Friday , February 23 2024
Is Hillary's uncontested run for the Democratic nomination bad for the Democrats? Perhaps.

Hillary Clinton Needs the Challenge of Vigorous Debate

One of my biggest fears about the inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s nomination for President of the United States (POTUS) is the very fact of its (presumed) inevitability. I would love to see Senator Elizabeth Warren (or, for that matter, Senator Bernie Sanders) come at her from the left. I don’t necessarily think Senator Warren would wrest the nomination from the candidate presumptive (although that’s not a foregone conclusion), but her challenge would, at the very least, force Hillary to debate the issues near and dear to progressives, and remain sharp, focussed, and be ready for Autumn, 2016. This is absolutely crucial to invigorate the base and create enthusiasm in corners of the Democratic party where little currently exists.

Let me say it up front: Hillary will have my vote when it comes right down to it. But in the end, by the time the Republicans have their pick next summer, we will know them very well–where they stand, what they believe (and how much is contrived for the audiences to whom they speak). In an uncontested race, we get only what Clinton wants to give; her point of view, unchallenged. Untested.

So, here’s my suggestion: set up a series of proxy debates. Not real debates, but town halls, specifically designed to throw her hardball questions and refuse to let go until we have a clear, sharp answer about every significant policy and social issue around. Middle-America moderates, Blue Dog Conservative Dems, Hispanics, Senior Citizens, Baby Boomers (I do not lump the boomers in with the seniors, because many boomers are far from senior citizens), Dreamers, young voters, Progressives, and the Far Left all should be given a shot to question, unfiltered, and un-cherrypicked, every facet of the Clinton policy agenda.

What are her priorities? What is her vision on economics, climate change, infrastructure, immigration, international competition (for example)? How will she deal with intractable foreign policy issues in the Middle East: ISIS, Al Quaeda, Iran, Iraq, and the future of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

But much better, I would like to see a real challenger step up, long-shot or not. She needs the challenge. We need to see her challenged. And long before the September 2016 final leg of this very long Presidential race. Personal plea to Senator Warren: please, please run. You would be the voice we all need (except for the one-percenters). Who knows? You could win this thing!

What do you think?

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About Barbara Barnett

A Jewish mother and (young 🙃) grandmother, Barbara Barnett is an author and professional Hazzan (Cantor). A member of the Conservative Movement's Cantors Assembly and the Jewish Renewal movement's clergy association OHALAH, the clergy association of the Jewish Renewal movement. In her other life, she is a critically acclaimed fantasy/science fiction author as well as the author of a non-fiction exploration of the TV series House, M.D. and contributor to the book Spiritual Pregnancy. She Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (

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One comment

  1. Dr Joseph S. Maresca

    The cornerstone issue is getting more people into the middle class.Traditionally, this was done by going the college route, mastering a skilled trade or building a small business.

    America has grown in leaps and bounds from 180 million to 320 million since the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations.That tremendous spurt in population growth will mean more opportunities for rebuilding badly needed physical infrastructure consisting of roads,highways,bridges,tunnels,airports and the electronic infrastructure which consists of the power grid and the information superhighway.

    There is a general environmental cleanup needed in the areas of air quality, the use of cleaner burning fuels, fusion power (eventually), solar energy and a cleansing of the oceans to remove accumulated plastics and chemicals. A related task is making sure the Arctic regions remain ecologically viable for centuries to come.

    The political accommodations are more complicated. For instance, there has to be a peaceful coexistence between Sh’ia and Sunni factions throughout the Middle East before addressing the differences with the West. A related issue involves moderating the political constituencies on the Gaza Strip, the fringe groups in Syria and elsewhere.

    That can happen in at least two ways. One way is to have a highly decentralized governmental system with an organic political structure. The other way is to have a centralized structure with a single Caliphate at the top. There are advantages and disadvantages to both superstructures.

    At some point, there needs to be a conversation on how we plan to deal with poverty and economic inequality. Traditionally, the tax system has been used to raise the necessary monies to level the playing field. The education system is yet another area where the playing field can be made more fair by providing greater opportunities in the professions, the trades and small business development.

    An Increment to the minimum wage is yet another way to deal forthrightly with income inequality. More opportunities and resources will come across the board due to the retirement of the baby boomers and the inheritance legacies passed down by the World War II generation.

    These are just a few of the many items on a very ambitious political agenda over the coming months.