Politics / Other
Let me preface these Democrat Primaries 2016 Presidential Power Rankings by saying I am not Charlie Cook. My power rankings are not based on any science or historical trends; they are simply a fun exercise to gauge the lay of the land and read the political tea leaves – if you disagree let me hear what you think…I love reading comments (even mean and nasty ones) since they provide the occasional insight and sometimes even a good hearty chuckle. Any events, interviews, performances in debates, campaign strategies, media attention, momentum, polling data (you get the idea) of the negative and/or positive variety will obviously have an impact.
I will update these rankings every few weeks.
Tier One – The Hillary Division
1. Hillary Clinton (Former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State)
Hillary is pretty much a lock to win the nomination for the Democrats. Barring some unforeseen health episode or awful scandal she will win the Democratic nomination and likely the White House. Hillary has a lot of points in her favor as she begins her second presidential bid. First, she is a woman with a chance to become the first female president in the history of the U.S. Second, she has a strong political background and her party leaders love her. If the Democrats had a second viable candidate I think she would be vulnerable; however, Bernie Sanders is her toughest competition. Don’t get me wrong Bernie is an intriguing candidate but he is the Ron Paul of Democrats – he has ardent supporters but they aren’t numerous enough to really take down the establishment.
Tier Two – Can MAYBE Make Hillary Break a Sweat
2. Bernie Sanders (Senator – Vermont)
Sanders is performing great in the polls thus far. He is drawing large crowds at his events. Perhaps most importantly, he has proven that he has the potential to actually do a decent job with fundraising. However, he isn’t really a “Democrat” since he brands himself an independent/socialist that caucuses with the Democrats in the U.S. Senate. He is probably a little too extreme to be a serious threat. That being said he will likely last a while in the primary process since his supporters are very loyal and numerous enough to keep him going until Hillary gets all the points needed to secure the nomination.
3. Joe Biden (Current Vice President)
Our current Vice President could make things interesting if he decides to run. I don’t think he has the staying power or national fan base to dethrone Hillary. However, he has the name recognition and resume that he could take the #1 position if Hillary has some scandal or gaff derail her campaign. The fact that Biden isn’t atop this list shows how invisible he has been as VP (which is a good thing IMO – see Cheney, Dick). The last VP to become President was George H. W. Bush, I don’t see Biden sitting in the Oval Office…but stranger things have happened.
Tier Four – Everyone Else
4. Martin O’Malley (Former Governor – Maryland)
O’Malley is energetic and was a fairly well liked governor. He has a strong liberal record to campaign on and can run on the improvements that took place in his state in education while he was at the helm. The downside for O’Malley is that he is pretty much unknown nationally, obviously that will change during the primary and debate process but it puts him at a disadvantage. O’Malley and the two guys below him on this list are really just campaigning to be Hillary’s VP nomination. I give him the slight edge over the other two – though Webb is close on his tail, and may in fact pass him in the coming weeks.
5. Jim Webb (Former Senator – Virginia)
Webb may be the best VP choice for Hillary. I have him below O’Malley currently because I think O’Malley will perform better in the debates and come across as an energetic youthful counter choice to the aged Hillary. Webb is fairly moderate (which may help with independents) and isn’t the best motivational speaker – so those strikes are against him from the Democrats perspective. However, once Hillary locks up the nomination and moves to nominate a VP, I think Webb would be a smart choice. The reason behind that is that Webb would really boost Hillary’s chances of keeping Virginia blue. I don’t really believe that a VP wins or loses the top name on the ticket a state but I think – in what will be a very tight race – every vote counts. Virginia may be decided by 1,000 votes – stay tuned.
6. Lincoln Chafee (Former Governor – Rhode Island)
I don’t really have a lot to say about Chafee…so I will keep his section brief. He is only on this list because he has announced. He left office as a pretty unpopular governor and has no national name recognition. But he is a name and a warm body – something the Democrats are in desperate need of after Hillary.