The Democrat bench, part 1

In the wake of Trump’s victory and the utter devastation of the Democratic party, the demoralized left has already started looking ahead to and planning for a resurgence in 2020, trying to line up a perfect candidate to put the country back on the track they have utterly jumped.  Unlike the Republicans at the outset of this election cycle, who had a bumper crop of capable, exciting candidates eager to take on the task of undoing Barry’s mess (and no shortage of also-rans who planned to shrug their shoulders meekly and claim nothing could be done, oh well, if they managed to win–I’m looking at you, Jeb), at this point the Democrats seem to have exhausted their bench.  Hillary Clinton’s token challengers had very little pull and clearly existed just to say they’d been there and gotten the t-shirt, except of course for Crazy Bernie who for one terrifying moment looked like he ought to be taken seriously.

We will see who the Democrats’ rising stars are over the course of the next three years, and as Barry demonstrated, being a relative unknown four years out is almost a plus for the Democrats–no skeletons, no baggage, no widely-publicized scandals, etc.  If you’re lucky the majority of the country doesn’t even know your middle name is Hussein.  I’m going to give a rundown of who is currently visible riding the Democratic pine, what I think their likelihood is of making a run (or another run) at it, and what I think their chances are both in the primary and the general election.  Again, a lot can change in four years, and while I expect Trump to be a nigh-unstoppable juggernaut in 2020 I know that the left and their pals in the media can gin up an awful lot of artificial discontent and even economic pseudocrises, so we can’t give up our vigilance even now.

Hillary Clinton: Third time’s the charm?  2020 would make three outings for the defeated and humiliated Inevitable Hillary, having been defeated by Barry in ’08 and now losing to The Don.  Wishful Democratic thinkers have been speculating that Her Not Even Close To Inevitableness might be “keeping her options open” for 2020 since her defeat, but I’m pretty sure if she wasn’t planning to throw in the towel she would not have made some of the post-election appearances she’s allowed, where she showed up without makeup and hairstyling and looked like the death-warmed-over we told everyone she was for months.  Hillary Clinton barely survived this campaign and that’s after spending most of it in hiding.  I sincerely doubt she has any intention of trying one more time with four more years on her and that nagging cough, and even if she did, I’m pretty sure Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is going to have a few matters to discuss with her in the near future.  If she did run, I can see her having a fair chance at taking the Democratic nomination again, but seriously, not a chance in hell at winning, not without levels of voter fraud too massive to conceal.

Michelle Obama: The left is delusional enough to believe their own nonsense about this woman and her husband, and just crazy enough to think they could skip the intermediate step this time out and not buy her a Senate seat or a Cabinet post first, just go straight from FLOTUS to POTUS.  The problem is people know that being able to wear expensive dresses and screw up school lunches alone are not qualifications, and whether the press and the Democrats acknowledge it or not, Barry’s not leaving office as beloved by all as they like to think.  Michelle has stated she’s not interested in seeking office and frankly that’ll work out best for both her and Barry, they can just be professional rabble rousers.  I can see her having a fair chance of taking the Democrat nomination if she did try to run but no better chance than Hillary of winning the general election.

Joe Biden: Ah, Uncle Joe.  Barry’s right-hand man and ever-present impeachment insurance, the supposed “likeable buffoon” who hee-hawed his way through a VP debate with the much more adept Paul Ryan and probably rivals Billy Jeff Clinton for the number of women he’s groped in DC, except he’s more cluelessly touchy-feely than outright lecherous.  Lots of folks on the left and the right think Joe would have been a more formidable opponent than Hillary and would have easily defeated Trump in 2016, and probably would have been able to win the Democratic nomination if he hadn’t been arm-twisted into deferring to Her What-Made-Us-Think-You-Were-Inevitableness.  I disagree.  I don’t think he would have aced Hillary for the nomination (though it would have been close and possibly even caused a split requiring drastic measures to take it back from Bernie) and I think the only way Biden beats Trump is if you believe that made the race “likeable buffoon” versus “somewhat less likeable buffoon.”  I don’t.  What it WOULD have made the race was white guy versus white guy without any of Bernie’s wild-haired flash, which would have blunted the Democrats’ identity politics and hamstrung their outrage machine, and Trump would have waltzed right over him.  Joe’s getting up there in years and his biggest edge going into 2020 would be that he’s a relic of Barry’s administration, which the left will look to as their “golden age” more and more as Trump rips into their messes.  I think if he seeks the nom in 2020 he’ll get it, but I don’t see him as a silver bullet in the general election.  He could take it if Trump royally screws up but so far that’s not looking likely.

Bernie Sanders: Sorry kids, but no.  Bernie’s not even a Democrat and I maintain he never really intended to win, and even then the game had to be rigged before he could be vanquished.  Bernie’s job was to give Hillary a foil in the Democratic primary so all the attention wasn’t focused on the Republicans and so she could look tough, and as his campaign gained steam his purpose shifted to energizing the base in hopes of shunting his support to Hillary.  It really didn’t work.  Bernie’s also aging fast and another run would present a serious risk of reopening some 2016 wounds about how he and the Democratic party led his followers on and screwed them over.  I put him at a low chance to win the nod if he runs and give him McGovern odds in the general if he gets that far.  Oh, and I’m not going to even get into most of the other primary challengers on the Democratic side since they were essentially Hillary without the name recognition or the proper chromosomal makeup.  We’ve seen the last of Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee.

Elizabeth Warren: She was floated as a possible challenger to Hillary, a possible running mate for Hillary, a possible substitute for Hillary should Hillary implode, and all manner of other potential uses in the 2016 run that never materialized.  Warren is a darling of the far-progressive wing of the Democratic party and in many ways is the female Bernie Sanders, which is her weakness as much as it is her strength.  Nevermind her crazy economic thinking or scandalous claims of Native American heritage.  Hillary Clinton’s special effects department could replicate her youthful 90s look well enough for her limited campaign and debate appearances but Libby Warren came on the scene looking like an old scolding schoolmarm and sounding like it too.  If you think Ted Cruz’s voice is a liability for an otherwise stellar statesman (and it is), Warren’s whole physical package just cries “unelectable.”  Just listen to her “nasty woman” campaign speech, she’s seething with anger and hate and just comes across like nails on a chalkboard, and her diminutive frame plus her mannerisms come across like a nun tapping a ruler in her palm.  Even her smile looks fake and forced.  I just don’t think she can hold her raw hate in.  If she seeks the nomination she has a fair to a good chance of getting it, merging Bernie ideas with grievance group heritage and genitalia, but I don’t believe she can win a general election on angry feminists alone.  She would be tougher than Hillary or Michelle but still not seeing a winner.

Tammy Baldwin: Looking over the Democrats’ Senate roster, one of the dark horse names that really stands out to me is Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin.  She’s claiming a lot of credit for taking charge of the Veterans Administration Hospital scandal (claiming, not due) and relative to many other Democratic senators she’s not as vocal or visible in a lot of ways, meaning she hasn’t given the public reason to dislike her.  If memory serves she is the only openly lesbian senator, giving her that critical double hit of grievance groups, and for some reason it was crucial to the Democrats to get her in the Senate.  In 2012 she defeated popular ex-governor Tommy Thompson to win her seat, just months after Scott Walker absolutely humiliated Tom Barrett in the much-publicized recall election.  Something there didn’t add up, and in 2012 we know voter fraud was rampant.  I’m keeping a wary eye on her.  I put her at a fair chance to win the nomination if she seeks it, and probably the best chance of anyone mentioned so far to win the general election, depending on how President Trump does.

Cory Booker: This New Jersey senator is looking to be the next Barry.  Really, he’s kind of a bad joke.  He campaigned on stories from a made-up friend from the streets named “T-bone” and recently attempted to launch himself into the national spotlight by “historically” opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General (ever notice how when Republicans do it it’s “unprecedented” while when Democrats do it it’s “historic?”).  Booker doesn’t have a lot longer history to give him problems than Barry did when he ran but he’s engaged in enough buffoonery to cause some bumps in the road, he doesn’t seem to have Barry’s (admittedly overrated) charisma although he does share his arrogance, and let’s face it, we’ve already done the black president thing.  It’s not going to pull the same excitement the second time around.  I give him a low to fair chance of winning the nomination but unless he becomes a superstar in the next few years or Trump crashes and burns I don’t see him winning.

Kamala Harris: Okay, now it’s time to be afraid.  Senator Harris just took over the California seat long held by Barbara Boxer, which means we’re stuck with her for a long, long time.  She’s every social justice warrior’s heroine, ripping into Trump’s nominees about irrelevant stuff (like asking the nominee for director of the CIA if he is a “climate change denier” and other nonsense) that makes the special snowflakes swoon.  On top of that, not only is she young and attractive, but she checks off about half a dozen grievance group boxes and unlike Libby Warren seems to have a legit claim to all of them.  If she seeks the nomination in 2020 I think only Joe Biden could stop her and I frankly put her at almost even chances to beat Trump, give or take depending on Trump’s presidential performance.  She could galvanize the “yes we can” dimwits while not turning people off due to scolding or shrillness.  Really, her greatest weakness would be her far-left lunacy, which might flower enough in the next four years to put her even past the Democrats’ boundaries.

Chelsea Clinton: Don’t laugh.  Much as Michelle Obama would be skipping the middle step, Chelsea could counter such a claim by arguing that she’s spent her whole life in politics either as First Daughter or otherwise.  She’s old enough under the Constitution and there’s already talk of buying her a Congressional seat somewhere.  The only question is how much magic is left in the Clinton name.  Chelsea doesn’t even have the benefit of being totally scandal-free, although many of the charges that could be leveled against her parents wouldn’t apply to her, but she’s still been involved as an adult in a fair number of below-the-boards activities (Benghazi being one).  I don’t think she can be counted out, but I also don’t think she’s worth worrying over too much at this point–my bet would be if she finds her way into Congress in the next 4-8 years she’ll be gearing up for 2024.  I don’t rank her chances highly for either the nomination or the election.

Jim Webb: I’d be worried about this guy if I thought there was any chance he’d ever get the nod.  Webb was arguably the only contender on the Democratic side worth taking seriously this time out, the closest thing to a centrist their party has seen in a generation.  He called out the party on its nonsense and dishonesty when he dropped out of the primary race and since then has been fairly quiet.  Webb is, to put it bluntly, the kind of leader to bring the Democratic party back to its roots and sell it to middle America again, and while that makes him one of the Democrats’ deadliest weapons, it also means they’ll never use him.  The Democrats have forsaken their once-sacred constituency in the name of identity politics and envy politics, and have resumed actively pushing for socialism and outright communism in the guises of health care and environmentalism, and this last election demonstrated that Americans on the whole are sick of it.  Webb could bring them back to the middle at least long enough to get them back into power and thankfully they’ll never listen to him.  I put Webb at almost no chance of winning the nomination, but if he got it, I think he’d be the most serious threat to Trump’s re-election the Democratic party could put forth, at least from its ranks of professional politicians.

Tomorrow I plan to follow up with a few more names I think are important to keep in mind going forward, but that might not be the last post in the series.  A lot can happen in four years.

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