Assessing the 2016 Democratic Possibilities- Part 1
This list was compiled after searching a variety of political website sources in order to determine the names of the 20 most likely Democrats to run for President in 2016. We can certainly quibble about any particular person’s place on this list although I tried to make it a little scientific. Part 1 will be numbers 11 through 20. So without further ado:
#20. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro: It would be a major deal indeed for a mayor of any city- even a large growing one like San Antonio- to make the leap from that position to the top of the heap- President of the United States. Of course, we also said that about an aspiring Illinois state senator who became a do-nothing United States Senator. The guy does have youth, looks and a certain charisma going in his favor. Hence, he would capture the young, horny Latina vote for sure. Instead, I would look for Castro to possibly look for other political office like state senate or even a House representative a la his twin brother as a stepping stone to higher office at a later date. Still, his name has been floated out there.
#19. US Senator from Virginia Mark Warner: Warner’s name has come up in the past as a possible Democratic candidate, so putting him on this list is nothing new. As the Governor of Virginia, because of his popularity, he was responsible for Democratic Party gains in their legislature. Also because of that popularity, his name went on the list of possibilities soon after Bush won reelection in 2004 as a candidate in 2008. Instead, opportunity was offered up in another area- the US Senate- when John Warner decided to retire. Warner is more-or-less a centrist Democrat who should receive greater consideration as 2016 draws closer especially since Virginia is becoming increasingly important in presidential electoral calculations. The state, along with neighboring North Carolina, are becoming a buffer against the importance of Ohio and the upper Midwest in deciding the fate of presidential candidates. Warner is up for reelection in 2014 in the Senate. Should he run for reelection, he could still make the jump to presidential candidate and would actually have more to show in the way of a senatorial resume than Barack Obama circa 2008. That would make Warner a daunting opponent for a Republican candidate. Time will tell, but Warner’s name may move up this list of possibilities as 2016 draws near.
#18. US Senator from Montana Jon Tester: Jon Tester is viewed as one of those bipartisan, willing to compromise with Republicans centrist Democrats. Personally, I believe it is more show than substance and mainly attributable to the political realities of the state he represents. This past year, he survived a tough battle for reelection which, again, may have been more a function of the political winds at the time rather than a testament to his abilities as an incumbent Senator. Thus, although he has tried to position himself as a centrist, he is at heart a progressive. He once portrayed himself as “your grandfather’s Democrat,” a pro-gun, anti-big business personality representing “prairie pragmatism,” whatever that is.
In reality, Tester is basically an Obama lackey and “yes man.” When Obama won in 2008, the Chicago based socialist newspaper, In These Times, speculated on a truly progressive cabinet and they suggested either Tom Harkin of Iowa or Jon Tester of Montana as Agriculture Secretary. They said this of Tester: “Tester is a populist who is sensitive to environmental issues and critical of corporate globalization.” With ringing socialist/progressive endorsements like that, can we really afford a President Tester, or even a Vice President Tester?
#17. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe: Yes- just what we need- another Democratic former Governor of Arkansas. His official biographical picture at first glance looks a little like Bill Clinton. His tenure is too checkered to take seriously where he says one thing and does another. He is an advocate for tax reform and then advocates increasing taxes for transportation projects, then qualifies that support stating that the tax has no chance of passing. That’s great! Expressing support for the politically impossible is akin to expressing support for world peace and an end to disease and famine. That hardly takes political cajones. Beebe is another soft and fast talking Democrat from Arkansas although there is no Monica Lewinsky on his arm or in his lap. What may eventually move Beebe up this list is the fact that he is term-limited and that term ends in 2014. His political career beyond 2014 is still unknown.
#16. Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison: It is really difficult for a member of the House to jump to becoming a serious presidential candidate unless they are high profile, like Paul Ryan. But Keith Ellison’s name keeps popping up on some lists for some reason. Truth be told, Minnesota and Wisconsin politics befuddles me. For example, in Wisconsin, they elect Scott Walker Governor and he then survives a liberal/union backed recall effort in the same year they send a whack job radical/liberal like Tammy Baldwin to the Senate. In Minnesota, they gave us the likes of Paul Wellstone, Jesse Ventura and Al Franken or, as I like to call them, the Minnesota Three Stooges. Actually, Larry, Moe and Curly (or Shemp) were better entertainment.
Ellison is a far-far left liberal. Quite frankly, Ellison has too many tangential connections to far left organizations and causes to fill a closet with skeletons. For example, he was a speaker at the Take Back America conference in 2007 sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America. He is openly endorsed and supported by the Detroit Workers World Party, a hardcore Marxist organization founded in 1959. He counts as known associates the notorious Van Jones and he once boasted that the border will become an “irrelevancy.” Also, he is a frequent participant in the Occupy Minnesota movement and has protested against FBI raids against known leftist activists in 2010. Enough said.
15. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: Let us just stay in Minnesota for the sake of it. Klobuchar would have a greater chance than Ellison simply by her presence in the Senate. Unfortunately, she is an associate of Mark Froemke who happens to be the head of the Minnesota and North Dakota chapter of the Communist Party USA. He is also an active union organizer in the region. The bottom line is that she is the female, non-Moslem, higher ranking incarnation of her Minnesota radical compatriot, Keith Ellison.
#14. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Is it just me or does it seem she is running for this same Senate seat all the time? I think her name comes up because she is running so often and because Democrats feel the need to advance someone with a Spanish surname, or a woman. In 2010, in the lead-up to the 29th National Convention of the Communist Party USA, they stated that Gillibrand winning her Senate seat was vitally important to progressive causes. Another ringing endorsement for a Democratic presidential possibility. The fact is that Gillibrand is a tried-and-true tax-and-spend Democrat and nothing less. I really cannot see her way-to-the-left policies and beliefs catching on nationally unless Obama has so brainwashed the masses that we are without redemption.
13. Former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh: This would be an interesting choice. According to David Plouffe, the choice for vice-president came down to Bayh or Joe Biden in 2008. The rest is history. Frankly, had he chosen Bayh and had Bayh performed the dutiful role of vice president, he would be a shoo-in as heir-apparent to Obama in 2016. He actually explored a run for the presidency, but later decided against it. But although he tries to portray the image of the pragmatic Midwestern politician, he is actually more to the left than many believe. For example, I can probably find many more Indiana Democrats without a 100% lifetime rating from the pro-choice group, NARAL. Yet, Bayh has that distinction. Evan Bayh is coy about his political future although he has been a political contributor to Fox News. Still, he has about $10.1 million in campaign cash still unexpended. Possibly holding him back in some Democratic circles will be the circumstances under which he withdrew from the race in 2010- one day before the filing deadline. That left Democrats with little time and chance to find a replacement to run against Dan Coats, who won the seat for the GOP. Some Democrats are still smarting about his late decision to retire and possibly costing them a Senate seat.
#12. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon: Well, at least I cannot find any connection to the Democratic Socialists of America or the Communist Party USA for this potential candidate. Where he may run into trouble is not necessarily Republican opposition, but that from his own party. As state attorney general, he was very instrumental in ending desegregation efforts in the St. Louis and Kansas City school districts. This angered many African-Americans in the state and nationally. Also, while running for attorney general, he actively solicited campaign contributions from a company that was under an active criminal investigation by the state thus drawing his campaign ethics into question. His term expires in 2016 so he may just be looking into a presidential run come 2015.
#11. Delaware Governor Jack Markell: This would be interesting should Joe Biden also run, as he has indicated. Two residents of tiny Delaware facing off against each other would be unheard of, but interesting if it happens. If Biden does run, I would expect Markell’s name to drop considerably on this list. To a certain degree, Markell’s name is a little sullied in Delaware and Democratic politics. In his first bid to become Governor in 2008, he made the unpopular decision to run against the chosen one- then. Lt. Governor John Carney who was hand picked by then-Governor Ruth Ann Minner. He eventually won the primary and Carney later ended up in Congress. All is well that ends well, but for the lasting feelings. In a blue state, Markell easily won election in 2008 and reelection in 2012. Like Nixon, his term as Governor will be up in 2016. Thus far, his legislative achievements are mixed. Regardless, transporting those efforts to the national stage from tiny Delaware may seem Herculean.
Next: Numbers 1 through 10