We keep hearing from the mainstream media about the Republican party’s alleged “deep bench” of contenders who are vying for the Presidency in the 2016. In reality, the GOP Presidential field resembles the motley crew found in the bar room scene in the original Star Wars movie that was shot in 1977. One can find a deep bench of Presidential contenders over on the Democratic side. All of our candidates are serious people with very genuine accomplishments. Anyone of them could be a successful nominee and President.
The front runner and prohibitive favorite to win both the nomination and the Presidency is Hillary Clinton. She brings to the table a wealth of experience and a whole host of accomplishments as First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. Clinton has one of the most impressive resumes of any Presidential contender in American history.
As First Lady for Bill Clinton, she played an instrumental role in the passage of SCHIP legislation which provided health insurance to 6 million children. When Clinton served as Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term, she led the way in establishing the tough international sanctions against Iran that led to the recently signed nuclear agreement which will for the first time ever place limits on that country’s nuclear program. Moreover, Clinton rebuilt America’s relations with our allies around the world after they were torn asunder during the Bush Presidency.
Due to Clinton’s accomplishments and front runner status in head to head matchups with all of the GOP candidates, the Republicans (and the mainstream press) have cooked up a bogus scandal relying upon on all kinds of speculation and innuendo regarding the private email server that Clinton used as Secretary of State. What we do know for sure is that there is no evidence that Clinton violated any law or State Department regulation in her use of a private email server. Moreover, there is no proof that she knowingly sent any previously classified information to anyone at any time. There is also no evidence whatsoever that any national security breach occurred in her private email server.
What hasn’t been discussed by the GOP and the mainstream press is that Colin Powell used a private email account to conduct official business when he was Secretary of State in the Bush Administration. In addition, there has been almost no mention of the fact that Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee all used private email accounts to conduct government business when they were in public service. Where is the outrage from the press and the GOP about this? Why the double standard?
At the present time, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has posed the most serious challenge to Clinton’s front runner status. Sanders’ populist message confronting the political and economic power of the top 1% has resonated with Democratic voters and attracted huge crowds to his rallies. I would recommend to anybody who has a social media account to follow Senator Sanders. On a daily basis, Sanders comes out with a powerful message regarding the trend of growing inequality in the U.S. That message has allowed him to close the gap with Clinton in New Hampshire and to actually lead her in one poll in the Granite state.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has also come out with a strong message. For example, he recently came out with an innovative proposal to expand Social Security benefits. Governor O’Malley is no stranger to Nebraska Democrats. He addressed the Nebraska Democratic Party’s Morrison-Exon dinner in 2014 and he will be returning to Omaha in October to headline our Omaha’s Finest fundraiser. He will be the first Democratic Presidential candidate to campaign in Nebraska. We will provide the details once they are available.
O’Malley isn’t the only Democratic Presidential candidate who has come to Nebraska. In 2012, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb was the featured speaker at the Morrison-Exon dinner. Senator Webb is a distinguished American who served in combat in Vietnam and is a prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction books. Webb’s 2008 book “A Time To Fight” was one of the first works that recognized the troubling trends of rising inequality and mass incarceration in America. Despite his strong record as a combat veteran, Secretary of the Navy and U.S. Senator, Webb is a long shot contender.
Former Rhode Island Governor and U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee is also a heavy underdog who is given little chance to win the nomination. Chafee was the only Republican who voted against the Iraq war resolution in 2002. (Since then, Chafee has switched his party registration. We Democrats are accepting converts. In contrast, the GOP is purging heretics.) As Governor of Rhode Island, Chafee pushed through measures legalizing marriage equality and allowing aspiring Americans to pay in-state tuition rates at Rhode Island’s public colleges.
There may soon be a prominent addition to the already deep field of Democratic Presidential contenders. At the present time, Vice President Joe Biden is seriously considering throwing his hat in the ring. If he were to jump in the race, Biden would immediately be a top tier contender. As Vice-President, Biden has been a major contributor to the successes of the Obama Administration. He was instrumental in passing several pieces of crucial legislation through the Congress due to his long standing ties with members of Congress in both parties. Biden is a genuinely warm person as well as a very good public speaker.
All of these developments in the Democratic nominating process means that there will be most likely be a contested race by the time the Nebraska Democratic Party holds it caucuses on March 5, 2016. Like we did in 2008, Nebraska will be going relatively early in the nominating process. We urge every Nebraska Democrat to participate in our caucus and make history again – just like we did in 2008.
Already efforts are being made by our party officers and activists to prepare for the caucuses. A website has already been set up at: http://nebraskacaucus2016.org/. The Nebraska Democratic Party is also working to establish a speakers bureau to appear before groups and other events as needed to provide information regarding the delegate selection process. We will also be contacting constituency organizations and holding outreach seminars and workshops. Please continue to consult this website for more information and developments regarding our Presidential caucuses.
We look forward to working with all registered Democrats to make our caucuses a big success. If you aren’t registered to vote, you can still fully participate in our caucuses by registering to vote as a Democrat at the caucus in your county or precinct. We here at the Nebraska Democratic Party look forward to working with you in selecting the next President of the U.S.!