Ranking the Democrats who would be President

My post this week at Communities Digital News talks about the top five contenders for the 2016 Democratic nomination in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s State Department email issues. Here’s how I would rank them in order of their chances of winning the nomination:

  1. Clinton
  2. Vice President Joe Biden
  3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  4. Martin O’Malley
  5. Al Gore

O’Malley has been polling behind Jim Webb and Bernie Sanders, but I think he is still more likely to win the nomination. O’Malley has a very narrow path to the nomination, but as a two-term governor he has shown that he can win elections and run a government. Webb is a one-term Senator who wouldn’t have even been that if not for YouTube; Sanders is a socialist who is clearly running to push ideas. If the top five are struck by lightning, the Democratic National Committee would be more likely to draft John Kerry than let either Webb or Sanders carry the banner for a cycle.

Al Gore is dead last because he probably won’t run, though he might dance with the notion of jumping in. If he did, his age and years of media experience would probably lead him to focus on an advertising-heavy campaign, like the one Rudy Giuliani tried to run in 2008. (Fun note: If it did shake out like that, his chances could rest with Florida… again.)

One factor that clouds the potential field is that Democrats might have a tough time in 2016 no matter who the nominee is. Biden, who will be 74 on Inauguration Day 2017, probably can’t wait until 2020 – Warren, who will be 67, might be able to. Her calculated risk may be that Clinton is the inevitable nominee but a probable loser in the general election. Acting like a good soldier now may win her Clinton’s favor and help for a 2020 challenge against an incumbent Republican President.

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