Struggle For the Votes of the Democratic Party

At TAP today our friend Jonathan Bernstein has a provocative story on Democrats in 2016: not the candidate horse race speculation about who is running, but instead what issues they might be talking about.

He suggests five issues that may be “defining” during the presumed Democratic primaries: (1) climate change; (2) drones and terrorists; (3) work and families; (4) defense spending; and (5) agriculture/energy (e.g., the “Iowa Issue”). And this list is based on the assumption that some of today’s barnburners like Afghanistan, immigration reform, and economic/fiscal emergencies have been resolved by then, which might not be the case, and also the existence of a significantly competitive candidate field to make issues Democrats don’t agree on salient.

It’s an interesting thought experiment. We can all imagine other issues that might emerge–criminal justice reform (including marijuana legalization); long-term care; election reform; campaign finance reform; economic inequality–and the possibility that one or two issues such as climate change could dominate anything. But you are invited to offer thoughts on this subject in the comment thread.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.