Three years ago today, this was the headline in The Washington Post:
Hillary Clinton Opens Presidential Bid
Twenty-one and half months before the general presidental election would be held in November 2008, the first major candidate (indeed, the sub-headline from the Post called her the “front-runner”) of the opposition party announced her candidacy. Barack Obama would announce his bid for the presidency a few weeks later.
If that trend continues (i.e., candidates announcing their bids 21.5 months before the election), that means we are a year away (January 2011 is 21.5 months away from November 2012) from the next crop of aspiring Chief Executives throwing their hats into the ring.
While the Great Beltway Parlor Game will be focused on who from the Republican Party will run (will it be Sarah, Mitt, Norm, Mike, Bobby, Rudy, or that new Senator from Massachusetts?), I am more intrigued by who the Democrats will nominate to run in 2012.
“But wait”, I hear you ask through the screen, “wouldn’t the current office holder run under the Democratic banner?”
“Not necessarily”, you hear me answer.
Given that elections over the past year (e.g., GOP wins in the gubenetorial races in Virginia and New Jersey and the Senate victory in Massachusetts) either show a resurgent Republican Party or a disillusionment in the hopes placed on President Obama (or both), I am suggesting it is plausible that the Democrats may decide the honeymoon is over.
There is a history of the Democrats and the Left fighting among themselves, sometimes to the detriment of the party:
2000: In the presidential election, Ralph Nader (Green Party) siphons enough votes away from Democrat Al Gore to help Republican George W. Bush with the race (yes, the butteryfly ballot didn’t help Gore either)
2000: During the Democratic primary, former Senator Bill Bradley (D, NJ) challenged the sitting Vice-President, Al Gore, for the opportunity to succeed Bill Clinton. That primary fight, I argue, left Gore weakened in his general election fight against Bush.
1980: John Anderson runs as an Independent. Even though he ran in the Republican Primary against Ronald Reagan, Anderson is a Rockefeller Republican (read: liberal) and siphons votes away from Jimmy Carter.
1968: Democrats actually fight each other (and the police) in Chicago during their party’s nominating convention.
So, my question remains as to who the Democrats will nominate as their presidential candidate in 2012.
I will answer my own question and say that it will be Obama as there is no other legitimate candidate. Any person who would come forward would be defeated by Obama as incumbency brings with it many perks when running a campaign. However, I predict that the fight of Obama vs. [insert name here] will be costly to the Democrats and, come November 2012, that cost will be the loss of the White House.
Whether through internecine warfare or disillussionment (or both), I predict we will see on January 2013, on the East Side of the Capitol Building, taking the oath, either Sarah, Mitt, Norm, Mike, Bobby, Rudy, or that new Senator from Massachusetts.