operation who actually wanted the nomination badly. We don't have any of that right now.
We need a large, angry, informed, mobilized progressive movement -- not just to win elections for progressives, but to fight outside the realm of electoral politics on issues that find both parties to the right of what's in the people's interest. But the fizzling out of the Occupy movement shows that we're still waiting for a movement of that kind.
We don't even have the level of free-floating anger the right has. Of course the right will embrace ideological warriors in the campaign for the 2016 nomination, probably not enough to nominate one, but enough to push whoever is nominated far to the right. That's how conservative voters are -- they'll be ideologically fired up then, because they're ideologically fired up now. They're always ideologically fired up. They're fired up enough to possibly reelect Scott Walker and Rick Scott and Rick Snyder in states Barack Obama handily won twice. They might beat Dannel Malloy in Connecticut and John Hickenlooper in Colorado because they're always extremely fired up on guns.
Right-wing voters are crazy, but we should a little crazy. We should at least be in a fever to vote every time there's an election, and we're not. So where's the base for an insurgent Democratic presidential candidate when no candidate seems to have the fever, either?