The just-past national conventions dropped a number of stones into the political pond ahead of 2016. The splash from each stone might be dismissed as early speculation but in politics speculation mists the leaves of future candidacies. From each splash-point already radiates the ripples that will form the ebb and flow of the currents leading to the next series of election cycles.
Some of the ripples emanating from Charlotte and Tampa were larger than others. Some will have staying power but most will run out of energy over time, dreams lost in the backwaters of unviability. Other currents, perhaps waves, might form as human events trigger as yet unseen political storms. But whatever crests come at whatever time, they will have to lap up against the immediate reality of a woman named Hillary Clinton.
How well the Romney-Ryan ticket fares and/or the success or failure of a second Obama-Biden term, if there is one, are irrelevant to a Clinton Restoration. Assuming a healthy Hillary is assuming history. She has the whole crew waiting to sign on: Women, women with money, HispanicLatinos, African Americans, gays and lesbians, gays and lesbians with money. And she does not do badly in the hills, either. This time around, any tears in New Hampshire might be about wrapping up the nomination in two weeks’ time. Nonetheless, still political waters are anything but, and many circle in wait, nostrils wide open for any hint of blood in the water.
The names already in the swirl in alphabetical though not viable order are: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia. These at the moment loiter more as vice presidential tadpoles than head tuna. And some might not be seaworthy in the least for one or many reasons. Assuming a Clinton from New York leading the ticket, Cuomo would be sunk by the Constitution. O’Malley and Patrick are not feasible unless Hillary harbors a desire for northeastern overload. More interesting strategically are Hickenlooper and Warner. Each is from a critical state but Democrats might want to opt for someone whose name does not rival Estes Kefauver’s in peculiarity. Clinton-Hickenlooper sounds like a colleague of Senator Snort or a new, snazzy microwaveable popcorn.
Before Warner begins his run upstream, he and his supporters need to keep in mind that the calendar might spawn a surprise. After all, the current election and the 2014 election year do precede 2016. Who know what the voters will have wrought, though Warner’s re-election in 2014 will be critical to a Democratic majority in the Senate and much attention will be paid to him – not a bad position. But a more bankable certainty is the continuing, incessant rain of new HispanicLatino voters ponding in the national political puddle called the electorate.
The demographic front that blew in starting in 1972 signaling the retrenchment of the “white” population began an expansion of the HispanicLatino share of the national voter pool that will increase each election cycle for the next 30 years. Thus, depending on how close is the election of 2012 and how pivotal the HispanicLatino vote, the make-up of a second Obama Cabinet might launch another boomlet or two, certainly for the second spot on the ticket.
Obama if he wins is certain to overhaul his Cabinet to give his Presidency a second wind, and a HispanicLatino from the Obama Cabinet paddling directly on to the Democratic ticket is a distinct possibility. More than a dozen times in U.S. history, a Cabinet member has joined a national ticket. And John McCain in 2008 did HispanicLatinos a tremendous favor in choosing as his running mate Sarah Palin, the totally unknown governor of a state with a population half of a city like, say, San Antonio, Texas, whose population is more than 250 times the size of the Alaskan outpost of Wasilla.
The media has noted the possible seaworthiness of new-splasher Julián Castro. But what happens if a HispanicLatino were elected this year or in 2014 in a critical state? Arizona, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico come to mind. What if Democrats unexpectedly engaged in strategic thinking and recruited dynamic HispanicLatinos to topple Republicans Susana Martínez in New Mexico and/or Brian Sandoval in Nevada in 2014? What if Puerto Rican, American-citizen Richard Carmona wins his race for the U.S. Senate this year in Arizona? Any HispanicLatinos up for a statewide race in Florida in 2014?
The splash Martínez and Sandoval and Marco Rubio made at their convention in Tampa makes veep material of them all, Martínez specifically. Their success has lifted the HispanicLatino boat on the Democratic side. Whichever party goes first in convention in 2016 cannot afford to cede to the other the opportunity to name a HispanicLatino to their national ticket. A HispanicLatino on the ticket in 2016 is as close to certain as anything else.
And that is not wet speculation.
Jesse Treviño is the former editorial page editor of The Austin American-Statesman and writes at HispanicLatino.com.