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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Iowa Caucuses 2016 - Is Hillary Clinton Inevitable?

Let me share with you the best article I've read so far on the Hillary Clinton phenomenon and the Iowa 2016 Caucuses.

Ryan Lizza, "The Inevitability Trap," writing in the New Yorker (Nov 17, 2014) analyzes the prospect of Hillary Clinton being the Democratic Party nominee for President in 2016 with her "coronation" rather than as a result of a vigorous primary season.

The basic premise of the article is that "In every fight for the Democratic Presidential nomination in the past five decades, there has come a moment when the front-runner faltered."

1. In 1984, Walter Mondale seems inevitable until Senator Gary Hart suddenly surged as a serious threat to the "inevitable" Mondale. Hart faltered because he had a poor organization for harvesting delegates and Mondale prevailed.

2. In 2000, Vice-President Al Gore was on a glide path to the nomination until New Jersey Senator and former basketball start Bill Bradley challenged Gore and the Clinton Administration's coziness with Wall Street which had upset liberals in the Democratic Aprty.

3. In 2004 on of a group of experienced politicians especially John Kerry were expected to easily win the Iowa Caucuses until Dr. Howard Dean, a virtually unknown ex-governor of Vermont electrified the progressive wing on the Democratic party and gave Kerry a good run for the money. While Dean excited his large horde of followers, like Hart, he did not have a good organization to thrust his campaign forward. On caucus night Dean promised to continue the fight for nomination but at a rally of his supporters he excitedly shouted into the microphone which produced what has become known as the "Dean Scream" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5FzCeV0ZFc

4. In 2007 Hilary Clinton was the clear favorite and most deeply funded contender for the Iowa Caucuses and the nomination. Leading into the 2008 caucuses she was suddenly faced with a surging young Senator from Illinois Barak Hussein Obama. We all know that Obama pulled a surprise victory in Iowa and continued to pursue Clinton in ever subsequent primary and caucus all the way to June when he had accumulated enough delegates to win the nomination.

In 2016 Lizza argues that Clinton will find herself challenged for the nomination by at least three interesting Democrats who would appeal to different wings of the Democratic Party which, like the Republicans, is a loos coalition of several tendencies. The three likely challengers are Martin O’Malley, governor of Maryland, Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, and Senator Bernie Sanders, "a democratic socialist and the longest-serving independent in Congress, is seventy-three; he speaks with a Brooklyn accent that is slightly tempered by more than two decades of living in Vermont, where he was previously the mayor of Burlington and then the state’s representative in the U.S. House."

I will blog more in the near future on this very interesting prospect of a vigorous Democratic contest for victory or even second place in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. 

For the full read of Lizza's piece go to The New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/17/inevitability-trap

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