Time magazine’s cover this week asks, “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?” The answer to that question is yes, but you’d never know it judging by the overwhelming belief among Democratic insiders that the party’s 2016 presidential nomination is simply Hillary Clinton’s for the asking.
For all her popularity among party power brokers, the sense of invincibility that currently surrounds Clinton reflects a kind of suspension of disbelief by Democrats that a more detached reckoning should dispel.
That faith in Clinton’s prospective candidacy was evident earlier this month when YouGov, the non-partisan Internet polling company, asked 100 Democratic operatives and activists as part of a year-in-review survey to weigh in on whether the party’s potential 2016 contenders, “regardless of who might be the frontrunners right now” had mostly helped or hurt their chances for a successful White House run. (I helped conduct the survey.)
Not surprisingly, a whopping 78 percent of the Democratic insiders said that Clinton had mostly helped her chances. The runner-up to Clinton in this assessment was Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: 42 percent of the insiders said she had mostly helped herself. Only 30 percent said that Vice President Joe Biden had improved his odds of stepping up to the top job, while 61 percent said that his efforts to date had neither helped nor hurt his chances, or did “some of both.”
But if you look closely at the kind of year Clinton had in 2013, isn’t it more reasonable to say that although she remains the frontrunner to lead the Democrats in 2016, she hasn’t done much lately to advance her cause? Indeed, a few potential vulnerabilities have come into sharper focus that should cause Democrats to ease up on their embrace of Hillary.