I think one fact that is not mentioned enough about 2016 is how bad an election it will be for any regular Democrat running for president.
It is rare for a political party to hold the White House for three terms in a row and the country seems to have soured on President Obama. His approval rating at this point closely mirrors where George W. Bush was at this same time.
Clinton polls uniquely well in the 2016 general election, but for all other Democrats the poll is not good. What little national polling there is shows VP Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren performing dramatically worse against possible Republican nominees. In New York state Clinton performs much better than Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a presidential run. Even if Hillary Clinton didn’t exist top Democrats would still have good reason to sit out the election.
When you add in the fact that Clinton is so strong in the primary it makes the prospect of running against her seem grueling. Who wants to fight a brutal long shot primary against Clinton just for the opportunity to run for President in what could be a very unfavorable year?
I could still see politicians taking on this task if it were their only chance at becoming President but much of the possible Democratic field is fairly young. Gov. Brian Schweitzer is 58, Gov. Peter Shumlin is 57, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is 56 and Gov. Martin O’Malley is only 51. All of them are young enough they could easily wait to run in 2020, 2024, or even 2030. I think one of the best things going for Clinton in the primary is that there are so few desperate Democrats.
The only possible candidate that can’t afford to wait is Biden, who is 71.
Photo by Chatham House, used under Creative Commons license