The 2016 presidential election is still three years away but that hasn't stop speculation from both sides of the aisle as to who will be running for the White House. The overwhelming consensus among Democrats is that their party will be represented by former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Despite many Democrats crossing their fingers, one has to ask who will be in line if Hillary Clinton decides to stay on the side lines?
While the potential Republican challenger for president seems to be a toss up, Hillary Clinton seems to be a forgone conclusion for many Democrats. Nothing is final however and the Democrats have other potential candidates that would prove to be interesting and worthy of the cause.
1. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) -
A former bankruptcy law specialist from Harvard Law School, Elizabeth Warren burst onto the scene in the Senate following her 2012 defeat of Republican challenger Scott Brown. A champion of the middle class who has been known to crack the whip at big banks and those responsible for the financial collapse of 2008, Warren has made a name for herself in the short time she has been in Washington. In wake of the 2008 financial crash, Warren was appointed as a Chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel and was named Special Advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010.
According to the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, Warren was polling third among likely Democratic candidates at 7 percent, trailing Vice President Joe Biden and the first place Hillary Clinton who has a commanding lead at 61 percent. Warren has been a champion for many on the political left and the growing progressive movement and could be a formidable challenger during a time when the economy is still struggling as the middle class shrinks and big businesses continues to expand. Like most potential candidates, Sen/ Warren denies that she will run in 2016, but only time will tell if the progressive Senator will attempt a White House bid.
2. Vice President Joe Biden -
Vice President Joe Biden hasn't exactly kept his presidential aspirations secret. Biden first ran for president in 1988 and was attempting to be the youngest president since John F. Kennedy. Known as a solid speaker with a moderate image that could appeal to both sides of the aisle, Biden was thought to have a good chance at the White House. After a campaign that was marred by plagiarism accusations and a confused core message by a lackluster staff, Biden pulled out of the Democratic primary that was eventually won by Michael Dukakis. Biden took a second shot at the White House but was defeated by the charismatic young Senator. Barack Obama who would go on to name Biden as his Vice President just months later. As a respected leader in the Senate for over 35 years, Vice President Biden is polling 2nd behind Hillary Clinton in most surveys and could find out that the third time is the charm if given a chance in 2016.
3. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) -
Considered a long shot, the progressive favorite independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders would be an interesting choice to say the least. Bernie Sanders is the first person to identify as a socialist, he considers himself a democratic socialist, to be elected to Congress in over 60 years. Sanders got his political start as a member of the anti-Vietnam War Liberty Union Party in 1971. After failed Senate and gubernatorial runs in the mid 1970s, Sanders came back to the political scene in 1981 when he was elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont and would remain in office for the rest of the decade. In 1990, Sanders was elected to the House of Representatives where he held office until 2006 when he ran and won one of the state's seats in the Senate. As a strong liberal and progressive voice, Sanders has been an outspoken supporter of increased wages and benefits to workers as well as expanding social and earned benefit programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Advocating on increasing taxes on the wealthy in an attempt to invest wealth back into the country, Sanders would make many on the political left smile if he decided to run for president in 2016.
4. Gov. Andrew Cuomo -
One of the more popular governors in the country could be leaving the bright lights of New York for the political world-wind of Washington, DC. As the son of the 52nd Governor of the New York, Mario Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo has politics in his blood. As a lawyer and former top aide to his father's successful gubernatorial run in 1982. the junior Cuomo has been around the game for some time. President Clinton appointed Cuomo as the Assistant United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Community Planning and Development from 1993 to 1997 and was named the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 until 2001. Cuomo continued in the political game and after a failed 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Cuomo was elected Attorney General of New York in November 2006 and finally became governor of New York in 2010.
A strong supporter of progressive social causes such as same-sex marriage and gun control, Cuomo could be a top choice for Democrats in 2016. The downside for Cuomo is recent polling, showing New York voters preferring potential Republican challenger, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over their own governor Cuomo in a hypothetical presidential race.