Hillary Clinton’s been unemployed for a little less than a week, and I’ve already read about a million articles anointing her the next President of the Unites States. Here’s the thing though, she won’t be. That’s not a slight against her personally (I supported her in 2008 – for the record). The reasons she won’t have little to do with her and have even less to do with her politics.
There’s no questioning her credentials. She would probably be one of the most qualified candidates to ever run, she’s tremendously popular (her favorability rating only trail, her beau, Bill and first lady Michelle Obama) and she’s a damn good politician, but none of that really matters. Here’s five reason she won’t be the President in 2016.
This is very superficial but very much a factor in Presidential elections. In 2016, Hillary will be 69 years old, which would make her the second oldest non-incumbent President ever elected. That’s twenty-two years older than Obama, fifteen years older than Bush 43, twenty-three years older than Bill and five years older than Bush 41 when they each, respectively, took office. Ronald Reagan was the oldest President to be elected (also at 69), but while deemed a successful President, he was dogged by rumors about his age, his slipping mental health and eventually entered the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s in his second term (not a good precedent).
Next in Line
While being “next in line” seems like a good thing, it’s not, especially if you plan on running as a Democrat. No “next in line” non-incumbent Democrat has won the presidency in the post FDR era. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and JFK, were all considered Washington “outsiders”, who all ran on the same idea. Change. Furthermore, experience is often an important indicator of who will not win as a Democratic Nominee. Democratic “next in line” candidates with strong quantifications have a remarkably terrible record in national elections (see: Al Gore, Walter Mondale or Adlai Stevenson II).
As of this exact moment, Hillary’s number one threat for the Democratic spot on the ticket is Andrew Cuomo. The New York Governor who formerly served in the original Clinton administration already has a Presidential buzz following him. He’s a favorite among liberals, beating President Obama to the punch on same-sex marriage, gun control and tax reform. He received positive national attention for his handling of Hurricane Sandy. He’s younger than Hillary, he’s from a popular Democratic legacy (albeit not as popular as the Clinton legacy, but still) and would no doubt be organized and well funded for a Presidential campaign.
The Republicans – Christie, Rubio, Ryan, Bush, Jindel and Super Dark House Petraeus
There’s been a lot made about the changing demographics of America and “the death” of the Republican Party. To borrow a phrase from Joe Biden, that’s all a bunch of malarkey. The truth is presidential primaries are very much like NBA drafts. Some years are full of duds, some years are filled with studs, The last two Republican primaries have been very much of the dud variety, so much so, that Herman Cain was, for a moment, the front runner in 2012 and that Sarah Palin was second on the ticket in 2008. That’s not good. The 2016 crop of potential candidates have the potential to be extremely strong. To be honest, I think it’s really only a two man race, but some other names have to be given some respect. First off, Bobby Jindel aka “the Indian Kenneth the Page” won’t win, but is definitely emerging as a party leader. Paul Ryan is a tea party favorite and a good campaigner, but will probably be sunk by his association with Mitt Romney. Jeb Bush is also being bandied as a possible 2016er, and even though a Clinton-Bush grudge match would be highly entertaining, being the brother and son of two unpopular Presidents is not going to do him any favors. That leaves two heavyweight candidates, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. Rubio is sort of the Republican version of Barack Obama, a young minority change candidate, who is a strong communicator and extremely likable. Christie is sort of a William Taft candidate, considering he’ll probably need a customized bath tube in White House. Also, it’s worth mentioning Gen. David Petraeus as a super dark horse, even though he says he has no political aspirations and he ended his career in controversy, he’d definitely be a force if he decided to run and, if the Clintons taught us anything, it’s infidelity is no deal breaker when it comes to politics.
More often than not Presidential elections are a referendum on the last President’s popularity. McCain was sunk by Dubya’s incompetence. Gore was hurt by Bill’s inability to keep it in his pants. Bush 41 was buoyed by the overwhelming popularity of Reagan. The Nixon scandals torpedoed Ford in ’76. The LBJ policy in Vietnam did nothing to help Huhphrey in ’68. Basically, what I’m saying is Obama holds a major responsibility in getting Hillary (or any other Democrat) elected in 2016. If he slips up in his second term, it could spell doom for a potential Hillary Presidency.