The Non-Existent Democratic Bench If Hillary Doesn't Run Edition
In the world of anonymous sources calling for an actual Democratic primary to boost Hillary Clinton's campaigning chops, there's much bemoaning about the lack of viable 2016 contenders that would truly put ol' Hil through the ringer. But what about the bemoaning that would ensue should Clinton actually "implode entirely" -- as all the think pieces from her latest email dust-up imply?
One possibility is that we're about to find out. Of course, another possibility is that it's really early in the campaign and this email scandalette will burn itself out eventually and we'll look back on another premature deployment of the "Dems in disarray" meme with detached amusement. But if this doesn't rattle Clinton, surely it has to rattle the Democratic Party a little bit. If the GOP's main problem is a candidate logjam between last year's losers, this year's saviors and also-rans of every order, the Democrats' yawning worry has to be the lack of timber to send to the mill. There's very little sign that the party has done any serious work recruiting future officeholders and grooming them for the national spotlight. And the lack of fresh faces means that fresh ideas -- or fresher takes on old ideas -- are hard to come by.
Once you get past Clinton, is there a "Democratic bench"? Yes. But the problem is, it's probably an actual bench.
|RANK||CANDIDATE||PARTY||RISING OR FALLING|
|1||ELIZABETH WARRENWith Clinton out, everyone's calculus completely changes. With Clinton, Warren had every reason to stay out of the race. Now, why doesn't she jump in?||Democrat||▲|
|2||ELIZABETH WARRENOk, but seriously you need to think of someone else.||Democrat||▲|
|3||ELIZABETH WARRENCalm down. Take a deep breath. Think of any other name.||Democrat||▲|
|4||JIM WEBBBold enough to use a hashtag at this stage in the game: #webb2016.||Democrat||▲|
|5||JULIAN CASTROSuddenly there is an opportunity for Clinton's running mate.||Democrat||▲|
|6||JOE BIDENSay what you will about Uncle Joe, but the man has the human touch -- literally.||Democrat|
|7||BERNIE SANDERSIf the mainstream Democratic Party wanted to keep Sanders from being a top-tier candidate, maybe some of them should have been good enough to be top-tier candidates.||Independent|
|8||CORY BOOKERNew Jersey still has one senator not in trouble with the law.||Democrat|
|9||MARTIN O'MALLEYHe's constantly listed as the reason Dems are unexcited about the lack of primary candidates. Ouch.||Democrat||▼|
|10||KIRSTEN GILLIBRANDImagine a Hillary Clinton with two-thirds of the experience and none of the baggage.||Democrat||▲|
|11||DEVAL PATRICKA David Axelrod protege, Patrick has said he’s not running, which means he’s thought about running.||Democrat|
|12||JERRY BROWNSee, this is what we’re talking about: Start considering the “Democratic bench” and within 15 minutes it’s become a “Back To The Future” sequel.||Democrat|
|13||ANDREW CUOMOAll those ethical concerns up in Albany could be problematic. But then again, his last name is Cuomo.||Democrat||▼|
|14||ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSAThis is another Democrat we’ve heard of.||Democrat|
|15||RUSS FEINGOLDIf dropping hints got you votes in Iowa...||Democrat|
Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press