As with any Klein post, there is much to pick apart but let’s start with his main contention:
Perhaps a slightly clearer way to put it is this: in the invisible primary, when the contest is as much a draft as it is a campaign, Clinton is “opposed” by essentially every Democrat fit for the presidency. If the party’s powerbrokers didn’t want to support Clinton and instead really wanted Sen. Michael Bennet to run, or Gov. Andrew Cuomo to lead the field, they would be working toward that outcome. Instead, they’re lining up behind Clinton. In this telling, Clinton isn’t winning by default. She’s winning by winning. The absence of competition is the product of Clinton’s strong, successful campaign to win over Democratic Party elites.
He’s essentially praising the Republican model of the past several decades: hang around a long time and accumulate backing because the power-brokers think you deserve the nomination. Oddly enough, if Hillary is the nominee her best chance of winning is if the GOP sticks to that same formula.
Klein also swears that the Democrats really do have a host of viable candidates that constitute a real bench, but they’re all too afraid to run because Hillary is oozing raw electoral power.
Yes, he probably gets drunk before work.
The point isn’t that any of these candidates will run. The point is that they could run, and they would be, in theory, at least as credible as a Scott Walker or a Jeb Bush. They may not seem like presidential contenders now, but as Bernstein writes, “the way those solid politicians become Serious Presidential Candidates and not just random governors and senators — I’m talking here about folks such as Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Bobby Jindal — is to start running, and visibly enough so the press notices. ”
Which is all to say that Bernstein is right: the Democratic Party has a bench. It’s just that Clinton is running so strongly in the invisible primary that no one on it thinks it’s worth getting in the game.
Translating from the Voxian:
“You see, kids, Hillary is winning an invisible primary full of potential candidates who theoretically could run and never mind that none of them have expressed any interest because OH JUST SHUT UP SHE’S AWESOME!”
Klein gives himself an out at the end and questions whether Hillary will do well in the visible primary, which is the real point. We all remember how well the last primary went for her. By the way, the “inevitable” talk was just as strong then.
The real Democratic bench consists of Martin O’Malley, who is tanned, rested and ready, but almost no one outside of hard core political junkies and Maryland has heard of him. He is the one who looks like he’d love to jump in should Hillary opt to be a full-time grandma. Beyond that, they have a woman who is almost Hillary’s age (Elizabeth Warren), and a mental outpatient who is five years older than Hillary (Joe Biden).
Maybe Klein’s real motive here was merely to deflect from Hillary’s bad week or the fact that the Democrat bench is flanked by coolers of Geritol.
Maybe he really is drunk.