Some of the way, way too early 2016 speculation surrounding Hillary Clinton this month has gotten me to wondering about one of the key differences between the parties, particularly when it comes to primary races. One of the defining characteristics in Republican primary battles during the last couple of cycles has been the much maligned “push to the Right.” I’m sure you’re all familiar with it. We saw a lineup of characters on one debate stage and primary state campaign stop after another where they found themselves in a footrace to prove precisely who was the “most conservative” in an effort to wrangle the vote of the base. And there are few indications that we won’t see the same thing two years from now.
You see Candidate A take the podium, and he has a position on, for example, immigration. Perhaps he’s concerned about the cost of line to line enforcement and suggests the possibility of electronic monitoring in some areas. Candidate B immediately jumps on him and she’s got a plan to line up soldiers and agents shoulder to shoulder. Three more people try to top her and by the time it gets back to Candidate A, he’s suddenly decided that we can find the money to dig a one mile wide canal from San Benito, Texas to Imperial Beach, California, stocking it with electric eels to boot. Parallel themes can be found on many other issues of the day.
But why doesn’t this happen to the same degree with the Democrats? During the 2008 primary there were plenty of candidates, though it was really a race between Obama and Clinton pretty much from the beginning. The difference was that the two of them were so nuanced in their platforms that they were basically bringing micrometers to the debates to try to find some daylight between their positions. They mostly relied on fairly mild personal attacks on character, resumes and preparedness when they felt like throwing an elbow.
It’s not as if their base doesn’t have dreams of a far Left agenda. This piece at KOS should be a clear demonstration of that.
Why the Third Way hates Sen. Elizabeth Warren
The obsessive centrists of the punditverse were abuzz today with praise for supposed centrist Democratic organization Third Way and their grumbling op-ed condemnation of Democratic liberal populism in abstract and “economic populists” like Sen. Elizabeth Warren in particular…
It is not all that shocking that the Wall Street Way put out an editorial in the Wall Street Journal condemning attempts to point out that Wall Street has, long before the economic crisis and now long after, taken the lion’s share of America’s economic wealth and left the rest of the nation’s citizens to eek by on the increasingly meager crumbs. You form an organization made up almost entirely from wealthy Wall Street partners, ex-partners and other equity managers who don’t like the notions of regulation or taxes, that’s pretty much what you’re going to get.
There is clearly an appetite out there for a serious push to the Hard Left. So why doesn’t it manifest itself on the debate stage? If Hillary gets up there and says she’d like more taxes to curb the profits of the oil industry, shouldn’t there be somebody else like Warren pushing for more and more socialist style management, forcing Hillary to go all Chuck Schumer and demand the nationalization of the industry?
But we don’t see it. Warren is all, “I’m Ready for Hillary!” and there doesn’t seem to be any indication of other challengers to force her into increasingly outrageous positions. Why is that? Your thoughts on the subject, as always, are welcome.
Update (AP): For what it’s worth:
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren pledged today she will not run for president in 2016 and will finish her term…
“I’m not running for president and I plan to serve out my term,” she said at a press conference in Boston with Mayor-elect Marty Walsh.
When further pressed, she added: “I pledge to serve out my term.