By David Webb - 02/11/14 06:46 PM EST
There is always a risk in going early as a political candidate, because it can result in burnout with the voters. Hillary Clinton, the former first lady, former senator of New York and former secretary of State, certainly runs this risk.
Whatever she does or says, or even that others do on her behalf, is certain to make news, and the signs are there that she’s preparing to build a ground game.
In addition, Clinton will make a multi-day swing through California’s San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego areas this April — key events to watch in the run-up to the launch of the 2016 campaign.
There is also danger for the Democratic Party when there is only one candidate so far ahead of the field even this early. The coronation of Clinton, particularly because she’s running to be the first woman elected president, would light a fire under potential Democratic candidates who feel they are also qualified. This list includes governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Maryland’s Martin O’Malley. Though at this time there do not appear to be any other significant female candidates on the Democratic side, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s name has been floated publicly.
This is not to say that Clinton is not playing smart politics, or that she’s not careful in her public words and actions. But it’s important to always remember voter burnout.
So why would Republicans be running for the 2016 presidency already?
Right now, the reality is that Republicans don’t have a strong national candidate. The internecine fight over potential contenders — such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — is necessary at the appropriate time, but political bloodletting can also result in campaign failure.
Republicans need to focus on the House, Senate and state-level races in 2014, to strengthen the House majority, win the Senate and take control of Congress.
Where there are local elections such as for mayors, county commissioners, precinct captains and more, the GOP must recognize their importance and win. 2014 is not just about the federal government — more and more responsible states led by Republican governors have demonstrated fiscal responsibility and pragmatic solutions in many areas.
At the congressional level, Republicans are likely to pick up 12-15 House seats. There are key urban districts in cities like Detroit, San Jose and San Bernardino where Democratic political blight presents opportunity for Republican pick-ups. Republicans have to focus on more than numbers, and on changing the country’s view of the party’s base locations.
In the Senate the Republicans have their “Six in ’14” campaign. Arkansas Republican candidate Rep. Tom Cotton is taking on Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. There are other vulnerable Democrats, like Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Udall of Colorado and Al Franken of Minnesota. It is smart strategy for the Republicans to run against vulnerable Democrats who supported ObamaCare, but they have to run with a platform and on policy issues that matter to voters.
The voters, regardless of their definition of Republicanism or conservatism, have continued to demand solutions from elected officials. Much of the credit for this demand goes to the Tea Party movement — even voters who do not identify as Tea Partyers understand the principles of a limited, effective, efficient and constitutional government at all levels. Presenting practical and doable solutions is key to Republican success. Milquetoast and mediocre will not work as it might have in the past.
America needs, and demands, solutions of those who seek elected office. Governance is required by those who have been given the trust of our vote. We as voters must also do our due diligence. We get the government we vote in, and the one we will not vote out.
Webb is host of The David Webb Show on SiriusXM Patriot 125, is a Fox News contributor and has appeared frequently on television as a commentator. Webb co-founded TeaParty365 in New York City, and is a spokesman for the National Tea Party Federation. His column will appear twice a month in The Hill.