All great achievements begin with a dream. So let’s dream.
It’s only summer 2013, but I’m thinking the 2016 race will be Clinton versus Paul.
The loony right controls the GOP today, and that is unlikely to change within the next two years. After allowing apostates like McCain and Romney to get the presidential nomination the last two times, they want to choose a simon-pure zealot from among the frontrunners next time.
So who are the frontrunners? A handicapper recently gave odds on the likely nominee for the GOP in 2016. The top ten consisted of incompetent shifty liars like McDonnell and Rubio; Jeb Bush who is even more liberal than his brother, who is disliked by the party base for not being extreme enough; Christie, who is hated by the base and can’t take the heat of a national campaign; the unlikeable Austerity Taliban, Ryan and Cantor and Pence; and people who have been rejected by the whole country as just too crazy, namely Palin and Huckabee.
Leaving Rand Paul. Who is also a little nuts, but in the GOP insanity is not only a relative term, but also an attractive feature in a candidate. These people don’t want sane.
There are of course some long-shots: toxic governors like Kasich, Jindal, the bomb-throwing Scott Walker, Portman, Haley, Perry, Martinez, Daniels and Pawlenty. Toxic Senators like Cruz, Thune, Demint, Brown, Santorum and Toomey. Has-beens like Romney, Trump, Gingrich. Tokens like Ayotte, Cain, Rice. Huntsman, who is much too sane to get the nomination. Which of these people would have a chance to win over the party base and then tack back to the left quickly enough to win battleground states? A lot of these guys could lose their home states – and Rick Perry is one of them. Actually, for that matter, Hillary is running ahead of Bush and Rubio in Florida too.
Paul could pick a running mate from a battleground state, but a lot of those candidates are horribly unpopular at home. More likely, Paul will make a demographic pick for running mate – Ayotte, Haley, Martinez – which will fool nobody.
Now all of this assumes that the party will still be in the thrall of their loony right wing. If the party establishment can regain control of the party from the loons, and begin outreach to blacks, Latinos, women and gays, everything will change. But the national party can’t tack to the left like that, while the state Republicans in the legislatures are ruddering even further to the right, on abortion, on contraception, on gay marriage, on immigrants, on crime, on unions, on Voter ID, on stand your ground. The national party can’t reach out to minorities and women while the state Republicans are trying to stop the same groups from being heard. And those state Republicans run the primaries and caucuses. So….Rand Paul. He will use his dad’s Iowa organization to win the caucuses, and then run the table on Super Tuesday.
On the Democratic side, if Hillary wants the nomination in 2016, it’s hers. In 2008 she was sure the nomination was hers, she didn’t bother to put together a competent team to fight for the primaries, and she got ambushed (in 2006 I actually predicted that she would go down that way, but I thought John Edwards was going to be the one to pick her off base). She won’t make that mistake again. Like Nixon, who ran again in 1972 after enduring two incredibly tight elections, she wants an old-fashioned ass-kicking this time around.
And who could ambush her on the Democratic side? After Hillary the only two strong candidates they have are Biden, who won’t run against her (he’d be 82 after eight years as president), and Brian Schweitzer, who will have the good manners to wait for Hillary to offer him the VP slot. Since invading the south would be a very smart thing for the liberals to do right now, sending Schweitzer down there as running mate, in his bolo tie and his shit-kicker boots, would be smart also.
There are other women standing in line behind Hillary – Warren, Klobuchar, McCaskill, Gillibrand – but they will be fighting for Hillary, not against her. So will Sebelius, a less likely candidate because she’s the dullest speaker in politics. If Jennifer Granholm wasn’t Canada-born, she’d be president already, although Ted Cruz was also born in Canada and he still thinks he’s eligible – how about an all-Canadian race, Granholm vs Cruz?
In addition to the ladies, Team Blue has a number of men who are rather dull – Cuomo, Bayh, O’Malley, Warner, Kaine – or dorky – Kucinich, Sherrod Brown, Franken – or weird – Emmanuel. And a number of politicians who don’t have the guts for a real fight, including a big hunk of the Senate. The party already knows that running Hillary is an easy win, whereas running one of these men means a close dogfight, like 2000, a debacle they obviously don’t want to repeat. Just as the GOP used skullduggery in 2000 and 2004 to win close states, they used no less than seventy tactics to game the 2012 election and will do so again in 2016. But those tactics don’t matter much in a blow-out, so the party wants the blow-out. In other words, Hillary. If Hillary doesn’t pick Schweitzer for her running mate, one of the drones like O’Malley will get the gig.
So Hillary takes on Paul, and wins all the states Obama won, barely holding Florida, Ohio and Virginia, while also picking off North Carolina. She will try to take back Texas and Georgia, and lose narrowly in both places, but then the state Democratic parties down there will be better prepared to try again in 2020. Hillary wins with 347 electoral votes in 2016. In 2020, with the economy finally back on track, with six million more Latino voters than we had in 2012, with anti-Obama hate no longer driving GOP turnout, with a lot of elderly rednecks “aging off the system”, she finally picks off Texas, Arizona and Georgia, and we have a landslide.
And a mandate.
And then she starts picking Supreme Court Justices. Ginsberg and Breyer will probably hang up their cleats at that point, but with Hillary in the White House we’ll replace Blue with Blue. And we may get lucky and turn some Red Justices Blue. If Hillary wins two terms, then remember that in 2024 Scalia and Kennedy will be 88, Thomas 76, Roberts 69, Alito 64. The dream here is….we can clean house and have an all-blue Court. Even a 7-2 or 8-1 split in our favor would be nice – reaffirm Roe, overturn Citizens United, narrow gun rights, affirm equal rights for gays, ban stand-your-ground, reinstate the Voting Rights Act. But an all-Democratic court – wow!