If Hillary doesn't run in 2016, here are 10 Democrats who could

What's propping up Hillary Clinton's presidential prospects is the conviction that Democrats have no bench. Here are 10 prospects, with former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley heading the list.

Kathy Willens/AP
New York City Deputy Mayor Richard Buery (l.) opens a curtain for Hillary Rodham Clinton during a visit to First StepNYC, an early childhood development center in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Wednesday. Former State Department Secretary Clinton is a strong favorite to win her party's nomination for president in 2016, but the Democratic bench is not as empty as some suggest.

So, let’s assume that Hillary doesn’t run for the White House, for a second.

She wiped her servers clean, she lied to the public about wanting to to send e-mails from only one device, her top staffer had an unusually cozy and lucrative relationship with a shadowy PR front group that is being probed by the Senate, the relationship between her and her husband is a bit unique, and her husband’s former paramour and intern is now starring on The View.

So, let just posit that Hillary becomes untenable as a presidential candidate. The one thing that is propping her up is the sad fact that the Democrats have no bench. Who will run if Hillary doesn’t run, the question goes.

Here are my power Top 10 rankings about the Democratic field, sans Hillary.

10) Amy Klobuchar: The Minnesota Democratic senator is widely viewed as whip-smart and she fits a key demographic for the Democrats, being a woman and all. She doesn’t have a particular constituency and she doesn’t have much of a national constituency, but she still deserves a spot on the Top 10..

9) Deval Patrick: Former governor, African-American, friend of Barack, former client of David Axelrod. He did such a good job as governor that the Republicans took back the governor’s mansion after he left.

8) Andrew Cuomo: Cuomo should be higher on the list, but he is so unlikeable, he is stuck at No. 8. A nasty divorce with a member of the Kennedy Family doesn’t help things.  But he is tough and will have access to New York money.

7) Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa: The former Mayor of Los Angeles is smart, good-looking and probably the leading Hispanic Democratic possibility.  He is a good fundraiser and if he decides to run, he could make a splash with a key Democratic constituency.

6) Kirsten Gillibrand: Harry Reid once described her as “the hottest United States senator” which I am sure made the New York Democrat blush.  Either that or turn red in anger. Gillibrand is ambitious, plenty smart, and tough as nails. Also would have access to New York money.

5. Jerry Brown: As the successful governor of the largest economy west of the Mississippi, Brown has a real record he could point to. He has fixed the California budget problem (largely) and by comparison, he looks rational. He is old, but so is the vice president.

4) Bernie Sanders: The Vermont Democrat gets a high rating because he has pretty much announced he is running, and you can’t win unless you run.  Sanders speaks the language of the Democratic base, which is high on socialist/conspiracy theory/class warfare rhetoric and low on any actual real-world solutions. But hey, it works for the Democrats!

3) Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts marvel checks many boxes for the Democrats. She is a woman. She hates big business. She hates the banks. She speaks class warfare good. She stays on message. She represents a minority class.

2) Joe Biden: Uncle Joe is a notorious groper, mangles the English language with a plethora of malapropisms, and is wrong on almost every foreign policy call (he voted no on the Osama Bin Laden operation, for example). And yet, he is the vice president, and that gives him a huge advantage should he decide to run for president.  HUGE ADVANTAGE.

1) Martin O’Malley: He is No. 1 because he is the only guy (outside of Bernie Sanders) who has made clear that he is going to run. I happen to think it’s hard for a white guy to get the Democratic nomination these days, and I assume that when Hillary announces she is isn’t going to run, others will throw their hats in the ring. But the former Maryland Governor right now gets the nod because you can’t win unless you run. He is a liberal and he plays in an Irish rock band. So he has got that going for him.

John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at http://www.thefeeherytheory.com/.

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