Decision 2016: Ass-umed Contenders

Already the fight is on. Four years. Two Parties. One Winner. The Democratic Party now have the challenge of finding the man, or indeed woman, to replace Barack Obama and become the first Democrat to succeed another in the White House since 1963.

Contenders are hard to find though. Real contenders, that is. One name seems to dominate the Democratic Caucus. A name that has come up time and time again since the early 1990s. That name is “Clinton”. But she claims that she won’t not run again.

Despite her age, Hilary Clinton has a lot going for her. She championed Health Care Reform back in 1993 and made it the defining goal of her time as First Lady. Many would see her as the protector of Obama-care, which may well prove to be a whole lot more popular come 2016 than it is in the USA today. Spending eight years on Capitol Hill allowed her to build relationships with individuals on both sides of the aisle that Obama’s four couldn’t match. Her time as Secretary of State is widely considered a triumph, giving her crucial foreign-policy experience and legitimacy no Republican could match. She appears to be, quite simply, the best candidate. But despite planning to step down from the State Department in January, she continues to claim that she won’t run.

If so, who would step up to the plate? Well, without doubt the best placed candidate would be Joe Biden, but his chances greatly depend on how successful Obama’s second term is. A seasoned Senator from the Delaware, he, like Clinton, offers experience to a Democratic base that refused it in 2008. Biden is a Roman Catholic, which may entice the Latino vote, and has a lot of support in the North-Eastern Democratic states that carry a lot of weight in the Primaries. Others, though, are not so sure; for a start, he’s a whole Presidential term older than Hillary, and few would consider electing a one-term candidate.

Those two then, are the heavy hitters and should both run, the likely frontrunners. But who else is in the running?

Well, there are some established Democratic names. Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who maintained a pretty low profile during this year’s presidential race, managed to push through tax-reform and same-sex marriage bills in 2011, and is generally seen as a progressive.

Mark Warner is definitely a possible candidate too. Having served the purple-state of Virginia since 2002, first as Governor and now as Senator, he is very popular within the party. Should he choose to leave his seat when his term comes to an end in two years time, it’ll be almost certainly be in order to launch a presidential campaign.

Both are on the right side of 60, but neither embody the aspirations of grass-roots and non-white Democrats. Surely, out there somewhere, there’s a new Barack?

In 2004, Obama delivered the Keynote Address, a speech that changed his life and the course of Democratic Politics. This year, that honour befell a young Mayor from San Antonio, Texas, called Julian Castro. Many have drawn parallels between him and Matt Santos, the Latino elected President in all-time favourite TV Show of Democrats everywhere, The West Wing. However, he is only 38, San Antonio is hardly the political big-time, and 2016 will be almost certainly too soon.

Much depends on the next 4 years, and how the current President performs. Should Obama fix the fiscal cliff, protect and strengthen his health care reform, bring the troops home from Afghanistan without major issues and handle the situation in the Middle East with a combination of strength and compassion, the Democrats could put the Donkey up for reelection and expect to win a landslide. If not, they might kiss goodbye to the dream of replacing Democrat with Democrat for the first time in almost 50 years before the Primaries have even begun.

PHOTO/ DonkeyHotey, Pat Arnow, Jamesgatz