It’s in Hillary Clinton’s interest to get a viable nomination challenger


You see? I too can check my BlackBerry in a cool sort of way.

Well, viable. What does that mean? Hillary Clinton is not going to lose the Democratic nomination this time so “viable” apparently means someone who can stand on the stage with her so voters pay some attention to the nomination process.

Politics is theatre and lack of competition, any competition, is not good box office.

Even aside from a challenge from the left to make Hillary talk about the kinds of things her Wall Street backers won’t appreciate, there is the issue of a good show, something the Democratic Party should care about.

So who are we talking about?

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, former Virginia senator Jim Webb, and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders — the trio who have shown the greatest interest in mounting a challenge to Clinton — face a steep path, Democratic operatives say, while the two most famous names mentioned as potential challengers — Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — seem increasingly far from running.

Lincoln Chafee, the former Rhode Island senator and governor, emerged in the last few days to stake a possible claim to be the Clinton alternative, raising Warren-like concerns about Clinton’s closeness to Wall Street. But he’s a maverick whose shift from Republican to independent to Democrat is unlikely to excite the progressive base.

[ . . . ]

Nonetheless, Clinton aides point to O’Malley as the most viable alternative candidate, believing he will eventually pick up support from many of the liberal activists currently urging Warren to run. The silver lining in his low name recognition is that he has an opportunity to introduce himself to the American people on his own terms.

Okay, it’s O’Malley, whom I suspect is being pressured to run even from those who want Hillary to win. Is it really a bad thing for Clinton to gently beat back a challenge from the left to show moderate voters she’s a serious person, not at all a flaky lefty? And are so-called progressive voters, such as they are, really going to abandon her in November of 2016? Don’t think so.

Again, the Democratic Party, and Clinton’s campaign, should be thinking about how to keep interest high, and how not to cede all the media coverage over the next year to the crazy goings on that will characterize the Republican primary process.

Isn’t that the important thing?

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