Columns

Gonzales ’18: With snow, your 2016 presidential forecast

By
Opinions Columnist
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Much like our midterms, finals and course papers, the upcoming presidential campaign looms in the back of our minds. We prepare for a presumably clear-cut Democratic primary and a heavily contested Republican one. As a proud and openly secular liberal institution of higher learning, most members of the Brown community will undoubtedly throw their support towards the left.

Unlike the two previous presidential elections, there is no longer an ideological and oratorically skilled Barack Obama brilliantly blazing the campaign trail. Instead, we Democrats have the more realistic and policy-driven Hillary Clinton. In addition to the absence of Obama’s campaign energy and crowd-exciting speeches, Democrats face still more obstacles: Let us not forget the Republican resurgence and the American people’s frustration.

In the 2014 midterm elections, the Republicans gained nine Senate seats to bring their total to 54 and leave the Democrats with 44. Republicans also picked up 16 House seats, capturing 247 in all to the Democrats’ 188. By giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress, the American people have delivered a clear message: They are not happy with the lack of progress in Washington, and they are pinning government shortcomings on those in charge of D.C. operations, namely the Obama administration.

In previous years, the Senate has often been the platform for the minority party to resist legislation proposed by the majority party. In order to stop Democratic agendas, Republicans have often used the filibuster and their votes in the Senate to block legislation from the left. Effectively, the Republicans had become the “party of no,” before gaining control of the Senate in November’s elections.

Now it’s the Democrats turn to say no, seen in the most recent filibuster of Republican-endorsed funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The overall strategy is to undermine the majority party by turning down proposed bills in order to make the controlling party appear inadequate and incapable of any forward movement.

Democrats, for the next two years, will need to rely heavily upon close scrutiny of actions taken by the Republican-controlled 114th Congress. If Senate Democrats successfully employ the Republicans’ nay-saying strategy while Obama continues his adept use of executive power, they may very well regain control of Congress and retain their ownership of the White House in 2016.

Regardless of party tactics, the 2016 White House race will be a close one, especially since Republicans have the upper hand in Congress. But should Clinton decide to enter the race, the Democrats will have a decisive primary season advantage with an unsaturated candidate pool, allowing more time for policy pre for the general election. Whereas the Republicans have several potential presidential candidates — including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — the Democrats have few candidates lining up to seek the Oval Office. In fact, there are almost no signs of any serious Democratic challengers to Clinton, which, if she decides not to run, could prove disastrous for every member of the party and force it to scramble to find a suitable nominee.

To understand the Democratic primary, we must first look at those qualified to run. So far, the only candidate who has actively pursued interest in challenging Clinton is former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a former Hillary supporter who is currently engaged in fundraising for a presidential bid. The only other two possible contenders would be Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who has adamantly denied any interest in the position. Sanders has said he will decide whether to run by March.

Thus, Clinton remains the Democratic favorite for the position and is surely most qualified to be president. She holds a resume that includes U.S. Senator, First Lady and Secretary of State. In addition to her personal successes, there is also an irresistible nostalgia for the presidency of Bill Clinton, whom Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., described as having presided over “the biggest expansion of the American economy since World War II.”

To look on the bright side, despite the fact Hillary has not made a formal announcement, she has been busy forging a formidable campaign team that would dwarf that of any potential Republican nominee in terms of experience and prestige. She seems to have already chosen “a campaign chairman, a campaign manager, a chief strategist and lead pollster, another pollster, a lead media adviser, a communication director, a deputy communications director, a focus group director and a communications strategist,” according to a Feb. 6 Washington Post article. Many advisors who led Obama to defeat Clinton in 2008 now support her 2016 run. Jim Messina, a senior aid to Obama’s campaign in 2012, told the Post, “It’s her turn and her time.”

In order to avoid the feeling of an incumbency run or a third-term election, Clinton and her advisors have developed a strategy to separate her from the policies of the Obama administration. She will purportedly do so, the Post article continues, by showcasing a “more populist and ‘base-friendly’ domestic-policy ideas in the absence of strong primary opposition”.

What does this mean for us Democrats? A traditional centrist, Clinton will be taking more left-leaning policy positions in order to secure votes from her base supporters while maintaining her apt ability to negotiate and compromise  — skills that have been absent from Washington for nearly 16 years. As self-described progressives, Brown students will finally have a candidate that is the best of both worlds — a female president holding progressive values who has the connections and charisma to get the job done. The 2016 election may indeed be a turning point in 21st century American politics, and we may once again see our country move forward in a positive way.


Graham Gonzales ’18 is a political science and economics double concentrator.

One Comment

  1. Howard Sachs says:

    Please at least share with Graham: Thanks HS

    Guest OPED: Don’t Be So Proud of Your “Liberal Leftism Graham”

    Re:

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2015/02/10/gonzales-18-snow-2016-presidential-forecast/

    From:
    Howard Sachs- interested reader
    Washington
    DC
    hasachs@starpower.net
    Date
    2/9/2015

    Thanks
    for sharing your interesting ideas. I respond with respect.

    It
    funny how human nature never changes. You talk about the beauty of your value
    system- secular, liberal, Democrat Party leftism. When I was in college decades
    ago I felt the same way. But the majority of people like you and me who leave
    the sheltered world of college and get married and go out and try to work and
    build a life with a wife and kids, a job and lots of responsibilities, come to
    realize soon how unkind, illiberal and harmful those values are. After college,
    when some experience and wisdom is accumulated most realize how incredibly wise
    were the founders of America to give us a value system called Americanism. Then
    we embrace, idealism , goodness, freedom and kindness. Then we reject the
    unkindness and destructiveness of utopian Leftism with its top -down,
    degrading, emasculating, spirit crushing, big Government control over our
    lives.

    Your world of Leftsim is a world of childhood, centered in the large all
    encompassing State. It is very alluring because it speaks to the child in all
    of us- “Mommy and Daddy in Washington, take care of us, show us the way,
    feed and cloth us and give us the healthcare we are entitled to.”.
    It’s why it’s so attractive to the young in college still with one foot in boyhood
    and the other in manhood. It’s why it’s so attractive to the college Professor
    who though biologically old never leaves the world of lecturing to teenagers.

    Leftism has swept across America from the Progressives of Wilson and FDR
    now to the most radical incarnation in Mr. Obama. And if we don’t grow up and
    regain our manliness, wisdom and strength as free Americans, and reject
    this toxic value system, we are doomed to what history replays over and over-
    the inevitable slide into the human indignity of poverty, joblessness, tyranny
    and oppression. Leftism is a regressive, old, worn and disproven value
    system Graham. It has nothing to do with liberalism- freedom, wealth creation,
    respect for the individual, respect for private property, for our Constitution,
    separation of powers and republicanism, for a small limited government and a
    Big free citizen- these are American values.

    And
    where are getting close to the brink, Graham. When you walk away from your lush
    college greens, cushy dorms, mostly foolish professors, and state of the art
    college gyms, you will face a very powerful and demanding Mommy and Daddy State
    brought to you by Leftism and its current minions of Obama, Sharpton, Pelosi
    and Reid. Millions of government workers who don’t know you from Adam and could
    care not one whit about your unique character or desires will come at you fast
    and furious, armed with millions of pages of laws. And they will do very
    controlling and nasty things to you in every part of your life. Those very strict
    and demanding Washington Mommies and Daddies will reach into your pocket and
    tell you how much money you may keep because they, the enlightened ones, know
    better than you what to do with it. They will come into every room of your
    home, your office, your cars , your energy supply areas, leisure areas, food
    stores, doctors offices, hospitals, schools and jobs and command you to do
    their will- for they are the enlightened. Mr. Obama said it this week-
    “Government is us.” Frightening words from an American President.

    And
    to top it all off Graham, this Leftist utopianism has now brought America to
    the brink of bankruptcy as our enlightened in Washington print ,borrow and
    unconstitutionally command every more money from us all. We face a cosmic
    sized debt and our “children-men” at college armed with the vote shout- “more ,
    more, more free stuff Mommy and Daddy Government. We have rights. We are human.
    How about free community college for the freebie of the week?” But remember
    Graham, Government has zero dollars, nada, 0.0, so when you shout “give
    me more free stuff” you are acting like some spoiled kid because you are
    demanding your neighbor go out and work and bring you those free goodies. And
    as Leftism drains our wealth there are fewer and fewer neighbors there to go
    out and work for you. And the ironic thing about it all is that you
    college students who cheer on all this Marxist waste will be left holding the
    bag. Holding that massive bag has real meaning. You’re going to have to
    pay it all back over your whole life. Take a look at those paychecks 10 years
    from now with the 60 or 70% reductions for taxes to feed the gargantuan Leftist
    State.

    Graham,
    I know it sure sounds nice at this stage of life, the “Hope and Change”
    thing, the “fundamentally transforming America thing”, the “soak the rich
    trope.”. I was a sucker for it when young. It’s alluring and natural but it’s
    brought America now to its inevitable edge of the cliff. I hope you and
    your fellow young people grow up as soon as possible and embrace the great
    strong and liberal values of Americanism, because with a couple more
    steps and America, the most exceptional value system and country human history
    has known will be gone.

    Step
    out of the Leftist narrow intellectual bubble of college. Check out
    things like Prager University and its 5 minute “courses”. Start
    with a few listed below like Big Government, The American Trinity, the Myths
    about Capitalism. Read Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny, Prager’s
    Still the Best Hope, Why The World Needs American Values,
    Friedman’s Free to Choose, Spalding’s We Still Hold These
    Truths, and any essay on the web by the great Tom Sowell or
    Victor Hansen. Listen to great talk radio of Dennis Prager or Mark
    Levin. That would be a start to Americanism, wisdom, strength and maturity.

    Take
    care: HS

    PRAGER
    UNIVERSITY BASICS

    5
    minutes: Big Government/ Small citizen

    http://www.prageruniversity.com/Political-Science/Bigger-Government-Smaller-Citizen.html#.VCw8PSg2VS8

    5
    minutes: Prager: The core of the American value system: Its trinity

    http://www.prageruniversity.com/Political-Science/The-American-Trinity-2nd-Edition.html#.UmkfrihQNS8

    5
    minutes : Government and Character:

    http://www.prageruniversity.com/Political-Science/The-Government-vs-the-American-Character.html#.U9EoASg2VS8

    5
    minutes: What matters most in life- Values
    http://www.prageruniversity.com/Life-Studies/What-Matters-Most-in-Life.html#.VBG9gyg2VS8

    5
    minutes The Myths and Lies about Capitalism

    ww.prageruniversity.com/Economics/Myths-Lies-and-Capitalism.html

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