I don’t think that this Simon Rosenberg fellow is exactly surprised about this:
1/7 days out fr 1st Dem debate, still no emails, social media inviting us to watch. DNC sent me many emails asking me to watch GOP debates.
— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) October 6, 2015
…but, judging by his Twitter feed, Mr. Rosenberg seems rather determined to ignore the REASON why the DNC isn’t pushing the Democratic debates. Here is the truth of it: the Democratic party leadership would happily avoid the debates entirely if they could avoid them. And here is another truth: that’s a perfectly logical position for the Democratic party leadership to have.
The central quandary for the Democratic party – and this is something that they’re unlikely to admit anytime soon – is that they should be in a rebuilding cycle, but can’t start in on that until the President leaves office. In fact, the Democrats may end up missing the 2018 cycle at this point*. And if you don’t believe that they should be in a rebuilding cycle, let’s go look at what Alternate Universe Moe Lane is writing right now…
In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s recent misfires, let’s take a look at what options the Democrats have to replace her, shall we? Fair warning, and I can’t sugar-coat it for you: they’ve got a bench.
Governors: Always the go-to for Presidential candidates, and there’s a slate there. Obviously, Alex Sink of Florida and Tom Barrett of Wisconsin are on everybody’s short list of sitting Governors, but there’s also Chet Culver of Iowa and Dan Onorato of Pennsylvania to consider. These are all important swing states in 2016. Heck, freshman Governors Martha Coakley of Massachusetts and Anthony Brown of Maryland need to be considered, too: even if they’re not ready for the top slot as Veep either would punch the diversity tickets that the Democrats so fervently – or furtively – worship. And then there’s Ted Strickland: yes, he sensibly retired after 2014 and he’s old, but he’s also from Ohio and that matters.
Senators: This is more a Vice Presidential thing, but even if Hillary Clinton somehow survives she’ll still need someone who would give a bit more of a spark. Personally, I don’t think that Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin has a spark, but the Democratic base seems to love him and he’s younger than Bernie Sanders. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas may have lost her governor’s bid in 2014, but she’s still a good Veep pick for somebody not-Clinton. Senator Robin Carnahan – well, more accurately, her family – might actually deliver Missouri for the Democrats; at least, that’s what her people are probably arguing right now. Then there’s Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina – wow, it’s really easy to find a feminine alternative to Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket, huh? At least at the Veep level. Go figure – and, if you want to go really dark horse, then look no further than Sen.Mark Begich of Alaska and Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado. Hate to say it, but not flipping those two particular seats in 2014 was a major disappointment for us, on a night known for them.
…Whew! I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of happy to not be living in that world. My alternate me must be grimly holding on, out of sheer stubbornness and pride. Although… that world apparently has a President Barack Obama who wasn’t a ham-handed prima donna with no relevant life skills running the country, which suggests that that particular timeline might be in better economic and military shape than ours.
But I digress.
Back to the matter of the debates: the Democratic leadership doesn’t want them, because there’s no alternative to Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders is too old and he’s pretty much a Communist. Martin O’Malley has the charisma of dishwater. Nobody cares about the former Republicans; they’re almost as meaningless as Larry Lessig. And Joe Biden? …Oh, dear, please don’t nominate the only person MORE attached to the current administration than Hillary Clinton. Please. Don’t. Stop.
So why bother with debates? There is no victory condition possible for the Democrats, here. Or, more accurately, they’re trying to force a draw. A pro forma series of debates checks off the right boxes, and that’s all that matters. No rewards – but no risks, either.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: If you’re wondering how you win an election when the best you can hope for is that your party’s anointed candidate sneaks into the nomination without anybody noticing, let me assure you: you don’t.
*Although that’s speculative, and assumes that Democrats will be idiots forever. Never assume that of your political opponents. Never.