Exactly How Do Democrats “Keep Hillary Honest?”

A couple of days ago I did a post here to address some misleading alarums from Iowa about the possibility of an uncontested Hillary Clinton march to the Democratic presidential nomination, and the broader problem of a Democratic Party that seems to want to nominate her but only after she is tested by a left-bent primary opponent. So in my weekly TPMCafe column, I focused more generally on this whole odd desire (to use the most common formulation) to keep Hillary honest without actually impeding her presidential ambitions. It sounds plausible, but how, exactly, do you go about it, and who can be talked into supplying a strong but ultimately half-hearted challenge?

I wind up suggesting that perhaps Bernie Sanders is the closest Democrats can get to an ideal vehicle for this sort of taking-one-for-the-movement task. But that’s just my tentative answer to a question not too many people are asking just yet, even as they vaguely wish for a somewhat different HRC.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.