POLITICS

Trail To The Chief: The Non-Existent Democratic Bench If Hillary Doesn't Run Edition

03/09/2015 05:54 am ET | Updated Mar 23, 2015



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 WARREN
With 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 WARREN
Ok, but seriously you need to think of someone else.
Democrat
3 ELIZABETH WARREN
Calm down. Take a deep breath. Think of any other name.
Democrat
4 JIM WEBB
Bold enough to use a hashtag at this stage in the game: #webb2016.
Democrat
5 JULIAN CASTRO
Suddenly there is an opportunity for Clinton's running mate.
Democrat
6 JOE BIDEN
Say what you will about Uncle Joe, but the man has the human touch -- literally.
Democrat
7 BERNIE SANDERS
If 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 BOOKER
New Jersey still has one senator not in trouble with the law.
Democrat
9 MARTIN O'MALLEY
He's constantly listed as the reason Dems are unexcited about the lack of primary candidates. Ouch.
Democrat
10 KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND
Imagine a Hillary Clinton with two-thirds of the experience and none of the baggage.
Democrat
11 DEVAL PATRICK
A David Axelrod protege, Patrick has said he’s not running, which means he’s thought about running.
Democrat
12 JERRY BROWN
See, 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 CUOMO
All those ethical concerns up in Albany could be problematic. But then again, his last name is Cuomo.
Democrat
14 ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA
This is another Democrat we’ve heard of.
Democrat
15 RUSS FEINGOLD
If dropping hints got you votes in Iowa...
Democrat

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press

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