At this point, it almost seems like a foregone conclusion that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 2016. Of course, It also seemed like Hillary was the inevitable candidate last time she ran, but something went wrong. Something, in the form of a young, energetic, further to the left Senator from a liberal state. What’s more, President Barack Obama captured the imagination of his base with his “50 state” campaign strategy, that eschewed the old rules in which Democrats didn’t even compete in some dark red areas of the country. While Hillary was still playing by the old rules of Republican/Democratic campaigning, Obama was charting a new course, and laying the foundation for a much stronger national Democratic Party, even in red states like Texas, Wyoming, or Oklahoma.
Why do I bring all of this up in a post about Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2016, when Obama will not be running? Well, if you had been paying attention earlier, you’d know that I see serious trouble brewing on the horizon for Hillary Clinton.
Just like in 2008, there is an issue where the former Secretary of State will most likely be to the right of the rest of her party. In 2008, it was the war in Iraq, and in 2016, Clinton, once a Senator from New York, and long a friend of the more corporatist wing of the Democratic party, will struggle to get far enough to the left on income inequality issues to impress Democratic Primary voters.
Just like in 2008, there is an inspiring, younger Senator, again from a blue state, but this time in the person of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Where Hillary is about as “Wall Street” of a Democrat as one could find, Warren is precisely the opposite. The Massachusetts Senator first came to prominence after proposing, fighting for, and being nominated as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Warren’s organization (which, in an apparent attempt at shooting themselves in the foot, Republicans would never actually allow her to lead) was given the broad charge of protecting American consumers generally, and is considered one of the crowning liberal achievements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. Once elected to the United States Senate, Warren has continued to be the bane of Wall Street’s existence, even in her very first hearing as a US Senator. To this day, Warren continues to push for criminal convictions of top executives responsible for the financial crisis, the breakup of America’s still “too big to fail” banks, all the while chastising her Republican colleagues for not joining in her fury.
With the Democratic Party, and America at large, turning towards economic populism, during the greatest time of inequality since at least 1928(!), with the rich gaining a larger and larger share of our profits, while the average worker bee produces more and more goods and services every year, only to see their profits go to the bosses, America is ready for a political figure like Elizabeth Warren.
Most importantly of all, Warren is am immensely talented politician, with oratory skills that warm the cockles (this link contains possibly my favorite soundbite, “you didn’t build that”, of all time in politics) of liberals everywhere, while being plainspoken and common sense enough to convince persuadable independents, too. If all of that is sounding a lot like our current President, that’s because it is.
I know, Warren has denied that she plans to run. I’ll believe it when it’s Super Tuesday and she still isn’t on the ballot. Until then, Warren has the issues, she’s matched up against the right candidate, and she most definitely has the talent.
2016 will see the breaking of the “glass ceiling“, as described by Hillary Herself in 2007. The only question is which of these acolytes of the Democratic Party, Hillary from the establishment and center right, or Elizabeth from the grassroots and the left, will capture the imagination of Democratic Primary voters.