The Hurdles Hillary Will Face In A Democratic Primary

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Hillary Clinton might seem like her party’s inevitable nominee for president in 2016, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be an easy ride to the Democratic National Convention.

Even as Clinton is expected to launch a White House run next month as the heavy favorite to capture the Democratic nomination, she will still face a number of hurdles in a primary, including winning over a skeptical left flank and trying to keep her campaign of rival political operatives from eating each other alive.

Here is The Daily Caller’s guide to some of the biggest challenges Clinton will face in a Democratic primary, based on conversations and email exchanges with a variety of political operatives:

Restless Progressives

Clinton’s wooing of Elizabeth Warren says it all.

Late last year, she reportedly met with the anti-Wall Street crusader, whose fans on the left have been urging her to challenge Clinton. So far, these progressives have been unsuccessful in getting Warren to do anything more than influence the debate: The New York Times reported that Clinton “solicited policy ideas and suggestions” from Warren during their meeting.

In January, Clinton also made a rare public statement to back up Warren’s support for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street law. “Attacking financial reform is risky and wrong,” Clinton tweeted. “Better for Congress to focus on jobs and wages for middle class families.”

Who knows if Clinton will actually get a viable challenger in the primary, but it’s likely there will be other Democratic candidates who more passionately represent the factions of the liberal base:

Really care about the environment? What if Al Gore runs?

Really care about the anti-war movement? What if Jim Webb runs?

Really care about supporting a governor with executive experience? What if Martin O’Malley runs?

Really care about a more socialist form of government? What if Bernie Sanders runs?

Campaign Rivalries

Something that caused issues for Clinton when she ran in 2008 could repeat itself in 2016: the nasty rivalries between competing staffers on her campaign.

This go-round, she’ll have to mix not only Clinton loyalists dating back to her husband’s run for president, but also the young Democratic operatives with experience working for President Obama.

Clinton, who has been on a hiring spree of Obama veterans, will have to overcome any problems resulting from that integration.

Can they get along?

Rusty On The Stump

How will Clinton do when she has to start meeting real voters again in Iowa and New Hampshire?

Eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and not Clinton, will headline a May 3 state party dinner in Manchester, N.H. Why isn’t Clinton showing up?

She often looks weakest when she gets out on the campaign trail and starts to looks like a typical politician.

And some of her worst moments come when she botches interviews, like she did on her book tour when she told an interviewer she and her husband were “dead broke” after the Clinton presidency.

Also, what will the rationale for her candidacy be? Many Democrats think it’s time for a female president, but the rest of the answer to the rationale question isn’t exactly obvious yet.

Her Tenure As Secretary Of State

Benghazi. Questions about donations from foreign governments to Clinton Foundation. The email scandal.

Democrats will likely dismiss these things as Republican obsessions.

But if the argument in a primary turns toward competency, will her Democratic rivals take shots at her over her tenure at the State Department?

Coronation Factor

Then there is the coronation factor.

ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl recently cracked that “you could have more appearances before Congress for Hillary Clinton during her primary campaign than you have presidential debates.”

What if no serious Democratic challenger arises, and Hillary doesn’t have to debate any rivals on stage before facing the Republican nominee during the general election?

Seeing how the Republican presidential candidates will participate in a number of debates and forums over the next year, a rusty Clinton in the general is a scenario Democrats are hoping to avoid.

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