Democrats Support Hillary, Seek to Avoid 2016 Drama

Image: Democrats Support Hillary, Seek to Avoid 2016 Drama

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 10:34 AM

By Joe Battaglia

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The unspoken desire among influential Democrats is for a non-contentious 2016 nomination season and the party uniting behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Wall Street Journal reported major Democratic fundraisers have seen other potential candidates, such as Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, remaining on the sidelines while branches of the party begin coming together in support of a Clinton candidacy.

According to a recent New York Times/CBS News Poll, more than 8 in 10 Democrats have indicated they want Clinton to run for president in 2016. A Quinnipiac survey has Clinton crushing potential Republican opposition by double digits. Even web squatters have begun gobbling up Clinton 2016 domain names, according to Time.

The Journal reports what is happening is out of character for Democrats, who have historically not been bashful about challenging for the presidential nomination.

In 1980, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter, the sitting president at the time. Twenty years later, New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley ran against Vice President Al Gore. In 2008, Barack Obama, then just a first-term Illinois senator, challenged and defeated a front-running Clinton.

A Democratic party coalesced behind Clinton could be a game-changer in the election. The strategy could allow Clinton to amass a formidable war chest while Republican candidates compete in what is expected to be a drawn-out race for the GOP nomination.

A source for Ready for Hillary, Clinton's super PAC, told CNN that an "educated estimate" by senior adviser Craig Smith is that the 2016 campaign could cost more than $1.7 billion.

Ready for Hillary has gotten the jump on the requisite fundraising by seeking to bring supporters of Clinton and Obama together in one camp. According to the Journal, the group set an individual contribution cap of $25,000 and that 80 percent of the 54 people who have donated the maximum also contributed to Obama in his two presidential bids.

This suggests should Clinton run, she should be able to sweep up the big donations that helped defeat her six years ago.

"We don’t have a candidate or a campaign yet, but what we do have is the ability to let Secretary Clinton know there is grass-roots support for her if she decides to run," Jonathan Metcalf, who worked for the Obama campaign and now works for Ready for Hillary, told the Journal.

Not everyone believes that parting the waves for a smooth-sailing Clinton presidential bid is a good idea.

"There’s a yearning for more voices – not less – in our political system," former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat mulling a presidential bid, told the Journal.

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