Now that the 2018 elections are history, a field of Democrats is coming out with an array of wannabe candidates, all hoping they can upset Donald J. Trump. There may even be a couple of Republicans that will throw their hat in the ring, but unseating a sitting president from a second term, within party, is rare, unless we see a third-party candidate with enough draw to cause an upset, a la Ross Perot in 1992.
Regardless, this leaves potential voters with an arduous two-year future of news cycles and pundits working hard to convince us all who should be the next president. The Democratic field is wide open with at least seventeen national figures that are expected to give it a run, a handful of whom may have a slight chance of becoming a nominee, as per numerous pundits, newspaper articles and surveys in the last six months.
The obvious begins with Hillary Clinton, who is seemingly obsessed with that elusive moniker“first woman president” that she covets so much. As an odds maker, I’d give her 100 to one. Her time is up.
John Kerry, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, though laden with government experience, have two major strikes against them, starting with age: 74, 77 and 76, respectively, which would bring them into their 80s during their term if elected. Secondly, they are all white males, which is the newest cross to bear in American politics.
Democrats, in particular, are much more inclined toward identity politics, meaning it’s a good year for race, gender and sexual orientation to play a major role in selecting a candidate. If so, that would eliminate other white males, regardless of talent, such as Sen. Chris Murphy (Connecticut), Gov. Terry McCauliffe (Virginia), Gov. Andrew Cuomo (New York), Sen. Sherrod Brown, (Ohio), Gov. Steve Bullock, (Montana) and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Same with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and new phenomenon, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
Among women, front runners appear to be Sen Elizabeth Warren, (Massachusetts), Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand, (New York), who are white, plus Sen. Kamala Harris (California) and entertainment tycoon Oprah Winfrey, a very powerful and popular black woman.
That leaves three men of color: Sen. Cory Booker, (New Jersey); former Gov. Deval Patrick (Massachusetts ) and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
None of them. The real power is quietly lurking behind the scenes waiting for the right moment to declare candidacy, one who could blow away the field and sail into a nomination. Not one of these 17, other than Oprah, has the power to win. Oprah, I suspect, really is not interested.
The answer is Michelle Obama. With a Law degree, female and black, and a popular first lady as her credentials, plus a Trump hating media who will likely fawn over her as a bright star, all the bases are covered. The Democratic Party will see that as a slam dunk, especially when she starts raising money. No one can say anything negative about her because she hasn’t done anything in a political role, right or wrong.
In reality, Michelle Obama’s reign would be imbued with presidential power from her husband, former President Barack Obama, who, in fact, would be awarded a de facto third term. Why else are we seeing Michelle and the ex-president continuing on with appearances in the public arena? Her book is written. It’s all about preparation.
The precedent for bypassing term limits has already been set. In 1968, George Wallace was outgoing governor of Alabama facing the end of his term limit. So, he offered his wife, Lurline, with no experience as a political leader, as candidate for governor. The people of Alabama wanted Wallace retained as governor. Lurleen Wallace, a neophyte, defeated four candidates, including two former governors, elected as proxy for her husband’s second term. She was governor in name only.
Barack Obama remains a young man with a mission. Michelle can make that happen.