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.

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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.