The 2016 Democratic Primary Is The Lamest Party Of The Year

I’m really disappointed in how unenthusiastic the democratic party has been in response to Hillary’s official campaign launch. Unenthusiastic about Hillary, but also unenthusiastic in the primary opposition. Right now, there are a couple of possible contenders for a primary challenge, but we’re mostly taking about them in terms of how they will make Hillary stronger, rather than their own merits. Which is strange, because they’re among the most dull and uninteresting politicians in recent memory. Martin O’Malley is probably a great candidate, but I think the most exciting thing about him is that he’ll probably force Hillary to run a little further to the left. Jim Webb—I’m so uninterested in Jim Webb I can’t even be bothered to look up his Wikipedia page for a solid factoid about his political career.

And who do the Republicans have? Jeb Bush, the closest analogue to Clinton, simply because he’s part of a political dynasty. But his story is interesting, because he has to simultaneously sever ties with his brother’s presidency while also court the very people who voted for him in the first place. Santorum and Huckabee are delightful disasters, and Marco Rubio—the current favorite—could actually be a great Republican candidate for one, both electorally and in terms of redefining the party’s conventions. The 2016 GOP primary is going to be a blast.

What happened to the Democrats though? Have they been so busy for the last four to eight years fending off ridiculous anti-Obama rhetoric that they forgot to look for someone to carry on his legacy effectively? Or is Hillary’s ascension such a slam dunk that they didn’t even bother?

I don’t understand how we got to this point. In 2008, the Dem primary promised either the first black president or the first woman president. It was exciting, dirty, and diverse. Eight years later, and we’ve got none of that. Well, we’ve still got Hillary. But I feel like the novelty wore off a while ago.

I thought this was the big tent party, though. The party of liberals, hippies, Hollywood types, artists, elites, blue-collar workers, Barack Obama, JFK, etc. How is it that in 2016 the candidate representing everyday Americans is a former lawyer whose resume includes Secretary of State? I mean, yeah, Hillary is qualified, but that’s not my point. The GOP gets a candidate representing every ideological extreme within their party, from paranoid libertarianism, to kooky evangelism, to neo-con establishment, and now an ex-Mormon Catholic son of Cuban immigrants. And Ted Cruz, who is a mix of all of the above.

If the Democrats were as ambitious as the GOP, we’d have a range of candidates that include a pot-smoking Pacific Northwest community organizer, a tweed-wearing Ivy League demagogue, a Marxist radical, a gay Mormon Boy Scout leader with a law degree, an environmentalist mommy blogger, and at least one person who marched in Ferguson last summer. And I mean as real candidates. We have Vermin Supreme, but he’s all theater and no substance.

My biggest fear is that Hillary will glide through the primary without proving herself to the progressives in the party. I fear she will win without hearing their varied gripes and desires for her presidency, and mostly, that for the second general election in a row, the GOP primary debates are the most promising primetime television while Hillary’s ads will be the political equivalent  of Coldplay. Sure, they’re good, but who cares?

4 replies »

  1. I read that Sanders isn’t sure about running because he doesn’t want to damage socialism in the public mind as a viable ideology. He said that if he runs and his campaign flounders it could damage future candidates who don’t shy away from embracing socialism. He doesn’t want to be the “freaks show” candidate because he takes his positions very seriously and wants to make sure the stage is well set to discuss them. But I don’t think he’s said he isn’t running, at least not yet. The thing is, I think the R’s have such diverse candidates because so many of them know they won’t win, they just want to sell books or whatever. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t want to sell books, she wants to reform Wall Street.

  2. What’s got me so sad about the political process right now is that I used to be so interested and engaged, but now I’m just frustrated. I volunteered for Robert Reich’s campaign for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 (the same election that elected Mitt Romney). I volunteered for Dennis Kucinich’s campaign for President in 2004. I want to get engaged in issues and policies that I care about. However, these days, all I get are fundraising emails saying, “If you don’t chip in $3, the Republicans win.”

    Specifically with regards to the 2016 election, my inbox is flooded with emails from Democrats treating Hillary as if she already is the nominee. Yes, I get that Martin O’Malley is the only other candidate who’s declared, but we’re not even halfway through 2015 yet. Even some supposed liberals are lining up to basically coronate – not nominate – Hillary. And I just got attacked by a bunch of feminists who decided that just because I have a penis, I’m supposed to shut up and not dare say a negative thing about Hillary, even if I’m supportive of a woman being President in general, and even if my preferred candidate (Elizabeth Warren) is, herself, a woman! (I never thought I would find myself in a position to criticize feminists, and it makes me sad. 😦 )

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