Monday, August 18, 2014


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....

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.
Me either. Barbara O'Brien writes,
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?


Victor said...

I'm also not HRC's biggest fan.

But if she's the candidate, she'll be head-and-shoulders (on a spaceship) better than anyone the R's put up.

So, if she's the candidate, not only will I hold my nose and vote for her, but I'll volunteer for her campaign.

2016 will be a very, very ugly election year.

William F. Glennon said...

It's amazing -- the reason why we don't have a full-blown social democracy is a near-complete lack of social democrats.

I blame false consciousness.

John Kahler said...

It would be great for HRC - and all those other "possibles" - to begin reminding the base that they MUST get out this cycle and stand up now, not wait for 2016. OFA is making noises of being out there for November, but there's all the "give money" noise and not so much setting up the community to be active like there was in 2012, and should have been in 2910. As somebody who votes in every primary and general (and Investment in one of the safest Dem congressional districts in the country), I don't get folks who see only the presidential election as important. Which probably explains why the GOP has lopsided power in too many states and communities. Yet, t needs to come from the top, too. Not just with "give me money" action.

mlbxxxxxx said...

The problem, imho, is that we have a moribund party. I live in a state where my vote is completely inconsequential vis a vis the Democratic nomination or the general election. I effectively have no franchise -- often feel like an expat watching the US election from a foreign country. The last time it seemed like anybody in the Democratic party cared about my vote was Dean and the 50 state strategy. Obama really put his muscle behind that.

I think Obama, following in the tradition of Clinton, has been abysmal at party-building. It's not apparent to me that there is even any consideration of party building. The way he staffed his cabinet seemed to show no strategy for maintaining a senate majority -- and I've seen no concerted effort to retake the House.

If the Rs were not so self-destructive, I don't think we'd stand a chance. I agree that our base doesn't rally like theirs, but you have to give them something to rally 'round. And the Ds are an amorphous mass, at best.

mlbxxxxxx said...

P.S. In RE: Martin O'Malley -- after he whined about the immigrant children possibly being sent to his state he can jump up my ass. He has the look of a loser to me anyway but after that, he's off my list, fwiw.

Luigi said...

Of course, we could embrace internet voting and then there wouldn't be any reason for Dems not to vote.

I disagree with your statement that voters aren't enthused about Hillary. Granted, I'm in Ohio, but there doesn't seem to be many women who aren't solidly behind her candidacy.