As Hillary Clinton announces her campaign today, she quite literally stands alone. She’s the sole announced Democrat candidate and the only top-shelf contender.
But that’s not going to help her in Iowa, where voters will still expect to be pandered to as if they were in the center of a hard-fought battle.
“I’ll be waiting to see how aggressively pursued I am,” Jan Bauer, a county Democrat chair, tells The Washington Post. “We really are that spoiled,” adds Bret Nilles, another county chair.
The Clinton campaign understands this–and even seems to welcome the challenge to pander.
“You’re going to see the effort on Hillary’s behalf go from zero to 60 in about four seconds, including her own approach,” Jerry Crawford tells the Post. He helped run Hillary’s 2008 bid in Iowa. “I have absolute confidence that she will be very aggressive in fighting for every vote.”
Hillary finished third in Iowa the last time around, trailing a then-obscure senator named Barack Obama and a soon-to-be-disgraced former senator named John Edwards. This time, whether or not she faces any real competition, she’s prepared to pander properly to Iowans.
The Post reports she plans to open a headquarters in Des Moines soon and will have staffers deployed across the state. Around 40 volunteers are on board already, set to be absorbed into the campaign as it launches.
All of this seems slightly silly when one looks at the status of Hillary’s potential competitors.
The names bandied about so far include: former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (who watched voters in his deep-blue state select a Republican to replace him last fall), former Rhode Island Governor (and recovering Republican) Lincoln Chaffee, and current Vice President Joe Biden (last seen stealing a pacifier from a baby).
As the sole viable Democrat, Hillary Clinton could take some controversial positions in Iowa. She could, perhaps, come out against costly and unnecessary ethanol subsidies. After all, she has nothing to lose, in Iowa or elsewhere. Instead, she’s ready, even eager, to pander to Iowans.
Let the 2016 race begin.