CHICAGO, July 30, 2015 — Democrats pride themselves on their obsessive focus on diversity, multiculturalism and identity politics. This makes it more than a bit ironic that their presidential field consists solely of old, rich, whites.
While the Republican Party has the first two Hispanic presidential contenders and the first Indian candidate, Democrats alter between beige, creme, eggshell and lily-white.
Since uber-Caucasian Rachel Dolezal received acceptance as President of the Spokane, Washington NAACP, liberals have convinced themselves that race is about attitudes and feelings rather than pigmentation and melanin content.
In 2008, Democrats bragged about having the most exciting, diverse group of presidential candidates. in 2016, Republicans can make that claim while the Democrat field is quite lackluster.
Each candidate has their pluses and minuses. Attached is the scorecard for the five Democrats running.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — She is the clear frontrunner and all but anointed nominee. Her virtual coronation is why the Democrat field is so small in the spot to fill an open seat.
Downside: Her toughest critics see her as a lying, venal, soulless, corrupt Lady MacBeth type with zero human empathy. She is surrounded by scandals, many of them self-inflicted wounds. Her tenure as Secretary of State produced no tangible breakthroughs and ended with the Benghazi fiasco. In her four decades of public life, she cannot name a single policy accomplishment. She is also a lousy candidate on the stump. Her speeches are wooden and drenched in legalese. She fails to inspire. She has a tendency to blame her failures on sexism when many of her critics simply have a problem with her specifically. The idea of Hillary Clinton is exciting, but Hillary herself can be quite boring. She refuses to take stands on tough issues until those issues have long been decided. Focus groups and polls replace core convictions. The left does not trust her, and has never forgiven her vote for the 2003 Iraq War.
Upside: Like Barack Obama in 2007, Hillary has core supporters who would lay down and die for her. In the past, others have gone to prison rather than be disloyal to her. Her supporters are so in love with the idea of who they want Hillary to be that they are willing to completely ignore who she actually is. She will have more money than she will know what to do with. Unlike the unique Obama phenomenon of 2008, the 2016 Hillary will be able to bury her weak opponents under a barrage of as many negative ads as necessary. Her primary opponents so far have been terrified of criticizing her, allowing her to coast. She will play the gender card for all it is worth.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — He has electrified crowds with passionate socialist speeches. With Elizabeth Warren not in the race, Sanders is attempting to coalesce the leftist true believers around him.
Downside: He speaks for the angry leftist basket cases, and those candidates usually do not win. Democrats still suffer from the ghosts of George McGovern, and that kept Sanders’s fellow Vermonter Howard Dean from screaming his way to the nomination in 2004. Right now Sanders is an amusing curiosity, but he has shown no ability to expand his base beyond well-off whites. He comes across as the Ron Paul of the left, who may any minute chase kids with a rolled up newspaper and scream at them to get off his lawn. If elected, he would be 75 on inauguration day. Despite being a socialist on almost every issue, he has that quirky Vermont tradition of being against gun control. This will not sit well with the liberal elites in Boston, New York City and Hollywood who would love him on every other issue.
Upside: He is sincere, a true believer. His prescriptions for public policy issues resonate with liberals. He is seen as authentic. He speaks in plain English, not with focus group, poll tested weasel words. He has a safe senate seat for as long as he wants, so he has nothing to lose by running. He has already defied expectations. Even if he does not capture the nomination, he has already won by forcing Hillary Clinton to the left. His pro-gun stance could help neutralize the issue in a general election.
Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb — The former adviser to President Ronald Reagan became a fierce anti-war critic of President George W. Bush. He is seeking to challenge Clinton from the right.
Downside: Bill Clinton’s Democrat Party is dead. Democrats drummed Joe Lieberman out of the party despite voting with the party 92% of the time. Webb is trying to run as a moderate to conservative Democrat in a party owned by the hard left. Webb also has a nasty streak, but Democrats may forgive that since it is directed at Bush and other Republicans. Webb lucked into his senate seat when George Allen was caught on camera saying the word “macaca.” Webb served only one undistinguished term. If he did anything, his accomplishments are unknown. He is on his third marriage to a woman 22 years his junior. His A rating from the NRA will not go over well in a Democrat primary.
Upside: If Webb somehow gets through the primary, he could be a plausible general election candidate based on his perception of being a conservative Democrat. His current wife is Vietnamese, which would be a source of pride to an underrepresented constituency. Webb is a Marine veteran who received the Navy Cross for heroic actions in the heat of battle. Unlike John Kerry, Webb did not bash the Vietnam War, although he did sharply criticize the 2003 Iraq War. His opposition to gun control could help him in areas where Democrats normally get clobbered.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley — He is attempting to position himself as the liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton. His expectation is that as the Iowa Caucus draws closer, Bernie Sanders will flame out just like Howard Dean did. Meanwhile, O’Malley can stay below the radar and let the others squabble. He can then come in late as the adult in the room.
Downside: His stewardship was so unsuccessful that he was replaced by a Republican in solid blue Maryland. He is a doctrinaire liberal but not an inspirational speaker. The Democrat Party really does not want a white man as their nominee. The instability that was fomented during his term led to the race riots that engulfed Baltimore in 2015. He recently embarrassed himself by apologizing at the Netroots conference for daring to say that “all lives matter.” Bill Clinton’s condemnation of Sister Souljah won him praise. O’Malley did the exact opposite, showing himself to be just another white liberal scared to criticize any blacks behaving badly. This could hurt him in a general election.
Upside: He is not a bomb thrower, and could come across as far more reasonable and moderate in the general election than he actually is. What critics would call blandness, supporters describe as inoffensiveness. He is not well known outside of Maryland, giving him plenty of time and upside to define himself. He does not promote excitement among any segment of the Democrat coalition, but he does not produce instant revulsion either. He can play the role of the safe candidate.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee: He is running because he can. His positions are within the mainstream of liberal Democrats, but even by white governor standards he is fairly nondescript. Unless the top candidates all obliterate each other like they did in 2004, he will most likely parlay his quick campaign into a cabinet position. He is running as a safe, non-controversial choice.
Downside: He was a Republican (albeit a very liberal one) until 2007 when he was defeated for reelection to the United States Senate. He won his governor’s race as an independent in 2010 with 36% of the vote. He did not become a Democrat until 2013. He voted for George W. Bush in 2000, but voted for George Herbert Walker Bush (who was not on the ballot) in 2004, a rather bizarre move. By 2008 he was supporting Barack Obama. Democrats may not be willing to trust somebody who has only been a Democrat for two years. He still maintains some Republican positions, including support for free trade, the Patriot Act, and partial privatization of Social Security. His involvement with the anti-Israel group J-Street will not hurt him in the primary but would be a major issue in a general election.
Upside: He can make the claim that his election as a Republican in deep blue Rhode Island gives him crossover appeal. The claim is dubious, but he can make it. He comes across as an affable guy, which is in contrast to some of the angrier candidates in the race. His tenure as Senator and Governor were unremarkable and non-controversial. He did not heal the world but he did not get drowned out by scandals. A virtual unknown outside of Rhode Island, he has plenty of time to define himself.