But there are several Democrats out there who could not only provide Clinton some competition but also do themselves a lot of career good in the process. Many presidential candidates — even the ones who never had a chance — come out of a campaign ahead of where they were before. Name recognition, influence within the party, the ability to make money —they end up in better shape than they began. The benefit could be a more prominent media presence — ask Mike Huckabee about that — or more post-campaign business opportunities. And if Hillary does indeed win the nomination, one of the challengers just might end up being her vice presidential pick. A campaign, provided it doesn’t get too nasty or too personal, is a good way to audition for that.

Recently I asked a few political professionals, Democrat and Republican, to come up with the names of Democrats, in office and out, who could do themselves some good by running. And whatever benefit the candidates might reap from it, the Democratic Party will likely reap much more by having a competitive process that yields a stronger nominee. The list: