Are the Democrats Beginning to Think Post-2016?

Are the Democrats Beginning to Think Post-2016?

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

So Washington got about seven plus more inches of snow on St. Patrick’s Day and Congress cleverly had already found some reason for another extended recess so they were not even in town to revel in another officially closed down day in D.C.  For all intents and purposes, however, the Capital is shut down at least until January 2015 and probably until January 2017. 

Any Democrat elected to the Senate in 2012 must be delighted that he/she does not need to face the voters again until 2018.  Most of them in fact would probably like to play Rip Van Winkle and go to sleep right now and wake up after the 2016 elections. That is how bad things are trending for Obama’s party.

Last week saw the Democrats lose a special House election in Florida which exemplifies why Washington Dems are truly in a panic mode. This swing district which had been held by Republican Bill Young until his recent passing was carried narrowly by Obama in both 2008 and 2012.  Dave Jolly, a not especially dynamic Republican candidate, defeated Alex Sink by 1.5%, with a libertarian candidate winning 5% of the vote.

For the Democrats looking to the mid-terms it was depressing news on its face, but even moreso because of the money and time invested to try to turn the seat around. The real issue is the amount of money that was expended, especially the focus of this outside support attacking which used the election to attack Obamacare. There is no way the Democrats can build a war chest to challenge the monies spent by in this special election. (Nine million was from outside groups and it is not yet broken down, but American Crossroads, for example, reported spending $500,000, while the Koch Brothers have yet to report in.) While it is early, if this special election—in terms of issues, money, and candidates—follows forms, the Democrats will have little chance to keep the Senate in 2014.

Curiously what the Democrats have not focused on—at least not publicly so far—is that while Hillary may well be the presumptive nominee—she may well once again be a sacrificial lamb in 2016, for an election that Obama and Obamacare could well lose for her.  2016 will be her turn and her last chance. At 68, if elected in 2016, she will get her shot but will have a worse time than ever imagined running out from under Obamacare, which may well need a Democratic President elected in 2016 to save it from being repealed.

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