The Democrats’ Distress
With a bench of presidential contenders that is painfully thin, the party’s choices are Clinton and… uh, Clinton.Charlie Cook, National Journal
September 11, 2015
Let’s start with the children’s book and recent movie, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, then substitute Hillary Clinton for Alexander and year for day. Hardly original: A Google search of the revised title turns up more than 200,000 hits. But apt.
Clinton’s 2015 started out looking so promising. Her second shot at the Democratic presidential nomination was as clean as nonincumbents ever get. The feeling that she had a good chance of winning the general election was consoling even to Democrats who weren’t her biggest fans.
Now, Democrats are getting extremely nervous: Her electoral prospects don’t look so sure. More voters now view Clinton unfavorably than favorably. Her once-strong leads over Republican opponents have shrunk to within the margin of error. Although most Democrats still dismiss the substance of the controversy over her State Department emails, even the most starry-eyed must acknowledge it has exposed her candidacy as far more fragile than in their worst nightmares.
So, what’s an anxious political party to do?
It’s pretty clear that Joe Biden, the popular vice president, hasn’t decided yet whether to jump in. He’s obviously torn between a lifelong passion to occupy the Oval Office and the realities of launching a candidacy less than five months before the first ballots are cast. Sitting vice presidents don’t have the luxury of running insurgent, guerilla-type campaigns; the security requirements alone would mean an expensive campaign. Add to this the anguish that Biden and his family continue to experience over the death just three and a half months ago of his 46-year-old son, Beau, and the ledger on his decision tips decidedly toward the don’t-run side. Maybe he’ll announce his candidacy tomorrow, but he probably won’t, and every day that passes makes it less likely.