MSNBC host Chris Hayes: America deserves Bush-Clinton election in 2016

While no votes have been cast in the 2014 election, a panel of journalists at the Texas Tribune Festival discussed the next presidential election in 2016.

The panel was made up by Maggie Haberman, senior political reporter for Politico; Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” and editor-at-large of The Nation; Nia-Malika Henderson, national political reporter for The Washington Post; Jonathan Martin, national political correspondent for The New York Times; and David Weigel, political reporter for Slate. Evan Smith, the CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, moderated the panel.

Any discussion about 2016 cannot avoid one topic: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The panel agreed that she will run for president, but she is not guaranteed to win the White House.

“None of us said that we think Hillary Clinton is inevitable, frankly, in either case, but certainly not for the general election,” Haberman said. “We just said she’s the overwhelming favorite.”

While Clinton may be the favorite to win the Democratic nomination, Haberman said that the Democrats need to have a primary for her to sharpen her skills because Republicans will take shots at her during their own primary.

Martin said that Clinton is the most anti-Obama candidate in the field, more so than any of the possible Republican candidates.Haberman even went out to say that she’s running for the third term of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Regardless of how Hillary Clinton runs her eventual campaign, Smith said that, “the election will be conducted against the backdrop of the Obama administration in the way that the 2008 race was conducted against the backdrop of the Bush administration.”

The exact role Obama will play in the election is unclear right now, but Hayes believes that he will play the same role that Obamacare is playing in the current election.

“(Obamacare) has converted into this bizarre issue that doesn’t seem to be a huge help for either party and is increasingly just not discussed. In a weird way, that will essentially be the role of Barack Obama,” he said.

While the panel agreed that Hillary Clinton will be the most likely Democratic nominee, the Republican field is much more unsettled.

The GOP’s candidates will be a collection of D.C. people versus non-D.C. people, ranging from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to Smith.

For Hayes, the most interesting aspect of the Republican primary will be the battle over foreign policy between the establishment candidates — like Christie — and libertarian candidates — like Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

“I’m looking forward to those battles because there’s a lot to it,” Hayes said. “I think the big question mark is Jeb Bush because I really think that Jeb Bush-Hillary Clinton is the election America really deserves.”

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