The midterm elections took place just yesterday, but attention has already shifted two years in the future to the 2016 presidential race. Perhaps that’s for the best, as the GOP Congressional takeover is likely to push the federal government deeper into the type of partisan stalemate we’ve grown accustomed to. President Obama has pledged to cooperate with the right, but history has shown how likely such cooperation is to occur.
With the Democratic Party reeling, its only option is to launch a successful campaign in 2016. For better or worse, that begins with securing the position of president. Whether or not these back-and-forth partisan gains actually change anything is a valid question, but it’s the way politics works in 21st century America.
Hillary Clinton has been talked about as a potential candidate, and she represents a smart and logical choice to further the party’s agenda at the nation’s highest level. Clinton has been a public figure for decades, she’s witnessed the presidency firsthand, and she has years of experience at multiple levels of government to back her up. Her history of commitment to public service is commendable, as is her resume. If elected, she’d be the first female president of the United States. The nation knows who she is and what her platform represents.
Clinton has a lot going for her. Best of all for Clinton is the fact that no other viable candidates have emerged as possible contenders in the race for the Democratic nomination. She’s the undeniable frontrunner, despite not yet officially announcing her intention to run for office.
Yet Clinton could be a dangerous candidate for a nation drastically in need of tangible change. If elected, she would be the next step in the recent trend of oligarchical rule in the Oval Office, another Clinton elected after another Bush was elected (with Obama being the obvious exception). It’s almost preposterous that Jeb Bush is being mentioned as a potential Republican candidate. In the eyes of voters, Clinton could be seen as the Democratic equivalent of Mitt Romney (or worse), a politician out-of-touch with the needs and status of many Americans. She’s a great leader and a potentially great choice for a candidate, but her association with old politics may make her unappealing to voters looking for true change.
Alas, true change is hard to come by in American politics. The other names being mentioned as possible Democratic candidates include Joe Biden and Howard Dean. Both are long shots, especially considering an increased distrust of the Obama Administration, and, well, Dean’s previous failed attempts. The most exciting candidate might be Bernie Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont. Even his chances are discouraging. Sanders has already voiced his potential interest in running, and he’s already proved his dedication to progressive change through all of his various political roles at the state and federal level. His views skew further to the left than those of many moderate Democrats, but it’s been proven over and over again that middle-of-the-road politics gets the nation nowhere.
It’s still far too early to speculate how the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination will shape up in the coming years. New candidates will inevitably emerge, and polls will show which candidates truly appeal to the public. If the Democratic Party wants to regain control, they need to think carefully about 2016 now. If Americans truly want change, they need to think differently about the candidates that they support.