the 1992 campaign, Democratic strategist James
Carville updated the phrase "Keep It Simple,
Stupid," with his advice to Bill Clinton:
"It's the economy, stupid." The astute
Clinton focused on that issue, which propelled him
to the White House.
acronyms will not necessarily overcome the
symmetry and balance of U.S. presidential
politics. With monotonous regularity, usually in
8-year increments, the "outs" beat the
"ins." In the 64 years from 1952 through
2016, a Democrat will have held the presidency for
32 years and a Republican will have held it for
means that neither the Democrats nor the
Republicans are the nation's undisputed governing
party. There is a perpetual ebb and flow. Voters
want partisan alteration so as to minimize
corruption, complacency and stupidity. Given that
history, 2016 looks like a switchback election, in
which a Republican wins.
the Democrats, salvation lies in another phrase --
"Nominate Hillary, Stupid" -- as in
outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton. After 8 years of Barack Obama, with a
still-sputtering economy and a national debt which
will top $20 trillion by 2016, America should be
ready for the traditional "change we
need." That was Obama's theme in 2008, when
his race, coupled with George Bush fatigue, gave
him a sweeping 9,549,975-vote victory.
2016 there will definitely be Obama fatigue, and a
dozen or more Republican presidential candidates
will be busily portraying themselves as
instruments of change, attacking Obama's policies
and performance. They'll lambaste him for taxing
too much, spending too much, borrowing too much
and regulating the private business sector too
she recovers from her current hospitalization,
Clinton has the proverbial trump card -- gender.
She need not run for president as an apologist of
the Obama Administration. She need not defend his
economic or foreign policies. By resigning as
secretary of state, she separates herself from the
president. Apart from the Libya situation, Clinton
has been a competent diplomat, visible on the
world stage, provoking no wars. Her poll approval
ratings, down in the 30s when she was the first
lady, are now in the 60s. For 2016 Clinton can
concoct her own platform, rejecting and
criticizing Obama's failures.
she runs, she will be, as Obama was in 2008, an
instrument of "change," as America's
first female president, and her gender alone is
enough to elect her. On the strength of the female
vote, every state that voted for Obama in 2012
would vote for Clinton in 2016.
to the 2010 census, the U.S. population is
308,745,538, of whom 50.8 percent are female.
There are 5,182,890 more females than males. There
are more male births than female births. There are
104 males to 100 females in the 14 to 24 age
bracket, which drops to 98 to 100 in the 24 to 44
bracket, while in the over age 65 bracket, there
are 70 males to 100 females. By 2016 the
post-World War II "Baby Boom" generation
will be near or in the over 65 bracket, as will
Clinton, who was born in 1947, and there will be
hundreds of thousands of women, especially in
urban areas, and especially "Baby
Boomers," who will say to themselves: I want
a woman president in my lifetime.
drumbeat has already begun. If she were elected in
2016, Clinton would be age 69 when she assumed the
presidency. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was
elected in 1980. To blunt the age issue, Clinton's
boosters trot out Golda Meir, who was 71 when she
became Israel's prime minister in 1969, who was
called the "toughest man in the
government," and who retired at age 75.
reality, however, it's statewide, not nationwide,
gender allocation that matters. U.S. presidential
elections, as demonstrated in 2012, are determined
in 10 states: Florida, Virginia, North Carolina,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado,
Nevada and Iowa, which have a combined 142
electoral votes. Obama won nine of those 10 in
2012, amassing 127 electoral votes. In 2008 the
"Obama Nation" produced a 365-173
electoral win; in 2012 it was 332-206. The only
states that flipped from Obama to Mitt Romney were
Indiana and North Carolina.
national Democratic base is solid. Obama defeated
Romney by 60,652,238-57,810,407. In 2008 he
defeated John McCain by 69,498,215-59,948,240
over. Amid a stumbling recovery from what the
Democrats portrayed as the "Bush
recession," Obama persevered. He did not
absorb voters' blame. Absent an economic
holocaust, meaning unemployment over 10 percent,
gross annual domestic product growth under 2
percent, and debt mushrooming at over $1 trillion
a year, a Democratic path to victory exists. If
the 2016 election is a "referendum" on
Obama, any Democrat other than Hillary Clinton
will be the underdog. If the election is an
incumbentless "choice" between the well
known Clinton and an untested, budget-cutting
Republican, Clinton has the edge.
are key facts going into the 2016 race:
the Democratic field is desultory and uninspiring.
The contenders are:
Patrick, the Chicago-born governor of
Massachusetts. Patrick is the hope of those who
subscribe to the notion of "nonretrogression,"
meaning that once an office is occupied by a
minority, it must forever be held by a minority.
Patrick, who is term-limited in 2014, is the only
African American on the national scene with
stature sufficient to run for president. Whether
he will be 2016's Obama is doubtful.
Biden, the vice president who was first elected as
a senator in 1972, will be age 74 in 2016. A Biden
presidential candidacy would neutralize Clinton's
"age issue" problem and present Clinton
with the perfect foil. If Biden runs, he will be
the "Obama Administration candidate,"
even if Obama does not publicly endorse him.
Clinton would then be the "outsider,"
and she could excoriate Biden for all of the
administration's flaws. That would allow Clinton
to be both the gender-change and the policy-change
candidate -- an unbeatable combination. If Biden
runs, his candidacy means "more of the
Cuomo, New York's governor and the son of Mario
Cuomo, who was the state's governor from 1982 to
1994 and whose gutlessness in 1992 allowed Clinton
to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
Elected governor in 2010, Cuomo has tried to
straddle the raise taxes/cut spending divide, and
he has not enamored himself to the party's
pro-spending/pro-taxing/liberal/minority base. He
evokes no enthusiasm.
O'Malley, Maryland's governor, is the Howard Dean
of 2016: unabashedly liberal, an enthusiastic
tax-and-spender, and an apologist for Obama. While
other governors have addressed their fiscal crises
by slashing spending, O'Malley took the easy,
politically expedient course, and raised
Maryland's already oppressive taxes. The former
head of the Democratic Governor's Association,
O'Malley has nationwide contacts. Term-limited in
2014, he will have plenty of time to campaign in
Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary
Gillibrand, New York's junior senator who was
appointed to replace Clinton in 2009. Once an
Upstate anti-gun control congresswoman, Gillibrand,
who will be a youthful age 50 in 2016, is now a
conventional, pro-Obama liberal. If Clinton
doesn't run in 2016, Gillibrand definitely will,
if only to build a base and name recognition for
2020. As the only woman in a big field of men, she
would draw well, and she would position herself
for the vice presidential nomination.
Warner, Virginia's senator and former governor
(2001 to 2005), is a mega-wealthy entrepreneur who
could be 2016's Bill Clinton. Warner's mantra is
nonpartisanship, and his theme is "bring us
together." In 1992 Bill Clinton ran as an
"electable Democrat," but in 2016, with
the liberal Obama having won twice, the liberal
and minority Democratic base will feel no
Casey, Pennsylvania's senior senator, who beat
Rick Santorum in 2006, is pro-gun rights and
pro-life -- not popular nationally, but very much
so in Pennsylvania. His father was the state's
governor from 1987 to 1995. Casey may run for
governor in 2014 against conservative Republican
incumbent Tom Corbett, who has cut spending and
entitlements. If Casey is governor, he'll be well
positioned to run for president, especially by
waiving Corbett's scalp to the liberal base.
Klobuchar, Minnesota's senior senator, is on
Obama's short list for a U.S. Supreme Court
appointment. If she doesn't get it, a presidential
run is an option.
Schweitzer, Montana's outgoing governor, could be
2016's Jimmy Carter -- an obscure westerner with
rural appeal who, if he spends months in Iowa,
could surprise in the January, 2016, caucuses.
consensus among the Democrats is that their 2016
ticket must contain a woman or an African
American. If Clinton is nominated, a
Clinton-Warner ticket is likely; Clinton-Patrick
would be problematic. If a white man is nominated,
former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who
was shot in 2010, is everybody's choice for veep.
nobody has the credibility or money to beat
Clinton for the nomination. In 2008 she beat Obama
in the Pennsylvania primary with 55 percent of the
vote, in Michigan with 55 percent, in New York
with 57 percent, and in California with 51
percent. If Clinton runs, she wins, but the Rush
Limbaugh-led conservative media machine will soon
begin churning out anti-Clinton propaganda, with
the Benghazi assassinations first up.
may win the presidency, but it will be long,
nasty, brutal campaign.