One of the top progressive magazines has put out an open casting call for a left-wing primary challenger to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The Nation, which is where left-wing activists often go to get their latest ideas, argues that “even the most ardent Hillary supporters should acknowledge that the Democratic Party, and the country, will be better served if she has real competition in the primaries.” The magazine adds, “this is not an anti-Hillary message; it’s a pro-democracy one.”
“We need a Democratic presidential candidate with a smart, populist program untethered to Wall Street and committed to dismantling a rigged system that enriches the very few at the expense of everyone else,” the editors write.
Left-wing activists have distrusted Clinton because of her ties to crony capitalism and Wall Street, the Washington political establishment, and more hawkish foreign policy views, and they are hungry for someone who does not represent more of the same.
“Many will argue that in today’s politics, shaped by mega-rich donors and an intellectually disengaged punditocracy, the best we can hope for is a contest between candidates who are acceptable to the money and media elites,” the magazine writes. “The first test of whether this is the case comes in the next few months, as potential challengers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … must decide whether to try to displace a front-runner who leads national polls and key-state surveys by more than 40 percent.”
The Nation’s editors mention Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who has started an exploratory committee, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as potential challengers. They note that “Ready for Warren just launched a three-month drive to get Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to rethink her steady refusal to run” and “the desire for an alternative to Clinton is real: a November survey of Democracy for America members found 42 percent favored a Warren run, while 24 percent were for Sanders. Clinton was at 23 percent.”
The magazine recently launched “Project 45,” which it describes as “a multiyear examination of the process by which the forty-fifth president will be chosen, with a commitment to encourage those who will fight to prevent the hijacking of the 2016 campaign by high-powered strategists, well-heeled donors and big media outlets that are more interested in cash, and a vapid politics of personality, than in a genuine clash of ideas.”
And the editors mention that because establishment Democrats are “too close to corporate funders and too frequently” fail “to speak to the tens of millions still struggling in a weak recovery,” left-wing “activists must be willing to do the hard work–inside and outside the Democratic Party–of building a powerful progressive movement that can redefine our politics.”
“Only organized people can counter organized money, and because organizing takes time, the point at which to make that commitment is not in 2016,” they write of the importance to a potential Clinton challenger to progressive institutions. “It is now.”