EXCLUSIVE: The Next Democratic Candidates To Join The 2016 Race Will Be…

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The crowd of Democratic presidential hopefuls hoping to challenge Hillary Clinton for the party’s 2016 nomination is currently pretty thin.

This week, Republican-turned-Independent Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his entry into the fray — along with a vow to switch the United States over to the metric system. Chafee’s bid brings the number of Hillary’s opponents to three. Along with Chafee, there is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a socialist who wants to turn the United States into a workers’ paradise, and Martin O’Malley, a former Maryland governor who enjoys playing guitar and appearing shirtless.

Are other Democratic candidates poised to enter the 2016 presidential sweepstakes? Some commentators have noted the Democrats have an awkwardly weak political bench. Others, such as Joan Walsh at the liberal news outlet Salon, insist that the Democratic Party boasts a robust collection of future presidents. Walsh cites a list including household names such as Amy Klobuchar, Christine Gregoire and Maggie Hassan.

For various reasons, The Daily Caller doubts that these prestigious luminaries will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination. Other powerhouses of equal stature certainly might, though.

Below are eight possible Democratic candidates who may yet shake up America’s 2016 presidential sweepstakes in the coming weeks and months. (Please bookmark this article because it could look mighty prescient in a few months.)

Karen Freeman-Wilson

Karen Freeman-Wilson YouTube screenshot National League of CitiesStrengths: Freeman-Wilson, the 54-year-old mayor of Gary, Ind., is a more accomplished version of 2008 candidate President Barack Obama. She served briefly as the attorney general of Indiana. She has earned degrees from the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School. She served as a presiding judge in the city court of Gary. She is also black, obviously, so she could rally an important segment of the Democratic base.

Weaknesses: Despite her many stellar accomplishments, Freeman-Wilson’s level of name recognition is currently just above Lincoln Chafee’s.

Al Franken

Al Franken YouTube screenshot Al Franken for Senate 2014Strengths: Joan Walsh’s Salon piece mentions Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, and for good reason. Sure, the 64-year-old former unfunny comedian with bit parts on “Saturday Night Live” may have supported the Iraq war at its inception in 2003 but then, when the war didn’t go well, he fiercely criticized it. This courageous stance gives him foreign policy chops.

Weaknesses: Franken barely won a Senate seat in 2008, riding the coattails of then-candidate Obama. His appeal outside Minnesota — the state which once voted fruitcake professional wrestler and 9/11 truther Jesse Ventura as governor — is questionable. Franken also wrote and starred in the utter commercial flop “Stuart Saves His Family” ($6.3 million budget; $911,310 box office).

Walter Mondale

Walter Mondale Creative Commons Minnesota National GuardStrengths: Like many presidential candidates (including George H. W. Bush and Martin Van Buren), Mondale is a former vice president. He is battle-tested. As recently as 2002, after the tragic death of Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, Mondale ran for the U.S. Senate on an emergency basis.

Weaknesses: At age 87, Mondale is in the same basic age cohort but slightly older than Hillary Clinton. Also, he already lost a presidential election back in 1984.

Joseph P. Kennedy III

Joseph P. Kennedy III public domain United States CongressStrengths: Youth! Vivacious good looks! A scion of the Kennedy family! Immense old-money wealth from which to draw! The dream of the many unmarried women who consistently vote Democratic. Kennedy is currently the serving a U.S. representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district. He has only served in this capacity since 2013, and the office is probably a stepping stone. But why not step directly to the White House?

Weaknesses: Kennedy is just 34. He will turn 35 — the minimum age for the U.S. presidency — in October. Some critics may call his youth and inexperience a negative factor. Also, but for his family name, he would likely be prowling the sales floor at a Chrysler dealership and not the Cannon House Office Building.

Gary Condit

Gary Condit YouTube screenshot ABC NewsStrengths: Tan (probably), rested and ready! Condit also has about twice as much legislative experience as Hillary Clinton since he served several terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. While in office, Condit was known as a moderate Democrat, which voters might find refreshing compared to the party’s declared crop of candidates — all of whom the Democratic Party has officially labeled as progressive. (RELATED: Democratic National Committee Officially Labels Hillary Clinton ‘PROGRESSIVE’)

Weaknesses: Unfortunately for Condit, 67, voters will likely always associate him with the murder of Chandra Levy, a young intern with whom the married congressman was having an affair around the time she died. Condit was ultimately cleared of having any role in Levy’s death.

Rod Blagojevich

Rod Blagojevich public domain United States Marshals ServiceStrengths: Blagojevich, the disgraced former governor of Illinois, has no positive qualities. It’s shocking and sad that this 58-year-old criminal was ever elected to any office. Mayor Richard M. Daley called him a “cuckoo.” He is currently rotting in a federal prison because he brazenly solicited bribes for, among other things, the U.S. Senate seat Obama vacated when he was elected president in 2008.

Weaknesses: Blago’s 14-year sentence gives him plenty of time to write manifestos and make speeches to cellmates. (RELATED: Rod Blagojevich Has Got This New Thing Teaching History In Prison, And It’s #@%!& Golden)

Michael Dukakis

Michael Dukakis enjoys a tank ride YouTube screenshot videohack25Strengths: Dukakis, 81, has significant executive experience. He was the governor of Massachusetts for over 10 years. He is Harvard Law School graduate. He served in the U.S. Army. His tank-driving skills have been seen all over America.

Weaknesses: Like Mondale, Dukakis lost a presidential election (in 1988). Also, like Mondale, he is slightly older than Hillary Clinton.

Debbie Dingell

Debbie Dingell public domain United States CongressStrengths: The Democratic Party seems ready to nominate a woman. Why not the alliteratively-named Debbie Dingell? It rolls so poetically off the tongue. She also has little baggage, since she was only elected to Michigan’s 12th congressional district in the last election. She replaced her husband, the long-serving John Dingell. Her similarities to Hillary Clinton are strong in this last regard.

Weaknesses: Virtually nobody in America has ever heard of Debbie Dingell, 61, until this moment.

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(Credits for photos in this piece: YouTube screenshot/National League of Cities, YouTube screenshot/Al Franken for Senate 2014, Creative Commons/Minnesota National Guard, public domain/United States Congress, YouTube screenshot/ABC News, public domain/United States Marshals Service, YouTube screenshot/videohack25, public domain/United States Congress)