Why Democrats Who Won't Be President Will Keep Showing Up in Iowa

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 17 2013 6:41 PM

Why Democrats Who Won't Be President Will Keep Showing Up in Iowa

Aaron Blake reports that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will appear at the North Iowa Democrats’ 10th Annual Wing Ding next month. Anyone perusing the headline would assume that Klobuchar, who also appeared at an Iowa Democratic Party breakfast during the Democratic National Convention, is thinking about the presidency. The end of this story sort of explains the sad truth.

The focus of the night will be a more high-profile potential 2016 presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, who will be awarded the group’s Annual Beacon Award. (Clinton is not expected to attend, however.)
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And that's the problem for Democrats. Until Hillary Clinton makes up her mind on a presidential campaign, no other Democrat is moving into the race. If she runs, no other Democrat comes within 50 points of her in Iowa or New Hampshire. But the second she appears in Iowa or New Hampshire, she's assumed to be in the race -- the spotlight flees from everyone else.

If you're a Democrat who has no chance of advancement until 2024 (or 2020, if Clinton loses), what can you do? By golly, you can accept those invitations from state and county parties that can't get the candidate they really want. You eat that wing (ding). You take up residence in Chris Cillizza's head when the time comes in summer 2016 to recklessly speculate on the Democrats who are Credible enough to be veep.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.