The field of potential conservative
Republican candidates for the 2016
presidential nomination is already quite large. Since President Obama will be term-limited, the Democratic field will also be open and very competitive. Let’s take a look at some of the potential candidates for the Democratic side, and look at what challenges each may pose to the Republican field.
The First Lady-turned US Senator-turned-Secretary of State is the most frequently mentioned possible candidate for Democrats in 2016. She would be 69 years old in 2016, the same as Ronald Reagan
when he won in 1980. Unfortunately for conservatives, that would be the only thing the two would have in common. She hasn’t done much to shoot down speculation that she plans to run and many feel the gig would be hers if she did. But then, she was also supposed to have the nomination in the bag in 2008, too. And there is more than one potential candidate with similar "resumes" to what Obama had when he successfully ran for president.
Vice-Presidents are typically shoe-ins for their party’s next nomination should they seek it. Biden would be 74 if he won the presidency in 2016. While he did not fare well in the 2008 nominating contest, he was selected as Obama’s running-mate allegedly for his foreign policy “expertise.” As VP, he has mainly been tossed busy-work nuggets like heading Obama’s multiple and little-accomplished “task forces” on everything from stimulus spending to gun control. He’s more gaffe-tastic than Dan Quayle at a potato factory, but he has escaped the ridicule enjoyed by his Republican predecessors. I’d say that Biden might not fare well running on a continuation of Obama’s policies, but then, the new normal is lowered expectations.
Corey Booker has the best chance to make a run for the White House in the same way Obama did. Like Obama, Booker was raised in a mostly well-to-do family, attended the best schools and universities, graduated from law school, and immediately became involved in politics. He is much more experienced than Obama in the sense that at least he was a mayor of a city. (And luckily, his name isn’t Sarah Palin, because being a mayor would be a hysterical joke!). Other than that, the resume is thin, but that's a plus these days. Also like Obama, Booker seems poised to run for the US Senate in 2014, bypassing an uphill battle against Chris Christie
for Governor in 2013. He would be a relative shoe-in for the Senate, and he then could launch a bid for president no sooner than his foot entering the Senate chambers, much in the same fashion as Obama.
Perhaps the most experienced of the potential field, Andrew Cuomo served as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Bill Clinton and as New York Attorney General before being elected Governor of New York. His executive experience in New York and political pedigree would typically be enough to make him a frontrunner for a presidential nomination, but Cuomo will likely wind up on the short end of the diversity stick in a party that seems to value racial and gender identity politics over all else.
Antonio Villaraigosa has one of the longer political resumes of the potential 2016 Democratic field and has been mayor of Los Angeles since 2005. If he runs for president, he would be a clear dark horse. While Latino’s are a huge constituency for Democrats, Villaraigosa probably doesn’t have the sex appeal or charisma to put him to the top of the field. A marriage-ending affair, leadership in a race-based and controversial Latino group MEChA, and the inability to pass the California Bar would likely not be
a hindrance to any Democrat’s presidential run, but Villaraigosa is probably just missing the “it” factor.
Julian Castro might mimic Barack Obama’s political path more than any other candidate. A young politician – and I am sure the media would add “gifted orator” and “statesman” and “charismatic” and so on – Castro hopped straight from the Ivy Leagues to local government and then to mayor of San Antonio, Texas in 2009. He is running for re-election in 2013, and will likely win. Castro was also given the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic Convention (Obama gave the keynote in 2004). Though Castro would barely be in his 40's in 2016, his other options for political office might start to slim out if he doesn't make the leap. Being in Texas doesn’t help his chances for either a Governor or Senate run, and he probably wouldn’t want to run in a statewide race he might lose. So heck, why not run for president? Experience isn’t a factor, as we all know. And actually, the less experience one has the less one can be criticized on and the less of a record to distort (see: Mitt Romney). Not that the media would bother to look anyway, of course. Either way, race and youth matter in Democratic politics, and, perhaps, more-so than anything.