Could a Conservative Democrat Sideline Hillary in 2016?

manchinIt shouldn’t really surprise anyone that the 2016 presidential election, despite being nearly three years away, has already been talked about quite a bit in the national news media. After all, a number of likely Republican candidates are already beginning to emerge, and they’ve been finding creative ways to distinguish themselves from their peers. Some of them have gone the subtle route, working on unique messaging and putting themselves on stage in nontraditional venues. Others have staged publicity stunts like one-man filibusters designed to draw attention not only to themselves but also to the issues they believe are important. Some have done both.

National polling agencies have been busy pitting names like Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul up against the politician who is clearly believed not only to be the Democratic Party’s frontrunner, but also the coronated candidate: Hillary Clinton.

Sure, there’s been some talk in the media about the possibility of a Democratic candidate challenging Hillary from the left. Names like Elizabeth Warren (U.S. Senator from Massachusetts) have been brought up, but I believe it’s merely been done for the sake of discussion. I don’t think anyone really views her as having a serious chance.

What I don’t believe the media has talked about at all, however, is the possibility of a conservative Democrat entering the primary race and challenging Hillary Clinton from the right. Maybe such a notion seems ridiculous to seasoned political pundits, but I think that if someone like U.S. Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia decided to throw his hat in the ring, Hillary might actually have a bit of a fight on her hands.

Conventional wisdom, of course, suggests that I’m wrong. In a presidential primary race, it’s been recognized that the successful strategy is to appeal to one’s base. In the cases of both major political parties in this country, the base isn’t found at the moderate middle, but rather at the outer wing where the ideology is stringent and the passion runs deep.

Thus, the wise move for a Democratic candidate has typically been to campaign as a liberal until winning the party nomination. Barack Obama understood this during the 2008 campaign, and the strategy helped him in his primary race against Hillary Clinton. Clinton chose to position herself as a relative moderate by defending her support of the Iraq War. This seemed a safe strategy for her at the time because she believed she had the nomination locked up from the very beginning. She saw no other candidates as a serious threat. So, she was running as a general election candidate before she needed to, and that left an opening for a charismatic, historic opponent to excite lefties and rally support behind him.

Why then do I think that someone like Joe Manchin has a chance of nabbing the Democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton? It has to do with the country’s growing distaste for Big Government.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, a record number of Americans (72%) believe that Big Government is the single greatest threat to the United States. While some of that sentiment can probably be attributed to a catastrophic national debt and the slowest economic recovery in U.S. history, the spike is mainly fueled by the country’s awakening to all of the adverse affects of Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act is currently generating all-time-low approval ratings, and there’s little reason to suggest that it will become any more popular.

In addition to the millions of Americans who have already lost their healthcare plans as a result of the law, tens of millions more are slated to lose theirs once the employer mandate kicks in. The promise that people can keep their doctors has been exposed as a sham. Insurance premiums aren’t lowering as promised – they’re rising . Deductibles aren’t going up down. They’re going up. A $1 billion website tasked with managing the program has been an IT disaster. Employers are preparing to cut back on work hours and eliminate jobs in order to avoid the costs associated with Obamacare. And to top it all off, the entire funding mechanism of the program relies on the assumption that young people will voluntarily pay into a system that makes no economic sense to them whatsoever.

Reality has slapped the electorate across the face, and the numbers are showing that.

Important demographics for the Democratic party are already turning on Obamacare. Nearly 60% of millennials, who President Obama relied on in two elections, now oppose the law. Not only does a majority of currently insured voters oppose the law… A majority of uninsured voters does as well, which is striking considering that they were the very people the Affordable Care Act was primarily designed to help. The GOP has even taken the lead in national polling for the midterm elections, erasing the advantage the Democrats had long maintained.

And unfortunately for Democratic politicians who have supported Obamacare, it’s not just Republican and Independent voters who’ve realized that they’ve been screwed over by the law.

Some respected political analysts like Charles Krauthammer are even predicting that Obamacare will deal a crushing blow to big-government liberalism that will last a decade.

It may be hard to imagine, but by the time 2016 roles around, the political environment in this country could look very much different than it does today. If Obamacare truly ends up being a permanent albatross around the neck of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton may have a pretty tough time escaping its clutches.

She was, after all, a high-ranking member of the administration that gave us Obamacare. More importantly, she was also the architect of Hillarycare, the infamous healthcare plan from 1993 that was actually more government-intrusive and socialistic in nature than Obamacare. I know that sounds kind of hard to believe, but it’s true. And if Americans have forgotten about Hillarycare, I’m sure many conservative groups with lots of money are anxious to remind them about it.

Also, I may be in the minority, but I still think Hillary Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attack may still come back to haunt her, especially if the victims’ families come forward during the campaign and draw attention to the lies she personally told them to their faces while their dead sons’ caskets sat just feet away.

If she’s hit with that one-two punch, even a fawning media could have trouble saving her candidacy. Let’s face it: Hillary Clinton is no Barack Obama. She doesn’t have his charm. She doesn’t have his oratory skills. She doesn’t connect with people the way he does. Perhaps most importantly, she doesn’t have his gift of being able to completely disassociate herself from the things she says and does. She may not be the strong candidate she appears to be today.

In 2016, it’s possible that a small-government Democrat like Joe Manchin – someone who came to Washington after Obamacare had been passed, and has been critical of the law – could actually be more appealing to a slim majority of the Democratic Party than Hillary Clinton. If such a person could provide a clean break from Obamacare and Big Government while still appealing to social liberals within the base on the non-economic issues they care about, it seems to me that they could be a very formidable opponent.

Heck, I would even suggest that Manchin may remind Democratic voters more of President Bill Clinton (the man who famously declared that “the era of big government was over”) than Hillary herself does. He’d certainly be less of a lightning rod for controversy than Hillary.From a Dead Sleep by John A. Daly

Is the scenario I’m describing likely? As much as I would like it to be for the sake of the country, it probably isn’t. Even if the electorate sustains an ideological shift to the right, I think the liberal base of the party is influential and well-organized enough to effectively slander and destroy the candidacy of anyone in the party that is to the right of Hillary.

Still, I wouldn’t say that the scenario is out of the question, especially if Krauthammer is right and the failure of Obamacare serves as a turning point for how the public views the role of government.

It sure would be ironic if Obamacare managed to achieve the one thing that Republicans have been unable to in recent years: Making the public understand just how dangerous Big Government is, and holding to account those who gave us the problem.


Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series. His first novel, "From a Dead Sleep," is available at all major retailers. His second novel, "Blood Trade" is available for pre-order and will be released in Sept. 2015. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • Marian Degner

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) acknowledged on Wednesday that House Republicans had consciously voted to reduce the funds allocated to the State Department for embassy security since winning the majority in 2010.

    • vibez


  • Mirquella Santos

    Republicans if all you have to beat Hillary is Benghazi, I feel sorry for all Republicans. Most Americans don’t give a cent about Benghazi. Only Republicans who are not going to vote Democrat anyway care about 4 liberals. Benghazi was a tragedy and tha’t all. I am a minority and I know that I could never vote Republican because I hate wars and Republicans are war mongers. We should allow our white, brown, black, and yellow young men to reproduce and have many children. I don’t want to see them dead in stupid wars.

    • John Daly

      >>Most Americans don’t give a cent about Benghazi.

      I know. That’s because the media made a conscious decision to avoid reporting on it and investigating it.

      >>Only Republicans who are not going to vote Democrat anyway care about 4 liberals.

      4 liberals? First of all, that isn’t true. Secondly, why would it matter? They’re people. I don’t care about their political ideology.

      >>I am a minority and I know that I could never vote Republican because I hate wars and Republicans are war mongers.

      Then how can you vote for Hillary Clinton who both supported and voted for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

      >>We should allow our white, brown, black, and yellow young men to reproduce and have many children.

      Is there a movement against that?

      >>I don’t want to see them dead in stupid wars.

      None of us do.

    • saulalinsky

      Fewer and fewer care about partisanship. Absolute disinterest seems to be the prevailing theme with the non-voting party overshadowing the big two and Independent flat out being disregarded by the same. Secular western governments are in big trouble.

  • Mirquella Santos

    You did not care when 222 Americans died during Reagan in Beirut nor 63 died during Bush. You did not care when the Republicans sent 5,000 young American soldiers to their deaths (Iraq war). I did care because I protested in front of the white house. Why would Republicans care about 4 liberal? Huh!

    • Jeff Webb

      Really? Pasting a comment that got a response from John hours ago?

      It’s about as pathetic as having no clue how someone feels about prior events, and telling him how he feels about prior events anyway.

      • John Daly

        The presumptuousness really is quite astonishing, isn’t it?

    • John Daly

      >>You did not care when 222 Americans died during Reagan in Beirut nor 63 died during Bush.

      I was a child at the time. I didn’t even know about it.

      >>You did not care when the Republicans sent 5,000 young American soldiers to their deaths (Iraq war).

      Wanna bet? I had family that served over there. And why do you keep ignoring the fact that Hillary Clinton voted to send those soldiers to Iraq. She was a staunch advocate of the Iraq war. Why does she not share any blame, then, in your eyes?

      >>Why would Republicans care about 4 liberal?

      Why do you keep saying that? Again, it’s not true, and again, they were PEOPLE. It wouldn’t matter if they were conservative or liberal.

      Do YOU want conservatives dead? Is that why you view the issue that way?

      • vibez

        Did you support the american government who aided sadaam in gassing the iranians?

        You have no clue why dictators like that get removed or forced out. Americans do not care about dictators treatting their citizens wrong unless we have some sort of interest there and what is the interest in some of these countries its a 3 letter word

  • brickman

    When I was standing guard in West Germany during the Cold War, I bet that the Soviet Union was considered the #1 single greatest threat by the American People. I personally don’t feel as threatened by my government as I did by an enemy pointing nuclear weapons, tanks and aircraft at me. That’s progress.

    • John Daly

      The ending of the Cold War was indeed progress. No argument here.

  • Steve

    The article is good but it does remind of us of a truism in politics.

    The only way you get the voters attention is to reach into their wallet or scare them. Short of that they do not listen. ObamaCare has done both. The voters are listening now. Let us hope they remain scared and concerned about their wallets long enough to do something construction come November 2014 which in politics is an eternity away.

    • John Daly

      You would think so, but I thought the same thing during the 2012 election with so many people out of work and unable to find jobs. The media really assisted in letting President Obama disassociate himself from his own record. By November of 2014, who knows – maybe the national narrative will be that the Republicans are somehow to blame for Obamacare’s failures. lol.

  • SkyCitizen

    Could a conservative Democrat sideline Hillary? You bet he could! Arriving in the Senate after the ACA conservatives won’t have that angle to work. Plus he’s a reasonable fellow without an ideology to shove down everybody’s throat. A Manchin nomination could really bring back the Democrats. Unfortunately, all those lemmings in Congress who followed Obama off the ACA cliff won’t be here to support him if he became President,

    • John Daly

      As much as I’d much prefer a Republican president in the White House in 2016, I’d take anyone who isn’t a far-left ideologue at this point – you know, someone with an economic conscience.

  • Mirquella Santos

    Hillary is huge within minorities. We just love her. She will get at least 98% of the minorities votes. Democrats will vote for her and not to mention women who can’t wait for a qualified woman president. I don’t give a shit about Benghazi gossiping. If Republicans did not care about sending 5,000 young Americans to their deaths, they will never care about 4 liberals. HILLARY 2016!

    • SkyCitizen


      • Mirquella Santos

        I don’t care about Benghazi. I care about jobs, education and health care for Americans and my children. Benghazi was a tragedy- the end. During Reagan 222 Americans died in Beirut and 62 during Bush. I did not see the Republicans outrage. 5,000 Americans soldiers deid in a stupid war (Iraq). No Republican outrage either. Now all the certain you care about 4 liberals.

        • John Daly

          Remind me… Did Reagan make up some story about a video being to blame for those deaths in Beirut? Did he tell that work of fiction to the parents of the dead soldiers?

          • brickman

            Did Obama’s departments of State or Defense forbid the victims of the attack from loading ammunition in their weapons?

          • Jeff Webb

            >>Did Obama’s departments of State or Defense forbid the victims of the attack from loading ammunition in their weapons?<<

            No, their M.O. is to forbid people from having the weapons in the first place.

          • John Daly

            What are you talking about?

          • brickman

            You’re comparing Obama to Reagan. Reagan didn’t allow the soldiers guarding the marine barracks in Beirut to have rounds in the chambers of their weapons. A lot easier for terrorists to drive a truckload of explosives into the barracks when no machine guns are at the checkpoint.

          • John Daly

            What does that have to do with me criticizing Hillary for lying about Benghazi? Did Reagan lie about Beirut?

            The argument I’ve always made about Benghazi is that the administration lied about what happened that night in order to save political face at a very sensitive time (the 2012 election).

            What is your rebuttal to that? Because citing some incident that took place when I was 11 years old, and presuming what my reaction was to it at the time is completely nonsensical.

          • vibez

            not true those marines shot missles killing innocent villagers

          • vibez

            reagan did amp up the conflict by shooting missles thats where the retaliation came from

      • Marian Degner

        State department need more money to support Embassy’s! Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) acknowledged on Wednesday that House Republicans had consciously voted to reduce the funds allocated to the State Department for embassy security since winning the majority in 2010.

  • Kathie Ampela

    This is an interesting angle, I hadn’t thought of a challenger to Hillary coming from the Right. Obama is now reaching out to his progressive base…there is no reason for him to move to the “center” at this point. Hillary on the other hand, will have voter anger over Obamacare to contend with in 2016 (and there is no way in hell that Obamacare can succeed as it is written, let’s establish that right now. Only if you consider a complete government takeover of healthcare to be a “success” and that’s what progressives consider “success”) So what is Hillary going to offer and which side of the party will she play to? The far left would never go for a Joe Manchin candidate, however. And how can the far left abandon Big Government, it is their mantra, the solution to everything. Any free market/private sector ideas are sacrilege. I don’t think a fiscal conservative/social liberal would cut it. One thing I am sure of is that a civil war is brewing in the Democratic party and judging by the NYT Benghazi article the other day, I think we can see which side the MSM are going to choose.

    • John Daly

      My guess is that Hillary will try and present herself as a more conservative candidate than Obama in 2016. Thus, I think there’s room for a legitimately conservative candidate (relative to most Dems anyway) to really put her in her place during the primaries and explain how she’s every bit as liberal as Obama.

      You’re probably right about the far left never going for Manchin, but it’s possible that by 2016, the far left won’t have the same kind of power and influence they have since 2008. Again, I realize the scenario I’ve described is not likely.

  • Sheila Warner

    I still have doubts that the GOP can win the Senate. Carl Cameron’s report this evening on Special Report didn’t assuage my pessimism. He pointed out that there is a glut of GOP candidates vying for the various vulnerable seats in the Senate. If the Senatorial primaries are as bruising as Cameron predicts, we could see the Senate remain in Democratic hands.

    The GOP needs to focus on 2014 and run effective campaigns in Congress before it starts dreaming about 2016. IMHO, as always.

    • John Daly

      I agree. 2014 should be priority #1.

  • VermontAmerican

    “There’s little reason to suggest that [the Affordable Care Act] will become any more popular.” Except that as the election draws near the mainstream media will shift gears and start churning out the propaganda, touting the “wonderful virtues” and “great benefits” of Obamacare. Watch. It’s coming to a newspaper near you!

    • John Daly

      Oh, I’m sure it’s coming. But so are a lot of a bad things that even the MSM is going to have trouble glossing over.

      Then again, I never cease to be amazed by how easily the American public can be distracted by a shiny object.

  • Tim Ned

    Someone left off the mix is Gov. Scott Walker. I doubt he’ll run but this is a guy that won in a state that has been kiltering (I think that’s a word) left the last few years. I’ve heard him speak and he has the ability to explain complex issues in simplistic terms. A talent we must recognize is a characteristic of our current president. Or more simply put, a good BS’r.

    • John Daly

      Yeah, I think Walker would be a good candidate. Forgot to mention Rubio in my column too, but I don’t think he’ll be as formidable of a candidate as others believe.

      • Tim Ned

        I agree. When I listen to Rubio he handles tough questions very well and he knows the issues But then again he looks a guy who just got out of high school. But he is going to be a contender another eight years down the road.

        • John Daly

          True. A great debater for sure. As far as appearances go, however, he’ll have a little trouble being taken seriously.

    • vibez

      Wisconsin is ranked low in everything im from wisconsin

  • gold7406

    we will have to see what this administration does to ruin the rest of the coal industry in wv. this administration has put a hurting on the state.

    • John Daly

      I really believed the coal issue would be a bigger factor than it was in the 2012 election. To me, it seemed huge.

  • D Parri

    JD, I like many of the points that you’ve made here. It was a good piece and it opened up the possibility–even likelihood–of a vital element for incorporating into the GOP strategic plan for 2016.

    If the committed left of the Democratic Party chooses to follow the decidedly liberal agenda as it has done with great success so far throughout Obama’s presidency, and if the groundswell continues to gain momentum among the democratic electorate who have felt a disappointment in the Big Government propositions of this administration, then there is a very distinct possibility that the Democratic Machine may become split…and eventually conquered.

    The focal point of a conservative movement can’t be identified at this point, but it could emerge as an Elizabeth Warren, or a Joe Manchin. Names and discussion of anyone as a viable challenger to Hillary can only remain rhetoric until a substantive movement with a base of support begins to develop. It is a healthy image when challenges are used to foster and promote debate, or the appearance of debate.

    The existence of a conservative-democrat (Con-Dem ?) segment within the party can may make the primary race more interesting, and it can also serve as a tool to attract party members back who may be complaining about the hyper-liberal element.

    Nevertheless, Bill will encourage Hillary and crew to maintain control of any debate, and it will be an odds-on bet that the conservative element will amount to no more than a tool for bouncing ideas off of when campaigning, debating, and attacking the Republicans.

    This is where I propose that the GOP seize an opportunity that they have not had in over ten years. In sync with your article, I can see that the GOP 2016 Presidential campaign strategy should contain the following elements:
    ☑ Big government debate could split the democrat base
    ☑ Obamacare will be the featured issue dealing with Big Government
    ☑ Loss of confidence in government will support the debate against Big

    And, Yes, Benghazi will definitely haunt her, as it should, and the slander will flow like a river across all lines, parties, and interests.

    • kayakbob

      OK, this is upsetting. How did you get the check boxes?! Whenever I try to add such flavor, it just comes out something like: “/?”.

      I am calling for a Congressional investigation into why you can add formatting. This is clearly a case of gross discrimination. Or did you simply hack this site? Or are you really pajama boy?

      Finally, in the immortal words of my mentor, Marion Barry. “..first it was not a strip bar. It was an ‘Erotic Club’. And second, what can I say? I’m a night-owl”.

      • D Parri

        Ok, my friend, I will share some of these secrets with you
        under one condition
        if the enemy gets control of this information, you must promise to commit suicide after you destroy your computer and any traces of this email

        Nah, just kiddin’. Yes, I will share that with you when we are both online at the same time, because I will need to edit my comments as soon as you see them and remove the information from my post.

        I will continue to look and see if you are on and posting later today, i.e., 1-1-2014.

        …and… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

        • kayakbob

          wow. Sounds like a hassle. It isn’t important enough to me to put you at odd with the site. Not a problem. And for the record, I will not commit suicide, but I will do next best thing. I am self-employed, so I will sign up for Obamacare – fiscal suicide for us all. That’s the best I can do. Sorry.

      • D Parri

        RU thare?

      • Marian Degner

        You right,
        I think D Pari it’s a Hacker !

    • John Daly

      Good post. My fear is that the media will let Clinton present herself as a moderate/conservative Democrat during the campaign. That’s why I would love to see an actual conservative Democrat pound her from the right in the primaries.

      Heck, if someone like Manchin ended up winning (again, not likely) I’d feel a whole heck of a lot better than regardless of the outcome of 2016, our country might start getting its act together.

      • D Parri

        Thanks, John. It was this aspect of the 2016 race that you brought out that makes it seem so much more plausible that the GOP could have a workable strategy.

        Also, a lean toward the center from the Democrat Party would not, in itself, be a bad thing. I would not like to see the birth of a new political animal, though, a ‘CINO’…Conservative In Name Only.

    • Marian Degner

      Only way to destroy Dem’s machine, will be, if GOP gain with Immigration Reform Independents like me. Other way, You will see how everybody from Democratic Presidential Candidates will eventually make smooth “Red Carpet” style road for Hillary and open Gates to The 2016 Presidency. It’s reason why Hillary step down and take the responsibility for State Department about the Embassy & make room for John Kerry and why also we All should Ask GOP HOUSE why their cut the founds and where are their Calls for taking Responsibility about Benghazi!

      Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) acknowledged on Wednesday that House Republicans had consciously voted to reduce the funds allocated to the State Department for embassy security since winning the majority in 2010.
      This is facts my dear.

      • Sue in NC

        That’s a very good argument but… The State Department has already testified to the Congressional Oversight Committee that “Funds were not the reason Security was not Stepped Up”.

  • Wheels55

    Remember in 2007-08 when everyone thought Hillary would win the nomination? Out of no where, a nobody passes her up. Could happen again, particularly since Hillary has more stink on her now.
    If you think the Hillary & Bill team will be good for the White House, think again. Besides, if anyone thinks Hillary will actually take advice from Wild Bill, you are mistaken.

    • John Daly

      Believe me… I don’t think Hillary and Bill would be good for the White House. lol.

      • Marian Degner

        I think White House will celebrate First Man like Bill Clinton ! I don’t think anybody can beat Bill in this position ! Unique !