There’s been a bit too much optimism from some Democrats, as election-obsessed parties and media look toward the 2016 presidential campaign. The cause for the optimism? Three facts are consistently referenced: Obama’s massive numbers with the young, Obama’s massive numbers with Hispanics and the great popularity of Hillary Clinton.
First, though Obama won by a healthy 4%, his were not landslide numbers. Then, when you think of the Republican primary and nominee of 2012, 4% almost seems like an underwhelming number. Arguably this was one of the worst fields of candidates ever put forward by the Republicans. Remember all but one of the candidates trying to outdo the others in crafting draconian measures to deal with the so-called immigration problem that pretty much had ceased to exist? There’s no other way to say it. In a word, this was stupid. And though Hispanics are not a monolithic group, the Republicans somehow found a way to make them so. Now, we see the GOP falling all over itself welcoming immigrants. Bottom line: since there are substantial numbers within Hispanics that favor small government and more conservative values, the Republicans will most likely make a huge comeback with Hispanic vote in 2016. They don’t need to win this group, they just need not to get demolished 2012-style.
The youth vote is likely to stay with the Democrats in 2016, but possibly not in as great a number. There will be no President Obama running, the obvious catalyst for such a strong youth showing. Likewise, the Obama campaign machine will be no longer. Yes, some of its mechanisms and tacticians will still be I place, but the brand will now be different. In addition, it’s safe to say the Republicans get that they were taken to the shed with social media. This won’t happen again.
Lastly, I wonder if it really is that great a sign for the Democrats that Hillary is so popular and seemingly a slam dunk to become president in 2016. First, it is so much easier to be popular when not having to make decisions that upset voters. I don’t know the percentage, but the minute she begins campaigning is the minute her approval ratings will drop. Second, I am not so certain she is going to run. In today’s world, sixty-nine is not old. But her years as secretary of state took a physical toll on her. Running for president is the ultimate grind. Can she revitalize physically? I think the jury’s out on that question. If she does not run, the Democrats’ bench doesn’t seem very deep. Biden? Not only is he old, this is not the president. Cuomo? Republicans would love to have the poster child for polarizing liberal politics be their main contender.