It is both silly and impossible to resist wondering who will be the candidates for president in 2016. How else are we to cool down from months and months of frantic election coverage? The Democrats’ next nominee will go a long way toward defining the identity of the party in the years following Obama’s presidency. Northeast intellectual? Rising Latino? Or Clinton era part deux?
Back to the Future: Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden
Is Hillary running? No one knows, but if she does, a lot of other Democrats are going to get out of the way. Hilary supporters in 2008 talked about a sixteen year plan, with eight years of Clinton followed by eight years of Obama. Perhaps they could still get their wish, just reversed. If she becomes a candidate in 2016, she would be an immediate frontrunner.
As for Biden, he’s a natural one to speculate about, after all, he wanted the job before he became vice president, so why not now? It says here that, with his advanced age and a rising tide of young democrats, he will be a top surrogate, but choose to stay out of the running.
The Beasts of the Northeast
You would be hard-pressed to find two more loved Democrats than Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is widely speculated to run in 2016, but only if Hillary Clinton is not a candidate. Booker first has to decide if he will challenge Chris Christie for Governor of New Jersey in 2014. Christie is popular, and his handling of Hurricane Sandy (and the Romney campaign) likely only bolstered his standing among his constituents. If Booker decides to challenge him, it will be an uphill battle, but a victory would have him well-situated to make a run at the presidency.
We also shouldn’t overlook the woman who replaced Hillary Clinton in the senate: Kirsten Gillibrand. A skilled fundraiser and savvy politician, Gillibrand is another figure who would be a force among 2016 candidates, but would opt out if Clinton ran.
The Latino Mayors
Antonio Villaraigosa and Julian Castro, mayors of Los Angeles and San Antonio respectively, are relatively young, and would galvanize the Latino vote, a growing force in American politics that will only be stronger by 2016. Both would likely have to run as mayors, though Villaraigosa would be a strong candidate for Governor of California if Jerry Brown does not run for reelection. Either way, both could make the case that their cities are larger, by population, than many states.
The Party Stalwarts
This next batch has been around a while, and appear to be thinking about throwing their hat in the ring. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is a popular centrist, as is the lovable Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana. Amy Klobuchar, senator of Minnesota since 2007, could make a run as a liberal with folksy charm.
In the meantime, Democrat voters have some time to celebrate, and enjoy the next four years of the Obama administration.