8 Questions

Dan Balz on the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte

Question 8: Who will be jockeying in Charlotte for attention for 2016?

Because this is Obama’s last campaign, win or lose, one of the subthemes of the convention in Charlotte will be the speculation about who will lead the party four years from now.

In Tampa, there was considerable focus on the rising generation of Republicans who, if Romney loses, will be competing for their party’s nomination in 2016. Republicans will have a large cast of younger leaders from which to choose.

Democrats have a different dynamic. The conversation in Charlotte will start with questions about two members of the administration: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Biden.

Clinton has said she will leave her post at the end of the year and has given no indication that she wants to run for president again. But she’ll be under tremendous pressure to do so. Biden has wanted to be president since he first ran in 1988. Until he says he won’t run, he, too, could block some younger Democrats.

If neither of them decides to run, then the list could be long: governors, senators, other members of the Cabinet, even Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, if his keynote address lights up the arena the way Obama’s did in Boston eight years ago.

“Charlotte will be one-stop shopping for the operatives, activists, donors and other core players that will help some of these potential candidates establish themselves and get traction in the invisible primary that begins on November 7th,” Democratic strategist Michael Feldman said.