1. Life is unpredictable. Clinton will be 69 years old on Inauguration Day 2017, nearly the oldest president ever. She has had a few health scares. By all accounts, she left her previous four-year stint in government service exhausted. She might not run, and the Democrat in second place in the polls, Vice President Joe Biden — 74 on Inauguration Day — is too old to be president. Beyond them, Democrats have nobody — except Elizabeth Warren.
2. Parties need competition. The primary process isn’t just to allow voters to pick a nominee. It’s for the candidates to become better candidates. The rigors of campaigning, the day-to-day jostle with competitors and the stress of high-profile debates all make candidates better. Conversely, a cakewalk through the primaries could leave a nominee in poor fighting shape for a general election. Warren would make Clinton a better candidate, and vice-versa.
3. The Left wants a hero. Clinton has never really excited the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party. They see her as an overcautious centrist like her husband, and on top of that, many have never forgiven her for voting to authorize the war in Iraq. Warren, on the other hand, has thrilled the Left with her attacks on inequality, plutocrats and big financial institutions.
4. Hillary ran a dumb campaign in 2008 and might do so again. For a group of seasoned veterans, the 2008 Clinton campaign showed a stunning ignorance of how to win delegates in a Democratic contest. Rival Barack Obama exploited that weakness brilliantly. For example, Obama collected more net delegates by winning the Idaho caucuses, with 21,000 participants, than Clinton did by winning the New Jersey primary, with more than 1 million voters.
Clinton just didn’t pay attention to the smaller stuff, particularly the caucuses, and her cluelessness helped Obama win. It might help another rival in 2016.