Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Democratic Ticket

It seems from all outward appearances that the contest for leader of the free world will be between a mendacious, fabulistic, venal, incompetent, corruptocrat and a maturationally stunted, authoritarian, prevaricating, know-nothing caudillo.

But maybe not. A cloud the size of a man's hand hovers on the horizon which could bring a political hurricane.

John Fund limns the totally plausible scenario:
Smart Democrats began dusting off copies of their Plan B for the 2016 fall campaign this week. They were prompted by a devastating report from Department of Justice inspector general, who found that “significant security risks” were raised by Hillary Clinton’s decision to use a private e-mail server at the State Department. Democrats know that an FBI report, potentially even more damaging, may be leaked in the coming weeks.

Even if Hillary faces no criminal liability, she could find the number of Americans who view her as honest and trustworthy dropping below Donald Trump’s numbers.

People around her will tell you that in private if you really get them behind a closed door. I spoke to a number of top Democratic officials, and they’re terrified, including people at the White House, that her campaign is in freefall because of this distrust factor. And, indeed, Trump has a similar problem. But she’s the one whose numbers are going south. “Trump lies about his businesses and changes with the wind,” one former Democratic senator told me. “But if Hillary is found to have compromised national security, that will be viewed as more relevant to the job of president.”

Democrats will carefully watch the polls in the next few weeks. If Hillary stays slightly ahead of Trump or is competitive, she will become the Democratic nominee at the Philadelphia convention. But if her numbers slide, watch for super-delegates now in her camp to consider the possibility of substituting Vice President Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate — with the possible addition of Senator Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, as political balm for the party’s not nominating a woman for president.
But what about Senator Bernie Sanders who seems to have sucked up almost all the energy in the Democratic primaries?
If Democratic delegates decide that Hillary is too much of a political liability to nominate, don’t expect them to turn to Bernie Sanders. Despite polls showing him with a bigger lead over Trump than Hillary has, few prominent Democrats believe that Sanders could survive sustained attacks on his record as a self-proclaimed “socialist.”

That’s where Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren would come in. Biden would be sold as a steady hand who would energize President Obama’s supporters, and Warren would be pitched to delegates as someone who could keep Sanders progressives on board. “The implication would be that, at age 74, Biden might serve only one term and Warren would be a natural successor,’ a former Democratic congressman told me.
Hillary operatives and supporters are not ready to bail just yet and many of them are saying for public consumption that her legal problems are just so much ado about nothing. But, according to Fund, that's not what they're saying in private:
They know that the inspector general’s report is a preview of coming revelations in the upcoming FBI report, and they are laying the groundwork to implement Plan B if they think it will be necessary.
Biden and Warren have both insisted they aren't interested, but if Hillary's numbers against Trump continue to slide, and both of the old warhorses know that the grueling primaries are over, they could surely be persuaded for the good of the party, and country, and history, and all that, to run.

Trump could probably beat Hillary (or Sanders), but it's not so clear that he could beat a Biden/Warren ticket. A lot of Democrats are probably hoping with all their might that such a race materializes.