President Obama remains the unchallenged head of the Democratic Party — at least until Election Day 2016. But the stance the party will take after Obama's departure is an open question.
At the moment, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outpolls all her potential rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. The same research shows her beating all known Republican contenders. But polls this far in advance of presidential elections have a strong record of being incorrect.
Before the Democrats can choose their next standard-bearer, they'll have to decide who they are now. Are they a more populist, liberal party that can coalesce around a leader like Sen. Elizabeth Warren? Are they more comfortable with the mainstream positions represented by Clinton or Vice President Joe Biden? Or have they moved in some other direction entirely?
The Daily Circuit talks with two political analysts to get their ideas of the Democratic Party, post-Obama.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE POST-OBAMA DEMOCRATIC PARTY:
For Democrats looking to post-Obama era, how populist a future?
The schisms are as much stylistic as substantive. But however defined, they offer a challenge to the party's next leader, whether former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden or any number of lesser-knowns who await a decision by Clinton before making their own.
All will have to grapple with this reality. The Democratic Party, by various measures of public opinion, has moved to the left in the past decade. But that does not necessarily mean that progressives have become the party's dominant force or that the policies and messages they advocate can carry the day in a national election. (Washington Post)
No, Liberals Don't Control the Democratic Party
Many Democratic insiders minimize the party's divide. They note that there's broad ideological agreement on social and cultural issues, from abortion and gay marriage to gun control and immigration. National-security and foreign-policy questions have the power to divide but are no longer litmus tests. Even on economic issues, the party generally speaks with one voice: in favor of universal healthcare, against reducing safety-net programs, for progressive taxation and government-driven economic stimulus. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, told me in an email that the Democratic Party just doesn't get hung up on internecine battles these days. "I believe that it's a big-tent party that can and should accommodate centrists and liberals," Tanden said. "That ideological purity has not been a winning strategy for the other side."
But this high-altitude view elides real differences, such as disagreement over how much to raise taxes and on whom, how much to regulate industry, and whether to press not just to preserve but to expand those safety-net programs. (Molly Ball, The Atlantic)