Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wildcard Democrat with rural ties could benefit during tonight's debate if others start bickering

While much of the focus of the Democratic presidential primary has been on Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the wildcard could be a lesser known candidate, who has much deeper ties to rural America, Rachel Weiner reports for The Washington Post. While "running an unconventional presidential campaign with little ground support, advertising or even public appearances" former Virginia senator Jim Webb "somehow manages to march on. And with an eclectic set of views that defy categorization, he has a chance to draw attention and find, or repel, a new audience" at tonight's debate. (Post photo by Melina Mara: Jim Webb prepares to speak at Iowa Democratic Party dinner in July)

"A one-term senator from Virginia, secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan and a Vietnam War veteran, Webb falls both to the left and right of Clinton," Weiner writes. Like Sanders, Webb "was an early opponent of the war in Iraq. Long before Black Lives Matter protesters demanded attention from the Democratic candidates, Webb was working on criminal justice reform in the Senate."

"Yet Webb holds conservative leanings as well," Weiner writes. "He opposes President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. After a white supremacist massacred nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, he called the symbolism of the Confederate flag 'complicated.' He speaks often of low-income white men as ignored and disparaged by the Democratic Party."

"His idiosyncratic views have not gotten traction so far," Weiner writes. "He polls in the low single digits both nationally and in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Unlike former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, he has not built a large campaign or tried aggressively to challenge front-runners Clinton or Sanders. Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said that reservation could be helpful in a debate. Republicans Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, he noted, surged in polls after debates during which they bypassed other candidates’ bickering." (Read more)

No comments: