To be fair to Mark Halperin, his larger point is that the 2016 election is Hillary Clinton’s to lose, which becomes clear when you see this in its full context. However, Halperin almost undoes his secondary argument — that there is potential competition for the Democratic nomination and effective talent waiting for the opportunity — by claiming that septuagenarian relics of the 1980s comprise a Democratic bench:
Eh? I didn’t quite catch that, Sonny. Who’s on the bench? The Free Beacon helps out with a few graphics:
Excluding Martin O’Malley (52 years old) and including Elizabeth Warren (65 years old), the average age of the non-Hillary bench mentioned by Halperin is a spry … seventy-one years of age. Add one or two years to that by the time the November election rolls around, and the Democratic bench (and Hillary at 69) begins to look a little like the old Soviet Politburo candidates for First Secretary after a Soviet premier caught one of their fatal colds. Stack that up against the youth movement in the GOP, especially at the gubernatorial level, and the Nostalgia Reunion Tour of Campaign 1984 and 1988 begins to look like a massive problem for the Democrats.
Warren and O’Malley don’t belong in that category, of course, having been only recently raised to the national status. But Warren isn’t tracking all that well now either — and O’Malley’s a non-starter, at least at this stage of the primary race. In a new Bloomberg Politics poll conducted by Saint Anselm College, Warren doesn’t even exceed Joe Biden levels of favorability in either the general electorate or among Democrats alone. Hillary gets a 54/42 overall and a 89/9 among Democrats, while the one-term Senator has a 40/34 and 64/14, respectively. When it comes to first choice/second choice numbers for Democratic primary voters, Hillary as second choice (17) exceeds Warren as first choice (15). O’Malley gets a 0 and 3, the same as Jim Webb. Biden gets an 8/22, a second-choice number that just misses Warren’s 23.
So no, there really isn’t much of a bench for the Democrats. It’s almost intruding on satire to suggest that Jerry Brown and John Kerry qualifies for the team, but it’s a good indication of precisely where the party stands in 2016.
Update: The Hill says a Warren campaign could split Hollywood:
Meh. They’ll turn out for the Democratic nominee, whomever it turns out to be, in the general election.
Update: In the opening paragraph, I misstated Halperin’s position by, oh 180 degrees. He’s arguing that there is effective talent, not that there’s a lack of it. I knew that and wrote the post in response to that point, but completely bungled my presentation of it. My apologies.