Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Sharing a blog posting from my professor at JHU for the class I am taking: Primaries, Caucuses, Conventions, and the General Election. I was a Martin O'Malley organizer, and tied for first in the caucus! Robert Guttman
Director, Center on Politics and Foreign Relations (CPFR), Johns Hopkins University
Democratic Presidential Possibilities: 20 in 2016
Posted: 02/10/2012 12:46 pm
President Cuomo. President O'Malley. President Warner. President Beebe.
It may seem strange in the middle of the 2012 presidential contest to be looking ahead four years at names that are not that well-known or known at all to today's voters. But as we know things move quickly in politics.
Looking ahead to the end of Obama's second term or the end of Romney/Santorum/Gingrich/Paul's first term, let's see who might be the serious Democratic presidential candidates four years from now.
I put on a mock 2016 Democratic presidential Iowa caucus in my graduate government class at Johns Hopkins this week with students wheeling and dealing to get other students to support their presidential preference.
While I thought New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would be the front runner I was surprised that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Maryland Governor Mark O'Malley tied for first place in our 2016 mock Iowa caucus.
And, the most surprising choice for second place was the Governor of Arkansas Mike Beebe.
The mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel and the governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper both were in the early running. Some of the students thought Emanuel would be a lively and interesting choice but might have too much baggage and might fly off the handle as he has been known to do in his political career.
Many of the students were impressed that the governor of Colorado had started a successful brewery in Denver before going into politics.
The governor of Maryland, who I heard speak several months ago, is a very good speaker and has a reputation as a very competent governor who is also the chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
His neighbor to the south, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, was planning to run for president before but decided not to run. If he decides to go for it in 2016 he would have to be considered one of the Democratic front-runners for the nomination.
The person I see as the front-runner is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Even though he received no mention in my class he will be one of the shining stars for the Democrats four years down the road.
Surprisingly, the Governor of Arkansas Mike Beebe was popular with some of my students and they were not from Arkansas. I am not sure of his attraction but he might be in the mix of possibilities in 2016.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York also received some votes in our mock caucus as did Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick had one vote in our caucus.
Also, surprising to me Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano each had students supporting them in our early voting.
Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio, who has spoken at one of my conferences is very impressive and well informed on the issues but may be a bit too liberal for a general election candidate, received mention at our mock caucus.
Former DNC Chair Tim Kaine who is now running for a Senate seat in Virginia would be a possibility in 2016 if he wins his election this fall.
Since we usually like choosing governors as presidential candidates long shot choices could be the governor of Washington Chris Gregoire or the governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer. The governor of Delaware Jack Markell was also discussed.
Very long shot possibilities might include the mayor of Newark Corey Booker and the attorney general of California Kamala D. Harris.
At this point the only really well known name nationally is Hillary Clinton and she has indicated it is time for her to step out of the spotlight. I take her at her word but she is still one of the most popular Democrats -- along with her husband, in the country.
However, it seems as if the torch will pass to a new generation of Democrats that we hardly know anything about at this time. But by this time in the middle of the 2016 presidential contest the idea of a President Beebe or President O'Malley or President Cuomo might seem quite plausible and realistic.
And, since the GOP presidential race has become somewhat of a farce and a comedy at the moment maybe the Democrats should choose a real live comedian and nominate former Saturday Night Live star Senator Al Franken from Minnesota as their standard bearer in 2016. Actually he has the name recognition and speaking skills to be a credible possibility in 2016.
My early prediction is that O'Malley, Warner and Cuomo will be the Democrats to watch in 2016. There will be new political stars and sensations that will capture our imagination that could put someone presently not on our radar screen into the White House four years from now.
I started reviewing political and historical books for Roll Call, the newspaper that employs me. Here is my first one. ‘Almost President’ Gives Also-Rans Their Due By Kenny Ames CQ Roll Call Staff Jan. 31, 2012, Midnight Scott Farris has a personal perspective on losing. In 1998, as the Democratic nominee for Wyoming’s lone House seat, he was handily defeated by former Rep. Barbara Cubin. So his sympathy for defeated presidential candidates comes naturally and lends an air of empathy to the professional experience he brings to the subject of his first book, “Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race but Changed the Nation.” Everyone loves a winner. Losers of presidential elections are not typically celebrated in classrooms across the country; most people don’t remember their names. But Farris, a former bureau chief for United Press International and Congressional staffer, makes the case for the relevancy of several men who lost an election while changing American politics. Some are obvious: Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign, in which he suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of President Lyndon Johnson, is an example frequently cited by pundits of a losing candidate whose effect was both profound and long-lasting. The Arizonan is credited with helping to create the modern Republican Party, more Southern, Western and conservative than it was. Others are less obvious and less frequently mentioned but in many cases are just as profound. Some united the country during difficult times, others brokered coalitions that subsequent aspirants would use, a few inspired future generations through ideas ahead of their time and some broke down barriers. In pointing to these successes, Farris succeeds in making the book as much a celebration of American democracy as it is a collection of biographies. He devotes the first chapter to the concession speech: a novel American tradition that proves our democracy works. There have been disputed elections in our history, yet, by conceding graciously, the failed candidate ends his campaign for the presidency, denies his supporters the chance to challenge the results and urges the country to unify behind the victor. Even during war, he argues, it is a testament to our system of government that we are stable and secure enough to hold elections, and losers such as Stephen Douglas (on the verge of war in 1860), George McClellan (1864) and Thomas Dewey (1944) kept the country united through their actions. (Wendell Willkie’s 1940 campaign deserves more of a mention than Farris gives it on this score.) And then there are the trailblazers. Al Smith became the first Catholic to win the nomination of a major party, paving the way for John F. Kennedy’s victory. Yet, the 1928 election did not just change the way America and Catholics viewed each other but also set a path to push prejudice to the fringes, a legacy Mitt Romney surely hopes will benefit him. Goldwater is fondly remembered as the catalyst for the modern conservative movement. While history has treated his message and movement kindly, it has not done the same for George McGovern, in many ways the liberal counterpoint to Goldwater. Like Goldwater, McGovern suffered a devastating electoral defeat. Unlike Goldwater, McGovern rarely gets much credit for giving birth to a new Democratic Party. His effort garnered a paltry 37 percent of the vote in 1972 and won only one state and the District of Columbia in the Nixon re-election landslide. But the South Dakota Senator’s coalition of academics, minorities and liberal unions eventually helped elect Barack Obama. Farris concludes with a look at the last three men who lost: Al Gore, John Kerry and John McCain. Each has remained relevant after their losing campaigns. After Gore’s prolonged 2000 battle ended more than a month after Election Day, he went on to wide fame as a prophet of climate change. Kerry and McCain returned to the Senate, with Kerry playing a central role in foreign policy as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and McCain resuming his role as political maverick. Farris suggests that’s a good thing. Continued service to the nation should be embraced, he argues, and something valuable is lost when presidential also-rans are cast aside. History can celebrate the role of Douglas in keeping the two-party system alive and the Democratic Party viable as the loyal opposition. Ross Perot taught future campaigns how to circumvent the media and speak directly to the public. Before McGovern, William Jennings Bryan led a reborn Democratic Party with a progressive populism that in some ways is still alive today. Farris wants voters to celebrate them, too.