How difficult is it to compete with Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination? Take it from someone who’s trying to run against her – it’s not easy.
At a breakfast with reporters in Washington organized by the Christian Science Monitor, Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee laid out all the obstacles he faces in taking on the Clinton juggernaut.
“I have a lot of work to do,” he acknowledged. “The reality is that Secretary Clinton has a huge head start, with all the endorsements and all the money, and the rest of us are left scrambling.”
Chafee surprised many when he got into the race, and he baffled more when he used his kick-off speech to call for a switch to the metric system. But this not Chafee's first rodeo, and the former senator and governor said he understands the challenges.
“I’ve been in 12 elections, all of which have been competitive. I’ve won 10 of them, so I know what it takes,” he said. “There’s been a lot of talk about what I don’t bring the to the table – a lack of organization, a lack of money. It ignores what I do bring.”
Indeed, Clinton has secured the endorsements of dozens of members of Congress, put together a sprawling and professional campaign organization and raised almost $50 million. Chafee has collected just $29,000 in donations.
Chafee also discussed the rise of his fellow New Englander Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose polling surge is “good for the Democratic Party,” Chafee said. “People say it’s authentic, and it is. There’s nothing phony about what he’s saying.”
The former Rhode Island governor connected Sanders to the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, and recalled marveling at how long demonstrators stayed camped out in Rhode Island’s harsh winter when he was governor.
“And I said to myself, this is the canary in the coal mine” Chafee said. “This income disparity is real, and we’ve got to do something about this.”