Sunday, July 26, 2015

Arthur Answers, Part 4b: And furthermore

In yesterday’s “Arthur Answers” post, I answered several questions about candidates running for US President in the 2016 US elections. Commenting on that post, Roger Green had a further question. So, for the first time, this is an addendum “Arthur Answers” post.

Roger asked:

“If Hillary could NOT be the Democratic nominee, because of some legal problem, who would be? Who should be? Would it come out of the present collection? Or Clinton disciple Kirsten Gillibrand? Or would they exhume Al Gore from the crypt?”

The tl;dr version of what I said yesterday is that while it was possible that Bernie Sanders could defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, it was unlikely to happen. I mention that first because Hillary dropping out is one of the few ways Bernie might win the nomination, but I don’t think that's likely, either.

I think that what would be most likely to happen would be that either Martin O’Malley would emerge as the alternative for mainstream Democrats, or, more likely, someone else would enter the race. I don’t think that Senator Gillbrand would be that person (she’s too closely identified with Clinton), but Senator Elizabeth Warren could be.

Warren is in a unique position: She’s a definite Liberal, maybe not as far Left as Sanders, but further Left than Clinton. She doesn’t have the same “insider” association as either Clinton or Sanders (who’s a career politician, after all). She’s crusaded, like Sanders, against the Wall Street “Banksters”. And, obviously, she’s a woman, like Clinton. In some ways, Elizabeth Warren is combination of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but without their negatives. She even used to vote Republican.

There were a lot of Left-leaning Democrats hoping that Warren would run, and many of those same people now back Sanders. The “conventional wisdom” was that Warren didn’t run because Clinton was, and she had no interest in diminishing the chance for a woman to be the Democratic nominee. Maybe so, or maybe she just wasn’t interested, full stop. Does it matter? She didn’t run.

So, if Hillary Clinton was forced out of the race for whatever reason, I think the most likely replacement would be a candidacy by Elizabeth Warren, or else the party establishment might rally around Martin O’Malley.

However, I don’t think it matters who could be the replacement nominee: For this scenario to matter, Clinton would have been forced out of the race, and that would almost certainly mean that the Republican nominee would be elected, no matter who the replacement Democratic nominee was.

But, instead of unlikely legal issues, let’s suppose that it was simply a matter of Hillary losing the early contests. This is precisely the possible scenario that Stuart Stevens, former chief strategist for Mitt Romney, talked about in a recent (somewhat grumpy) piece for The Daily Beast. Stevens was giving “advice” to Clinton on how not to lose, but electoral defeat is the only likely reason why Democrats would be looking for a new person to rally around.

In that case, Warren would be the most likely to win the nomination, but if she chose not to enter the race, Sanders would be the most likely replacement. If Warren didn’t enter the race, O’Malley would probably pick up the support of centrist Democrats, but I’m not sure he could win the nomination: Sanders would have momentum on his side.

At the moment, none of the actual or possible replacement candidates have the name recognition of Hillary Clinton, so any late-entry candidate would have to somehow establish national awareness, and fast. It’s possible, but it wouldn’t be easy. Then, they’d have to take on the Republican nominee who by the time of the nomination will have been in the news for months. A big ask no matter the reason for the replacement.

So, depending on the circumstances, if Hillary Clinton was not the nominee, I’d expect the replacement to be either Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or Martin O’Malley. Circumstances would determine who would try to be the replacement and, once chosen, how successful he or she would be.

But, at the moment, I’ve seen nothing so far that makes me think that anyone other than Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee.

There’s still time to ask questions! Like Roger did last time, you can leave a comment on this post (anonymous comments are okay). You can also email me your question (and you can even tell me to keep your name secret, although, why not pick a nom du question?). And, for the first time, you can also ask questions on the AmeriNZ Facebook page.


Tim Drake said...

In the Hillary crashes scenario I think it is important to remember that there is an establishment alternative around: Joe Biden. Yes, he is not the perfect candidate, but his credentials are better than any of the alternatives, and his baggage load pales in comparison to Hill's. Plus, he is an insider-survivor, no mean fete for someone who has been around as long as he has. He could very well be the Hubert Humphrey of this cycle. Let's not forget, HHH nearly won, and would have had it not been for Vietnam. His "story" is as compelling as you can get. He's a liberal who does not scare middle American, he even makes them chuckle on occasion. His only negative is he is decidedly not the candidate of change, and any administration overstays its welcome after 8 years.

As far as Warren goes, I've never seen a candidate succeed at making the public "beg" them to run -- not even Teddy Kennedy could get away with that (exception: Dwight Eisenhower ... and Warren is not the Allied Commander).

My heart may be with Bernie Sanders, I cheer every time he says what candidates SHOULD BE UNIVERSALLY SAYING. But, so did George McGovern, who carried one state in 1972. Being right has never been a sure thing in American politics. The wing nuts would have a field day with Sanders' former identification as a "Socialist" politician -- might play in Burlington, definitely would not play in Peoria.

As a FORMER Republican, I can only say the party is getting worse every cycle. Let'em nominate Trump. It'd make the Goldwater debacle look like a close race.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I agree, though I'd add one other thing about Biden is his tendency to go "off script". That can be endearing, and it can also get him into trouble.

As an aside, I saw a video today from a Draft Biden group, but I couldn't tell if it was legit or an elaborate trolling effort. The comments were filled with irrational Obama haters and plenty of homophobic rhetoric—usual Internet fare, in other words—so that didn't provide any evidence either way

I often think that the Republican Party needs a crushing defeat—ideally losing both houses of Congress, too—so it gets through their thick skulls that their radical base is scaring the crap out of ordinary Americans, and they need to moderate the party if they want to survive.