Two things it’s never hard to find are Democrats who think the sky is falling and friends of prominent politicians who’d like their friends to run for president, and the media is doing its damnedest to turn this into a major story about the 2016 Democratic primary. The New York Times, of course, wants to be sure it’s a leader in this field, and so we get “Big-Name Plan B’s for Democrats Concerned About Hillary Clinton,” by Patrick Healy. The big names in question? Former Vice President Al Gore, who has been out of electoral politics for 15 years and shows no interest. Secretary of State John Kerry, who shows no interest. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has been extremely clear she is not running. And Vice President Joe Biden, who actually seems to be flirting with the idea.
It’s not clear who should feel more insulted by such speculation:
Clinton or Bernie Sanders. After all, the explicit idea behind all this is that if Clinton can’t get the job done, the Democratic Party needs to be rescued from Sanders.
“If party leaders see a scenario next winter where Bernie Sanders has a real chance at the Democratic nomination, I think there’s no question that leaders will reach out to Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry or even Gore about entering the primaries,” said Garnet F. Coleman, a Texas state lawmaker and Democratic national committeeman.
Because nothing says strength and democracy like a last-minute scramble to insert the nominee of party leaders’ choice. To say nothing of the logistical challenges of creating a state-by-state campaign in places where Clinton and Sanders have been organizing for months and have staff on the ground.
Healy follows the secret Times stylebook for writing about the presidential election, and Hillary Clinton in particular, by slipping in the occasional well-buried dose of reality:
Still, Mr. Biden, Mr. Kerry and Mr. Gore have lost presidential bids before and are hardly guaranteed party saviors — or more popular than Mrs. Clinton among important demographic groups like women, African-Americans and Hispanics.
Gee, you think? Here’s an idea for any Democratic Party leaders who may be indulging such thoughts and for any media outlets that think stupid speculation is more important than actual coverage of issues and campaigns as they are: Let’s let the primary play out. If Biden gets in, he gets in, and he takes his chances. If he doesn’t, Democrats have multiple choices, including one longstanding frontrunner and one unexpectedly strong challenger. The sky is not falling.