What Will Dems Fight About in 2016?

I have a piece up at the American Propsect trying to predict the issues that might divide Democratic candidates in 2016; yes, it’s early, but as I say over there, if it’s not too early to rank the candidates, why not also rank the issues? I’m not looking at the issues they’ll run on, so much, but on those that might spark real disagreement. After all, in contested primaries, issues are one of the ways that candidates attempt to differentiate themselves from the pack. At the same time, while party-aligned groups may try to achieve consensus (as health care reform advocates basically did in 2008, or as marriage equality advocates will surely do in 2016), they also mayget candidates to compete for who has the best positions. And then, of course, party-aligned groups may disagree on what exactly is the best policy.

I picked climate, drones and terror, work and families, Pentagon spending, and agriculture/energy as likely topics for disagreement. In some cases (drones, Pentagon, perhaps energy) because the party really is divided; in others (climate, work and families, perhaps energy) because they’re united on goals but unsure on the best policy to achieve them. Oh, and I’ll probably do a list for the Republicans next week, either over there or back here.

So, what do you think? Did I get any of them wrong? What am I missing?

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

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Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.