It is early days yet, with 16 months until the election. But it's interesting to assess the Democrat field as it is today from a horse race perspective and see where we are, especially as we're starting to get a glimpse of future trends.
Hillary Rodham Clinton remains by far the Democrat frontrunner. She's raised far more money than any of the other candidates, more than all of them combined. And she has far more name recognition than any of them. Mrs. Clinton has indeed been with us a long time. To add to these advantages, she has her own built in grievance group appeal because she possesses a vagina and can work the 'first woman president' angle for all it's worth.
Unfortunately for her, she's run into significant problems on the way to the coronation.
The biggest stumbling block to Hillary Clinton has been her own persona. When she first starting her obvious toying with announcing her candidacy after resigning her job as Secretary of State, she had record high approval ratings. At that time, I wrote on these pages that as soon as she began to run, people would remember all the things they disliked about her. And I put her chances at getting the nomination at no more than 50/50, about which more later.
As Secretary of State, Hillary was mostly cut out of the loop. President Obama assigned all of the juicy diplomatic roles to 'special presidential envoys' and Mrs. Clinton was reduced to administrative tasks and a role as messenger girl when needed. Even the UN was taken away from her, as President Obama made it a Cabinet post reporting directly to him and put Obama loyalist Susan Rice in the slot.
The public has a notoriously short memory, especially with Clinton minions like George Stephanopoulos in the media talking her up while making sure nothing problematic really made the news. So Secretary Clinton was largely seen as benign, a reminder of the supposed Good Old Days of the Clinton presidency.
The first reminder of the real Hillary came out in the wake of the Benghazi scandal when it was revealed that she and the Obama regime collaborated on blatantly phoney talking points to blame a totally unknown video and an out of hand 'protest' for a well planned terrorist attack in which a US ambassador and three others were murdered. That one was too big for her media allies to contain, especially after America saw her temper tantrum on national TV when she was confronted with her lies by congress and revealed her hideously amoral core by screaming that it made no difference.
Still, she was protected by the Obama regime for its own reasons. They classified all records of the attack including drone and on ground videos of what happened, threatened the eyewitnesses whom survived so they wouldn't testify to congress and stonewalled the requests of congress for information. And as time went on, the media cooperated by burying the story. So people tired of hearing about it and many, especially the True Believers moved on and as she announced her candidacy, she was still very much the Queen in waiting.
The next shoe that dropped was our finding out that while she had no major foreign policy accomplishments, Secretary Clinton wasn't nearly so benign and idle as we supposed. She used her time in office to enrich herself and her husband through the corrupt Clinton Foundation, selling influence and access as a well-researched best seller "The Clinton Cash Machine" documented. Not only that, but it came out that $6 billion from the State Department budget Mrs. Clinton was responsible for allocating mysteriously went missing.No one to this day knows what happened to the money.
And now its been revealed that Hillary egregiously broke the law (and endangered America's national security) by storing classified documents on a private server located in her home that was almost certainly hacked by foreign governments, refusing to release those documents to the US Department of State and destroying the server. Given who's in the White House she likely won't be prosecuted for that, but again, this sort of thing reminds people of whom Hillary Clinton is and why they dislike her.
Aside from her cold, secretive and imperious personality, she's a corrupt serial liar whose tall tales are so easily found out that it outrages many of the intended recipients that she apparently thinks they're stupid enough to swallow them. There is simply not a truthful bone in her body and again, you have a lot of people recalling why they dislike her...just as I predicted.
She reminds me of an old girl friend of mine who likewise lied in that particularly manic fashion. After catching her out the first couple of times and getting that deer in the headlights look, I learned never to take her seriously or believe a word she said and to just enjoy the carnal aspects of the relationship. But then, she wasn't running for president.Hillary Clinton is.
Another problem Hillary Clinton has to deal with in her march to the White House is one beyond her control. The party's base has simply moved far to the Left of her...or at least far to the Left of what she would like the American people to perceive. Hillary Clinton and her husband have always been a lot more radical in reality than they projected to the American voting public. They are what Emmett J. Tyrrell Jr. famously called 'coat and tie radicals.' They were willing to drop the obvious trappings and positions of the Left to a certain extent to infiltrate the System they despised from within for power and profit.
They largely succeeded, thanks to Bill Clinton's undeniable skill as a politician in 'triangulating' - running ever so carefully to the Left to get the nomination and back towards the center in the general election to capture the flag. Hillary's problem is that the Democrat Party George Soros and Barack Obama have created is simply too far Left to allow her to do that easily. She will either have to run hard to the Left to capture her party's base or to the center, hoping that a combination of her gender and the fact that the alternative is one of the Hated Republicans will be enough.
While I still say that the nomination is largely hers for the taking, the chances of her getting it are only 50/50/. Her health is poor, and she is already polling equal or behind some of the GOP clown show, a trend that's likely to continue. The Democrat's system of super delegates - party movers and shakers unelected by any particular state - gives us at least the possibility that at some point, if her poll numbers keep dropping, they'll have a little talk with her. And she'll drop out and someone like Elizabeth Warren will drop in. Again, I see this as at least a 50/50 possibility.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, is Hillary Clinton's chief competition at this point. His class warfare meme and his regular guy persona play well with the Democrat's base and while still far behind Hillary, in Iowa and New Hampshire he's currently polling in the 30's. Nationally, he's polling slightly more than half that against Hillary Clinton.
In spite of all the noise, I don't see him winning in the least.
Iowa and New Hampshire are mainly white states. Bernie Sanders has a shot at winning there, but once the campaign moves to states with significant amount of black and Hispanic Democrats, it's all over. They will vote for Hillary Clinton.
Sanders' problem is that however irreligious and Leftist he may be, he is still a Jew. A significant part of the Democratic coalition as it's now composed involves blacks and Muslims, many of whom have certain attitudes, shall we say, about Jews and will not vote for one. George W. Bush's razor thin 2000 win can be attributed in part to this factor.The GOP carried the Muslim vote that year...when there was a guy named Joe Lieberman on the Democrat ticket.
This is even more true today then it was in 2008. Simply put, Barack Obama has made 'anti-Zionism' and anti-semitism respectable viewpoints in Democrat circles, provided they're nuanced ever so slightly. We saw ample evidence of that at the 2012 convention. I would say at least a third of the party holds those attitudes, and possibly more.
Think I'm exaggerating? Listen to NPR host Diane Rehm use the age old anti-semitic smear and accuse Sanders of 'dual loyalty':
There was no outrage over this is official Democrat circles, although Rehm issued a statement the next day. She 'apologized' for not fact checking whether Sanders actually had joint Israeli-US citizenship, not for the anti-semitic slur itself.
The list she speaks of is one I've seen and is wildly inaccurate, supposedly labeling Jews in congress who have dual US-Israeli citizenship. It even includes California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein,whom isn't Jewish at all but is married to one as well as a number of Democrats with Jewish-sounding names who are markedly anti-Israel. For that matter, Bernie Sanders is far from pro-Israel and was one of the members of Congress whom boycotted Israeli PM Netanyahu's speech. Apparently that wasn't enough to establish his far Left credentials.
Rehm, by the way is a notoriously anti-semitic Arab-American who was awarded the National Humanities Medal from Obama last year, where he praised her for her "keen insights" at the ceremony.
Sanders also has major baggage when it comes to gun confiscation, a cause dear to Democrat hearts. It's not well known, but Vermont has some of the most pro Second Amendment firearms laws in the country.Vermonters like their guns, and any Vermont politician advocating the sort of restrictions Democrats in most blue states love would get booted out at the next election. Sooner or later, Bernie Sanders is going to be asked to take a stand on this and justify his largely pro-NRA stance. It will not sit well with the base.
Finally, Bernie Sanders' big issue is the plight of American workers, whom he claims have been targeted since the 1970's. He's correct about that, even if he is more than somewhat off target about the cause. But in order to get a fighting chance at the nomination he's also had to pander and come out big time for amnesty for illegal migrants and more guest worker visas. The first time someone asks him in a debate or other high visibility occasion how he can justify his stance championing the American worker and higher minimum wages with being an advocate of one of the major causes of static wages and high unemployment, you can stick a fork in him. He's done.
Former Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley is the only Democrat candidate under sixty. And he has something Mrs. Clinton and Bernie Sanders lack - actual executive experience. Unfortunately, it's the kind of executive experience sensible people would run away from.
True, Maryland's official unemployment rate is somewhat below the national average, but that's largely attributable to Baltimore and much of the rest of the state's proximity to the greater DC metro area, where the expansion of the federal government makes it one of the few Blue State areas where jobs are readily available. Federal spending in Maryland also contributes to this. But when it comes to private sector jobs, Maryland fell way behind during O'Mally's tenure.
Taxes in Maryland were high to begin with, and O'Malley raised them substantially while also raising government spending. There's a reason that after two terms of O'Malley, Republican Larry Hogan pulled off an upset when he ran in a solid Blue state against O'Malley's Attorney General.
O'Malley checks off a lot of the Democrat base's boxes. He could be labeled Obama in white face, at least as far as his policies are concerned. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate into much support, even though O'Malley is an old hand at pandering. Here's O'Malley at the Net Roots Presidential town hall in Phoenix, Arizona about ten days ago, being interviewed by illegal migrant celebrity Jose Antonio Vargas. While the whole shameful performance bears watching, check out the action at about 21:00 when the 'black lives matter' crowd takes control:
After almost getting booed off the stage for simply saying that 'all lives matter,' his tearful apology the next day was something to behold. Even imagining someone like this negotiating with Putin or the Iranians ought to be enough to make most Americans fall over with laughter.
In terms of getting the nomination, Martin O'Malley's chief problem is that as of yet, hardly anyone outside of Maryland or hard core political junkies has even heard of him. At this point, to stay in he'll have to raise enough money to last and to rack up a couple of good finishes in the primaries.
I include Jim Webb in this survey simply because he's an anomaly when it comes to the Democrat field. The 69-year-old former Senator from Virginia has also served as Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of Defense, so he brings considerable executive experience with him. He's also a former Marine Corps combat veteran, with a chest full of medals including the Navy Cross and the Silver Star. His Navy Cross citation is hair raising. I'm surprised he didn't get the Medal of Honor.
He taught literature at the United States Naval Academy and was a Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, as well as being the author of ten books, many of them on foreign policy, and an Emmy-award winning journalist.
He's also a defense hawk who is one of the handful of Democrats to point out the shortcomings of the Obama Administration's Iran deal. And to criticize the Obama regime harshly for its illegal war in Libya. He calls for revamping our military and strengthening our alliances in Asia and the Middle East.
He calls for reforming the tax code, lowering taxes on earned income across the board while eliminating corporate loopholes that reward the outsourcing of American jobs. He also calls for a national equivalent of the Depression Era CCC to rebuild US infrastructure, for releasing non-violent drug offenders and/or putting together a job training program for them, and most interestingly for a restructuring of the traditional relationship between the executive and legislative branch of government, among other things.
He favors securing America's borders, creating a tamper proof US ID card, stricter enforcement against employers, a path to citizenship for illegal migrants, curtailing U.S. immigration, voted no on the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill and yes on making English America's official language and eliminating an important non-immigrant guest worker program.
He's obviously an intelligent man who's done a lot of thinking, and a patriot. A lot of his agenda make sense, and he's the one person on this list I'd consider voting for.
He hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell in today's Democrat Party.
These four candidates comprise the choices thus far. It remains to be seen if any of them are able to challenge Hillary Clinton's position as front runner.