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No ‘Change': Why Democrats Have Their Work Cut Out For Them In 2016

Once upon a time, a couple of presidential election cycles ago, the Democrats found themselves with three options.

The first was a typical establishment candidate. Good ideas, better hair. He couldn't take the heat, so he got out of the kitchen early.

The second was a breath of fresh air in some ways but tied to an old regime in others. It was a hard battle, but in the end, she couldn't win.

The third was young, fresh, straight out of the gates and off to a fast start. He had the cool factor, the enthusiasm surrounding his campaign, and an almost preternatural ability to inspire people just with the sound of his voice.

Perhaps most importantly, though, he had change on his side.

Running on a platform fueled by this sweeping idea of change that he himself was able to harness and represent, Barack Obama was able to win 53 percent of the popular vote and 68 percent of the electoral vote in 2008.

The thing about functioning democracies, though, is that there is no happily ever after for the party in power.

Barack's time in the White House will come to a close in just under two years, and until then, we'll have to endure a constant stream of ads, analysis and candidates trying to convince us they're the best choice for the new leader of the free world.

The only thing is that in this election, we're missing something, especially on the Democratic side – change.

You're seeing some of it on the Republican side too, but at least in the early stages of the primary, they've got plenty of young blood.

Jeb Bush has already taken a commanding lead in fundraising, even in the state of Florida, which both he and recently declared candidate Marco Rubio call home.

Rubio is probably the closest thing to a young superstar the Republicans have. This son of immigrants and self-proclaimed embodiment of the American dream will try to use his youth and message of change, but unfortunately for him, money talks.

And Jeb Bush, running on a platform of “no, really, I'm not my brother or my father,” has a lot more money than all of the other candidates, largely because of his brother and father (and his mother, he loves his mother too) helping him with his fundraising efforts.

The third Bush isn't the only one using a family name on his side, but you shouldn't blame yourself if you haven't noticed – Rand Paul is only two letters removed from Ron Paul, it's an easy mistake to make.

Unlike Jeb Bush, Rand Paul's stances on the issues will actually be very different from his father's, but there's probably a not-so-small part of him that hopes that you won't notice that so that he can just pick up where his old dad left off.

Ted Cruz is another one who will try to use his new ideas and relative youth to his advantage. As I've said before, it's a formula that can work.

The problem with Ted Cruz is that his new ideas don't always jive with reality – like abolishing the IRS, for example.

Lots will change in the year and a half leading up to the 2016 elections, but for now it's telling that two of the four candidates who have thrown their hats into the ring so far for the Republicans are the sons of former presidents or major candidates.

Is this what democracy is supposed to look like? A government of the elite, passed down through candidates and generations? There's a word for that, actually – plutocracy.

Problematic though it is on the Republican side, it's perhaps even worse for the Democrats.

As you most likely already know, Hillary Clinton just officially declared her candidacy, as if we hadn't already figured out that she was running.

On the one hand, it's great. It's her time. It's our time, as women, to have someone finally trying to represent us from our side of the great big gender divide.

She's got the Clinton fundraising machine, and she's definitely going to need that.

On the other hand, though, she hasn't yet shown us she'll bring anything new to the table.

While she's gone far beyond being the former President Clinton's wife, she doesn't have that fiery quality that really propelled Obama to victory.

She's been the heir apparent to the Democratic throne since 2008, except this is supposed to be a democracy. We're not supposed to have thrones – or heirs apparent.

Where is the Democratic firebrand? Where's the person who's going to rally everyone together, the fresh blood who can, like Obama did, really rock the vote?

The political apathy of the Millennials is hardly a new topic, but it's also clear that there's a way out. Obama captured the young vote, and that played a large role in his resounding win.

What Millennials seem to be saying is that they'll get out – if someone gives them a push. And when we get out, we make our voices heard.

It'll be up to the Democrats, then, the figure out who can provide that push. Does Hillary have a new side she'll reveal?

Barring progressive hero Elizabeth Warren, who has promised over and over that there's no way she'll run, none of the other candidates have exactly started to make waves yet.

One thing remains clear: Waves win races. The Democrats are going to have to remember that if they want to win this one.

Citations: Marco Rubio battles Jeb Bush in quest for money Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/marco-rubio-battles-jeb-bush-in-quest-for-money-116922.html#ixzz3XHAO426x (Politico), Marco Rubio announces hes running for president (Politico), Bush blows away GOP rivals with 2016 war chest (The Washington Post), Jeb Bush vows to be my own man on foreign affairs (USA Today), How Ted Cruz Stands Against Everything This Generation Believes In (Elite Daily), Ted Cruz Abolish the IRS (The Washington Post), Why Rand Paul Is Too Complicated And Hypocritical To Be President (Elite Daily), Im A Woman And It Matters To Me That Hillary Clinton Could Be President (Elite Daily ), Young Voters Powered Obamas Victory While Shrugging Off Slacker Image (US News & World Report)

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Lani Seelinger

Contributor

Lani is a freelance writer in Prague, Czech Republic. She spends most of her time dealing with politics, both in communist Czechoslovakia and otherwise. She’s from the great state of North Carolina, where she developed her great love of grits ...
Lani is a freelance writer in Prague, Czech Republic. She spends most of her time dealing with politics, both in communist Czechoslovakia and otherwise. She’s from the great state of North Carolina, where she developed her great love of grits ...

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