Ten Miles Square


February 22, 2013 10:50 AM What Will Dems Fight About in 2016?

By Jonathan Bernstein

I have a piece up at the American Propsect trying to predict the issues that might divide Democratic candidates in 2016; yes, it’s early, but as I say over there, if it’s not too early to rank the candidates, why not also rank the issues? I’m not looking at the issues they’ll run on, so much, but on those that might spark real disagreement. After all, in contested primaries, issues are one of the ways that candidates attempt to differentiate themselves from the pack. At the same time, while party-aligned groups may try to achieve consensus (as health care reform advocates basically did in 2008, or as marriage equality advocates will surely do in 2016), they also mayget candidates to compete for who has the best positions. And then, of course, party-aligned groups may disagree on what exactly is the best policy.

I picked climate, drones and terror, work and families, Pentagon spending, and agriculture/energy as likely topics for disagreement. In some cases (drones, Pentagon, perhaps energy) because the party really is divided; in others (climate, work and families, perhaps energy) because they’re united on goals but unsure on the best policy to achieve them. Oh, and I’ll probably do a list for the Republicans next week, either over there or back here.

So, what do you think? Did I get any of them wrong? What am I missing?

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.


  • jonh on February 22, 2013 11:56 AM:

    It will be interesting to see if photovoltaics keep getting cheaper on a 'Moore's law'-type curve. Right now it's at somewhere around 50c/kWh (half that in ideal circumstances), and decreasing by about a factor of 2 every 4 years or so. I can't think of any theoretical lower limit to cost. So, by the time 2015 gets middle-aged, we should be able to see more clearly if solar power is likely to be cheaper than coal in 20 years or so, after which storage and distribution dominate cost to the consumer.

    I imagine a 4 square meter panel putting out just over 1kW, lasting 20 years and costing $100, so less than 1cent/kWh. That would change pretty much everything, given the way fossil fuels dominate U.S. (and world) politics. Humanity may yet survive.

  • Zachary Smith on February 22, 2013 6:07 PM:

    So, what do you think? Did I get any of them wrong? What am I missing?

    I suppose you might have mentioned returning the US to a place where important criminals breaking major laws got punished rather than rewarded.

    But why all the mystery? If Hillary stays healthy, she's going to be the candidate.

    Just watch and listen about the things she's talking about, and there are the stances the Dems will adopt on the issues.

    She's known to be a huge warmonger, and a great supporter of executive murders. Soon enough we'll start learning the rest of her 2016 platform.