While the glamour and galore of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was obvious, the question of who will lead the party after Obama is done has not been given much attention.
In the past half century, the party has done an exceptional job of producing rising young stars like John F. Kennedy who was elected president at age 42, a then little-known governor named Jimmy Carter who was elected president at age 53, Bill Clinton who was elected president at age 46, and finally Barack Obama who became the nation's first African-American President at age 47. Aside from Obama, the Democratic Party is full of the washed up politicians of yesteryear. It therefore appears very likely that once Obama is done, the party will go through a time of turmoil and demise much like what it experienced between 1969 and 1993, after LBJ stepped down.
In usual circumstances, the vice president would be anointed as the standard-bearer of the next election. However, by the time 2016 arrives Joe Biden will be 73 years old. Even if Biden were not over the hill, his in-your-face style makes it unlikely for him to ever be electable to be president.
For some, the obvious choice to lead the party after Obama is current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who finished a close second to the current president in the 2008 Democratic primary. Yet, Hillary insists that she will not run for president again. Although I think it would be a mistake to rule her out, I'm not sure an aging Hillary Clinton would have much success against the rising young stars in the Republican Party.
It is apparent that once Obama's time is up, the Democratic Party will have to turn to unelectable old-timers candidates (like John Kerry in 2004) to appeal to the left-wing liberal base while the party regroups and strategizes for the future. It will indeed be hard times for the party as they search for a new leader who carries the youth and vigor that the party's past four presidents have brought to the office.
The Republican Party on the other hand has plenty of young rising stars that it could elevate to run for the highest office in the land. If Romney loses his election, as I predict he will, the Republicans have no reason to fret as the future of the country is nearly already in their hands. With young rising stars like Marco Rubio, Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan among many others, it appears that the Republicans have adopted the strategy of trending towards candidates with youth and vigor.
That makes it abundantly clear that the Democrats have seen their moment in the sun. After Obama's second term is up, the American people will follow the trend towards youth and vigor while reciting towards the Democrats a famous campaign line from the initial election of the most popular Democratic President in recent memory, "it's time for them to go."