On the Democratic and Republican Benches

A reporter asks:

In advance of the Dem convention next week, I’m working on a piece about the 2016 presidential candidate “bench,” for lack of a better term. It seems that plenty of Republicans are mentioned as potential candidates in 4 years: Christie, Daniels, Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush… even Nikki Haley and Rand Paul. It seems far fewer Democrats are on the bench… there’s always Hillary, and some talk about Martin O’Malley and Andrew Cuomo, but I don’t hear too many more.
The story would focus on that disparity, and whether the Democratic party needs to use its convention to introduce new faces. Is it natural that there is less focus on the “bench” when the party is in power, i.e., President Obama and the Dems right now?

My response went like this.  This is a really questionable moment at which to evaluate the party’s benches.  We’ve just gotten a chance to see all the GOP faces, but not the Democratic faces.  Who knows what will happen at the Democratic convention?  I would wait until after Charlotte to know for sure.  And even then, as the reporter noted, perceptions might be skewed because the Democrats are the incumbent party.

Moreover, 2016 is four years away.  Can we adequately perceive the party’s bench now?  People who seem like strong candidates will never emerge as such.  People we didn’t even think about will suddenly come to the fore—e.g., Barack Obama in 2004.

Also, re: “there’s always Hillary.”  That’s a little like saying, “There’s always Lebron.”  With a relatively strong candidate like Hillary Clinton, the Democrats may not need a deep bench in 2016.

But we will see.

5 Responses to On the Democratic and Republican Benches

  1. Hotch August 31, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I bet Brian Schweitzer will a) be listed as a presidential prospect and b) be a flop.

  2. LFC August 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    I tend to take H. Clinton at her word when she says she has no interest in running. Biden, OTOH, I think does have an interest. The idea for the story is premature, as you say, and it suggests that this reporter may not have enough to do.

  3. Abby Kraus September 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    I feel that 2012 is where we are right now and we should be focusing on the election that is coming up. If people want to know what’s going on in 2016 with the Democratic party then they should find a way on their own or just be patient and wait and see. While there are probably a few people who are already thinking about running in 2016 we still haven’t decided who our President will be for the next four years until that election. I believe that we should just wait. It’s not important now who is running in 2016 for either parties. Lets get through this election first.

  4. Michael Evans September 4, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    I don’t take Hillary at her word, nor do I take Condoleezza Rice at hers. The latter is incredibly well positioned and her behavior at the convention, from her speech to her interviews, are consistent with someone laying the groundwork for a “reluctant” run. She already has the foreign policy cred, and now what is her focus? The classic domestic issue everyone is for: education reform! And if Hillary runs, Condi would be the perfect response by R’s. If Obama is reelected, I think the smart money is on Hillary vs. Condi in 2016.

  5. Acilius September 4, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    If Condoleezza Rice were married to her high school sweetheart, Todd Palin, and they had a bunch of kids, sure, she’d be a strong possibility for 2016. But her personal life is such that the GOP base is not going to be comfortable with her on the top of the ticket.