While the coronation of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president is going to start in a few months as she prepares a series of policy broadcasts, Democrats would be well advised to look at five other promising politicians in their party who do not have the long history of failure that Clinton does.
First, to make the quick case against Clinton, when her career is put under a microscope, very few successes emerge. As First Lady, she failed miserably to pass the Clinton health plan, was engulfed in the Whitewater scandal, claimed she made $100,000 by reading the Wall Street Journal, and famously stood by her man. Outside the White House, her career in the Senate was marked by voting for the Iraq War, claiming she came under fire in Bosnia, and then losing to a virtual unknown in the Democratic primary. Her tenure as Secretary of State looks worse and worse by the day, with the official news absolutely no one will be held responsible for the deaths at Benghazi, the failed restart with Russia, the complete collapse of civil society in Egypt, and disaster zone that is Syria.
In direct contrast, these five Democrats have far more real successes and have proven themselves as visionary leaders and legislators.
1. Vice President Joe Biden
First and foremost is the sitting Vice President Joe Biden. While Biden is even older than Clinton, during his tenure in the Senate he successfully stopped Robert Bork’s nomination, was the leading force behind intervention in Bosnia, and had long been a progressive voice in the Senate. As vice president, he has championed gay marriage and the repeal of DADT. He was one of Obamacare’s biggest and most enthusiastic proponents, and has been champing at the bit to run for a while. No vice president can truly be counted out of a race, and Biden has shown he has the will and gravitas to usher liberal ideas into law. America has already shown it does not care if its president suffers from major gaffes, and he is the ultimate extension of the Obama presidency with the potential to move faster on important issues than cautious Obama has.
2. Former Governor Brian Schweitzer
On the opposite side of the Democratic political spectrum is the former Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-Mont.). As governor of a red state, he was one of the most popular politicians in the country and would be a welcome sign to independents and moderates hoping for more bipartisanship. His moderate persona and ability to work across the aisle means that legislation may actually occur in Congress. If he ran, he would have the very strong likelihood of flipping Montana because of his high approval ratings there and would revitalize the Democratic Party in areas it previously was not competitive, while retaining the base. Although he refused to run for Senate in 2014, he has plenty of time to think about a possible run.
3. Governor Martin O'Malley
Third is Tommy Carcetti, otherwise known as Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) . The number one role of the primary process is to see who really wants the presidency, and like Mayor Carcetti, O’Malley definitely wants the top job. To that end, in Maryland, he has had a large number of policy successes, from legalizing gay marriage, which was no easy task with Maryland’s large Catholic and black populations, to support for illegal immigrants, to repealing the death penalty. He has positioned himself to run as the bold progressive in 2016, and he has been very successful in enforcing his brand of progressivism in the state. As mayor of Baltimore, he has dealt with homeland security issues as well. However, in Maryland, he was sparring with puppies as the Maryland GOP is almost completely dysfunctional at this point. How will the ex-mayor do running with the wolves on the national stage?
4. Senator Elizabeth Warren
The woman who took out Scott Brown is next. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) may have only been on the national scene for a short time, but she has quickly established herself as a leader in the Senate. In her short time in office, she has taken on Republicans and Democrats on student loans and the entire banking industry and is now a hero to the left. Like Clinton, she has the same historic potential and she is even more liberal than Clinton. By the time 2016 comes around, she will have had as much time in office as the current president. While she may not know what ethnicity she actually is, she knows how to connect to progressives across the country and would be a strong choice that would almost certainly fire up the base and send a message to Wall Street.
5. Governor Deval Patrick
Finally, a dark horse not many have talked about, but has still been more successful than Clinton is Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass.). Patrick is one of President Obama’s closest friends, and has been a strong liberal during his term as governor. He has led education reform efforts and has shown himself to be his own man. He possess political courage when he defended the practices of Bain Capital, even though Obama opposed them. He has shown political spine along with an ability to pass reformist bills and is an excellent new face in the party and would be a fantastic candidate.
The above are by no means the only worthwhile candidates the Democratic Party has to offer. If she decides to run, Hillary Clinton will most likely be the nominee. However, just because her nomination appears to be a fait accompli right now does not mean that more promising talent will not rise up. It happened once before, and for the good of the Democratic Party and the nation, hopefully it will happen again with one of these five politicians.