TIME 2016 Election

Lindsey Graham Forces Foreign Policy On 2016 GOP Field

Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Lindsey Graham speaks at a press conference in Washington on January 13, 2015. Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The talk on the trail these days is focused on Main Street. But that could change.

At the moment his staff hit publish on a new pre-presidential campaign website, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had distinguished himself from the rest of the already unwieldy Republican 2016 field. “Security Through Strength,” was the name of his new group, with a military-style combat unit shield as its logo.

Foreign policy would be Graham’s focus, and his tack would be unmistakable: He would be the candidate who could update Ronald Reagan’s Cold War vision of “Peace Through Strength” for the ongoing battle against radical Islam. Visitors had to read a couple hundred words of filler before any mention of domestic policy appeared. “Graham is also a leader in cutting spending,” the copy reads. Also, as if it were an afterthought.

As a political strategy, this was a bold move, given that most of his challengers have been focused their rhetorical fire on the cause du jour, the economic frustrations of the struggling American middle class. But then presidential campaigns rarely end where they begin, as Graham’s biggest backer, Arizona Sen. John McCain learned well in his 2008 race. That contest began squarely in McCain’s wheelhouse, as a foreign policy debate over the Iraq War. But it ended with an economic crises that McCain was not equipped to handle. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” he was on record admitting in 2007.

There is a real potential for 2016 to follow the same pattern in reverse. Domestically, the economy remains stuck in neutral for most Americans, but gas prices are dropping, the labor market is firming, and the ground may be set for incomes begin to rise again. Overseas, however, the world is as tumultuous as it has been in a decade, with terrorist attacks in Europe, a virtual proxy war bubbling up between NATO and Russia in Ukraine, tense nuclear negotiations with Iran and Sunni radicals redrawing national boundaries in the Middle East.

In this environment, Graham stands relatively alone in clearly presenting a foreign policy vision. “I don’t think we’re anywhere close to the point where we need to be,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told TIME. Bolton is contemplating a run for president to keep foreign policy in the national conversation. “Having two paragraphs in a stump speech should not be confused with having a foreign policy,” he said.

Some would-be candidates have talked about foreign policy more than others. On Sunday evening at a panel hosted by a group affiliated with the Koch brothers, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who sits on the Foreign Relations committee, had as much criticism for the governors as he had for ideological rival Sen. Rand Paul, who has presented a more modest vision of U.S. power abroad. “Taking a trip to some foreign city for two days does not make you Henry Kissinger,” Rubio said, in apparent reference to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was at the Koch event and is planning a trip to the United Kingdom next month.

Similarly, Mitt Romney has made clear that foreign policy will be a central theme of his third run, should he choose to continue with the race. “The President’s dismissal of real global threats in his State of the Union address was naive at best and deceptive at worst,” Romney said Wednesday, in a speech before students in Mississippi.

But other Republicans, especially the deep bench of governors with White House ambitions, have yet to find their footing. Instead of offering a vision, they have been focused on schooling themselves in the arts of international trade craft.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been receiving briefings by a team including Bob Zoellick, the former president of the World Bank and U.S. Trade Representative, and Brian Hook, a former assistant secretary of state and Romney campaign advisor. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been soliciting briefings from foreign and domestic policy experts for more than a year to study up for a second campaign. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has co-authored a hawkish foreign policy white paper last year with former Sen. Jim Talent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who launched his political organization this week, is expected to start receiving policy briefings in the next several weeks, with Marc Thiessen, the American Enterprise Institute scholar—and co-author of Walker’s book—expected to play a key role.

The former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, supported his brother’s foreign policy while in office, but has rarely spoken out on more recent threats. Last month he called for strengthening, rather than weakening, the U.S. embargo on Cuba, for instance. It is not clear whether he has started formal briefings, but he has been reaching out to an array of experts in recent weeks, according to a person familiar with the calls.

Some Senate aides have pointed out that the state leaders could find themselves at a steep disadvantage in the general election. “We need someone who can credibly push back against Hillary Clinton’s failed record,” said an aide to one Senator eyeing the White House. “And the governors can’t do that.”

But governors may also have an advantage, not having their foreign policy so clearly defined before they run. Paul has been largely defined as an isolationist, while Rubio and Graham are affiliated with neo-conservatives, and Ted Cruz is has taken a hawkish line on many issues but favors budget cuts to defense programs.

“We don’t know very much of the foreign policy viewpoints of Jeb, Christie, and Walker,” said a veteran Republican policy aide to presidential candidates. “They have an opportunity to formulate and articulate the worldview that makes the most sense given time and space.”

That strategy works better if no one is forcing foreign policy questions into the debate at this early point in the cycle. In other words, a good day for Lindsey Graham, who enjoys easy access to the national press off the Senate floor, may be a bad one for many of his rivals in the months to come.

TIME

Mitt Romney to Attack Hillary Clinton in Speech

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland in 2013.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland in 2013. Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images

Said to be "seriously considering" another run at the White House, the former Republican presidential nominee will attack the Democratic frontrunner as 'clueless' on foreign policy and the economy

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will make his most forceful public case yet against likely Democratic contender Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions in a speech Wednesday at Mississippi State University.

According to his prepared remarks, Romney, who said earlier this month he is “seriously considering” another White House bid, will seek to tie the former Secretary of State’s record to that of President Barack Obama, who defeated him in the 2012 election. Romney laid out a three-pronged message for a potential candidacy in an address to the Republican National Committee in San Diego, but it largely focused on Obama, not his would-be Democratic rival.

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation,” Romney is to say. “The Middle East and much of North Africa is in chaos. China grows more assertive and builds a navy that will be larger than ours in five years. We shrink our nuclear capabilities as Russia upgrades theirs.”

Romney will also reference Clinton’s comments last year in a stump speech for Democratic Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley that “don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

“How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place?” Romney will say.

Clinton aides later said she had misspoken and meant to refer to tax breaks for businesses, but the line is sure to be a potent GOP attack in the coming campaign.

Romney is also set to restate his new focus on raising people out of poverty, a policy area on which his 2008 and 2012 campaigns were largely silent.

The former Massachusetts governor has been calling donors as he works to retain his political network should he decide to mount a third White House bid. But he faces new challenges this cycle, including a crowded field of qualified candidates and his self-inflicted wounds from the 2012 cycle. Many Republicans have openly expressed their preference that Romney step aside to allow a new generation of leaders to step up.

Democratic National Committee Communications Director Mo Elleithee responded to Romney’s attack on Clinton Wednesday afternoon in a statement. “We don’t really need to hear a lecture on ‘where jobs come from’ from a guy who’s best known for bankrupting companies and profiting off of outsourcing,” he said. “Under this Administration, we just saw the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s, and we’ve created 11 million private sector jobs. I don’t know if Mitt Romney thinks 47% of those folks are ‘takers,’ but I am sure he’s not the right guy to talk about expanding opportunity.”

Excerpts of Romney’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

“Following my campaign and the years since, there are three concerns that are foremost in my mind.

First, We need to help make the world a safer place. The President’s dismissal of real global threats in his State of the Union address was naive at best and deceptive at worst. We have only recently mourned with the people of France. Our hearts likewise go out to the people of Nigeria and Yemen. Hundreds and perhaps thousands were slaughtered by radical jihadists. ISIS represents a new level of threat given its oil revenues, vast territory, and ability to recruit even in the West. I don’t know how the President expects to defeat the jihadists if he won’t even call them what they are.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation. The Middle East and much of North Africa is in chaos. China grows more assertive and builds a navy that will be larger than ours in five years. We shrink our nuclear capabilities as Russia upgrades theirs.

Doesn’t the President understand that some of what we are seeing in the world is in part the result of his timid foreign policy, of walking away from his red line in Syria, of paring back our military budget, and of insulting friends like Israel and Poland? Strong American leadership is desperately needed for the world, and for America.

Second, we need to restore opportunity, particularly for the middle class. And that will soon include you–you deserve a job that can repay all you’ve spent and borrowed to go to college. Short term, our economy is looking up. But it is a lot better for the few, and pretty darn discouraging for the many. Incomes haven’t gone up in decades. And I can’t count how many recent college graduates I met who expected a high paying job at graduation and instead were waiting tables.

How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place? And how does President Obama expect to make America the best place on earth for businesses, as he promised in his State of the Union address, if he persists in business taxation that is the highest in the developed world, regulations that favor the biggest banks and crush the small ones, a complex and burdensome healthcare plan, and a slanted playing field for unions and trial lawyers. We need a president who will do what it takes to bring more good paying jobs to the placement offices of our college campuses.

And third, we need to lift people out of poverty. Almost every week during my campaign, I met folks who had fallen into poverty as result of an unfortunate event, like losing a job. These folks were almost uniformly optimistic about finding their way back into the middle class. But I also met folks who had been in poverty from generation to generation. These we have to help escape the tragedy and the trap of chronic generational poverty. For fifty years and with trillions of dollars, Washington has fought the war on poverty with failed liberal policies. They haven’t made any headway whatsoever. It’s finally time to apply conservative policies that improve America’s education system, promote family formation and create good-paying jobs.

TIME 2016 Election

The Palin v. Hillary Troll-Off of 2015

Sarah Palin
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) walks onstage to speak at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington on Sept. 26, 2014. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

At the Iowa Freedom Summit over the weekend, Sarah Palin did her very best to troll Hillary Clinton. At one point, she held up a “Ready for Hillary” car magnet and quipped, “I’m ready for Hillary.” The dig earned a cacophony of hooting and applause.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Super PAC Ready for Hillary, which has been laying the groundwork for a Clinton campaign for the past two years, fired back. The group launched a new online fundraising site that pictures a still frame of Palin holding up the Ready for Hillary car magnet—an obvious attempt to aggravate the Democratic base, which loves to hate the wink-prone former governor of Alaska.

“Sarah Palin says Republicans will be ready for Hillary,” the text above the photograph reads. “Let’s show her she’s wrong.” It urges Clinton supporters to pony up $20.16 or more for a Ready for Hillary car magnet of their own.

At the Iowa Freedom Summit, Palin struck a feminist note, which was itself a not-so-subtle dig at Clinton’s potential electoral strength as the first female president. Palin said there shouldn’t be a “no girls allowed” sign on the Oval Office door, but insinuated that the first female commander-in-chief should be her rather than Hillary.

Palin also played off the title of Clinton’s 1996 book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us, reminding her fellow conservatives that it will take a “village” to defeat Clinton, should the former Secretary of State win the Democratic nomination.

TIME 2016 Election

The Secret Meanings Behind the Names of Presidential Super PACs

Conservative Activists And Leaders Attend The Iowa Freedom Summit
Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, waves to the crowd during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015. Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Long before the campaign buttons and bumper stickers, today’s presidential candidates must create an outside fundraising committee. And while they aren’t always in total control of these groups, the names can be secret decoder rings that explain the central themes of the campaigns they are preparing.

Here’s a look at the names of five groups backing 2016 candidates and what they might signal.

Right to Rise

What is it? A leadership PAC and a separate super PAC

Who does it benefit? Former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida

Where does the name come from? The “right to rise” was coined by a historian to describe President Lincoln’s views on economic opportunity. After Rep. Paul Ryan used the phrase, Bush wrote a guest editorial about it in the Wall Street Journal in 2011.

What’s it mean? The name is a sign that Bush intends to focus on pocketbook issues for the middle class, which has been stuck with stagnant wages for more than a decade. The fact he embraced the term was also a key tipoff that Ryan was not going to run.

Our American Revival

What is it? A tax-exempt 527 organization

Who does it benefit? Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Where does the name come from? Walker used the phrase “our American revival” in a recent statement critiquing President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

What’s it mean? The term “revival” has religious undertones that Walker, a preacher’s kid, surely recognizes. It’s also a sign he intends to run as a bold, populist counterpoint to Obama’s tenure in Washington.

Leadership Matters for America

What is it? A political action committee

Who does it benefit? Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey

Where does the name come from? Christie used the phrase “leadership matters” during his 2012 keynote speech at the Republican presidential convention for Mitt Romney.

What’s it mean? Christie is running on his own personality and leadership style. He intends to highlight his time as governor as well as his brash and sometimes confrontational style to contrast himself with Obama and his Republican opponents.

Stand for Principle

What is it? A super PAC

Who does it benefit? Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas

Where does the name come from? In a 2014 speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Cruz argued that Republicans need to “stand for principle” in order to win elections.

What’s it mean? Cruz intends to run as the conservative choice among the Republican field, with an orthodoxy at the center of his message that will contrast him against past nominees such as Mitt Romney and John McCain, not to mention current contenders like Christie and Bush.

Ready for Hillary

What is it? A super PAC

Who does it benefit? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Where does the name come from? The super PAC was formed by Clinton supporters to build lists of grassroots supporters and recruit major donors before she announced a campaign.

What’s it mean? The name doesn’t portend much about Clinton’s campaign, since she didn’t choose it, at least not personally. But it does take on a central theme of the emerging Clinton juggernaut—the notion that America is now “ready” for a female president and that it’s Clinton’s turn after her 2008 primary loss.

TIME 2016 Election

Here’s Why Carly Fiorina Thinks She Can Best Criticize Hillary Clinton

US-POLITICS-HERITAGE
Carly Fiorina speaks about the economy at the Heritage Foundation on December 18, 2014. SAUL LOEB—AFP/Getty Images

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is gearing up to announce a White House bid this year, positioning herself as the Republican party’s chief critic of likely Democratic nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Fiorina begins as a relative unknown, and trails far in the polls. In a speech to the Iowa Freedom Summit, a conservative cattle call hosted by Rep. Steve King, Fiorina offered a preview of her anti-Clinton message, which she believes she, as the only other woman in the race, is best equipped to offer.

“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” she said. “But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.”

The full Clinton excerpt is below:

“We must understand our role in the world – which is to lead – and the nature of our allies and especially, our adversaries. Like Hillary Clinton, I too have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe. But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is not an accomplishment, it’s an activity. I have met Vladimir Putin and know that it will take more to halt his ambitions than a gimmicky red ‘Reset’ button. Having done business in over 80 countries and having served as the Chairman of the External Advisory Board at the CIA for several eyars, I know that China and Russia are state-sponsors of cyberwarfare and have a strategy to steal our intellectual property. I know Bibi Netanyahu and know that when he warns us that Iran is a danger to this nation as well as to his own, that we must listen. And unlike Hillary Clinton I know what difference it makes that our American Ambassador and three other brave Americans were killed in a deliberate terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9-11 in Libya. And apparently unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I know that the response of our nation must be more forceful that the arrest of a single individual a year later.”

A Republican strategist told TIME last year that Fiorina could be a potent weapon for the GOP in the coming cycle. “The most effective way to criticize a woman is to have another woman do it.”

TIME politics

How Elizabeth Warren Is Yanking Hillary Clinton to the Left

Rana Foroohar is TIME's assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business.

She may not run, but she’s already exerting a gravitational pull

Elizabeth Warren, the famously anti–Wall Street Senator from Massachusetts, has become the lunar goddess of liberal politics. Just as the moon pulls the tides, Warren is slowly but steadily towing the economic conversation in the Democratic Party to the left. Witness the barn-burning speech she gave on the Senate floor in December, railing against the fact that lobbyists from Citigroup and other big banks had been allowed to squeeze a rider into the latest congressional budget bill that would make it easier for federally insured banks to keep trading derivatives, which Warren Buffett once described as the “financial weapons of mass destruction” that sparked the 2008 crisis. Then there was her opposition to President Obama’s most recent Treasury nominee, Antonio Weiss, a banker who Warren told me “has no background to justify his nomination other than working for a big Wall Street firm.” (Weiss dropped out shortly after Warren began denouncing him.) Couple that with her continued calls to break up the big banks and criticism of policies espoused by longtime Democratic economic advisers like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers, and you’ve the makings of a consequential gravitational pull.

Warren is more than just a dogged critic. The former Harvard law professor’s influence comes in large part because she’s tapped into an existential crisis on the left: namely, liberals’ belated anxiety over the capture of the Democratic Party by high finance, which began two decades ago. Ronald Reagan might be the President most closely associated with laissez-faire economics, but both Republicans and Democrats have frequently turned to finance to generate quick-hit growth in tough times, deregulating markets or loosening monetary policy rather than focusing on underlying fixes for the real economy. Shrugging and citing a market-knows-best philosophy to avoid difficult political decisions has been a bipartisan exercise for quite a long time now.

And the anxiety is deepened because democrats, like Republicans, bear blame for the financial crisis of 2008. Jimmy Carter deregulated interest rates in 1980, a move that pacified consumers and financiers grappling with stagflation but also helped set the stage for the home-mortgage implosion. In 1999, as President Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Rubin signed off on the Glass-Steagall banking-regulation death certificate, a move that many, Warren included, believe was a key factor in worsening the crisis. Loose accounting standards supported by many Democrats during the Clinton years also encouraged the growth of stock options as the main form of corporate compensation, a trend that French academic Thomas Piketty, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and many other economists believe exacerbated the staggering gap between rich and poor in the U.S. today. I asked Warren whether she blamed such policies for our current wage stagnation, which has persisted despite robust economic growth. “I’d lay it right at the feet of trickle-down economics, yes,” she says. “We’ve tried that experiment for 35 years, and it hasn’t worked.”

Speculation has been rife that Warren might consider a presidential run of her own, taking on front runner Hillary Clinton just to make sure the same trickle-down team doesn’t end up in office again. When I ask her flatly if she’d run if she thought a Rubin or Summers would be making economic policy for the next four years, she paused. “I tell you … I’m going to do everything I can. I’m going to fight as hard as I have to. This has to change.”

Change won’t come easily. Resetting the economic table is not just about breaking up big banks or raising the minimum wage. Real change would mean grappling with a deep, multidecade shift from a society in which the state, the private sector and the individual all shared responsibility for economic risks to one in which individuals are now increasingly left on their own to pay for the trappings of a middle-class life–health care, education and retirement–while corporations capture a record share of the country’s prosperity without necessarily reinvesting in the common good. Complaining about too-big-to-fail banks, sleazy lobbyists and the 1% is easier than crafting an entirely new, inclusive growth policy.

Warren is likely to conjure more change by being a progressive foil to Clinton than by running herself. Her sway has old economists scrambling to learn new tricks. The Center for American Progress, a think tank with close ties to the Clintons, is releasing a new report on wages and the plight of the middle classes on Jan. 15. Its chief author: none other than Summers. Meanwhile, Clinton recently took an ideas meeting with Stiglitz, once considered too far left to touch. In politics, stars may rise, but the moon is constant.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME 2016 Election

Bernie Sanders: Class Warrior for President

Conference Committee Held For Veterans Affairs Reform Bill
Sen. Bernie Sanders, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol July 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee—Getty Images

The political philosophy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is not wanting for boogeymen. He sees them everywhere, overrunning Washington, distorting democracy, beating down the working family. It’s hard to go more than a few minutes into conversation before he begins to list them off. “People with incredible wealth and power,” he says. “The pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry, Wall Street, the military industrial complex.”

His great regret of Barack Obama is that the President never stood up like Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in 1936 to denounce the “economic royalists” of finance and industry, to “welcome their hatred.” “Point the finger at the billionaire class to say, ‘You know what, they hate my guts, the Koch brothers hate me, it’s all right. But I’m with you, and this is what we’re going to do,’ ” Sanders says.

In that shift from Roosevelt’s “economic royalists” to Sanders’ “billionaire class” lie the seeds of a nascent “class-based” presidential campaign that Sanders says he may unfurl as early as March. He has been traveling to New Hampshire and Iowa—”a beautiful state,” he says of the latter—while making the rounds on television news. He has drawn up a 12-step “Economic Agenda for America”—No. 9, not surprisingly, is “Taking on Wall Street”—and deliberating upon the best way to highlight the inequities that threaten the American experiment, so as to spark a grassroots brushfire.

During an hour-long visit to TIME’s Washington Bureau on Thursday, the junior Senator from Vermont, self-described “Democratic socialist” and incoming ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee laid out his vision for a presidential campaign, with all the requisite qualifications since he has yet to make a final decision on running.

If he takes the dive, the political independent who caucuses with Democrats will not spare his adopted party, a fact that is sure to cause headaches for the current heir to the liberal crown, Hillary Clinton. “People see the Democratic Party, which really once was the party of the American working class, really isn’t anymore,” he says. “They have over the years supported trade agreements from corporate America. They have not been vigorous in standing up for the kind of tax system that we need. They have not been vigorous enough in fighting for the kind of jobs programs that we need.” There is more: The deregulation of Wall Street under President Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin—”not a Republican,” notes Sanders. The too-small 2009 stimulus of Obama after the great recession. The hesitancy of so many in the party to declare healthcare a basic American right.

That said, he claims no interest in running a campaign that does not yield a large number of votes. He has run and lost protest campaigns before, but to do so now would risk marginalizing his own views. “If we don’t have a good campaign … it’s not just my ego that is hurt,” he says.

He has also not yet decided whether to mount a frontal assault on Hillary Clinton’s likely quest for the Democratic nomination, the most likely route to a consequential campaign. “I have not yet made the decision of whether to run as an independent or within the Democratic primary system,” he cautions, before noting that it is almost impossible for an independent to get on the ballot in states such as North Carolina. “But what I will not do is to create a situation where we elect a right-wing Republican as president.”

And how will he deal with campaign-finance system that increasing favors the candidate with the richest friends? He also says he sees no need to disarm by demanding his supporters eschew unlimited checks to SuperPACs, the big-spending political vehicles of the billionaires he decries. “When I am walking into a campaign where I will be outspent 50 to one, should the first thing that I do be to say I should be outspent 100-to-one?” he asks, rhetorically.

Asked about the familiar last names of the likely frontrunners, he agrees that the Bush and Clinton dynasties raise important issues for the country. “It’s an issue. How dynamic and vital is our American democracy? ” he asks. ” If your dad, or your husband in Hillary’s case, or your father in Jeb Bush’s case, or his brother, has a name that is nationally famous, you start off with a certain name advantage.”

Sanders’ dad sold paint in Brooklyn, and in Sanders’ last statewide campaign he raised only $7 million, about what the 2012 Obama campaign spent in a week during the 2012 election. But a true populist does not let odds get in his way. To quote FDR again, “The resolute enemy within our gates is ever ready to beat down our words unless in greater courage we will fight for them.” So Sanders, his hair always mussed, his Brooklyn accent unfaded, faces a choice, to fight on with his hat in the ring or from the safety of the Senate floor.

 

TIME society

A Few Forecasts on the Defining Questions of 2015

2015-light
Getty Images

Andrés Martinez is editorial director of Zócalo Public Square, for which he writes the Trade Winds column.

Be on the lookout for the unexpected shocks

My friend Greg long ago convinced me that instead of a laundry list of resolutions, what we really need every New Year is just one catch-all aspirational slogan, more likely to be remembered past January. Like “Find the fix in ’06.” When I crowd-sourced the challenge of a slogan for this new year, a wise 10-year-old I know came up with, “See the unseen in ’15.”

I like it because it is both a timeless exhortation – to expand one’s horizons – and a particularly timely one. The year 2015 – the far-away year Marty McFly travels to in the 1980s classic Back to the Future — is shaping up, ironically, to be a year when the reassuringly familiar reasserts itself. Such mainstays as the Bush-versus-Clinton dynastic feud, the Star Wars saga, interest rates, U.S. power around the world, the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, and the telephone all are poised to make a comeback this year. But don’t trust me: Grab a half-dozen Post-it notes and make a few forecasts of your own on the defining questions of 2015.

Before going any further, however, I realize my last comeback suggestion might seem absurd: that the phone, used as such, as in the lost art of dialing and talking, is back. But the hacking of Sony in late 2014 may prove a tipping point forcing people in many different workplaces to avoid putting certain things in writing. “Call me” may turn out to be among the most emailed words in 2015, shedding their once ominous overtones to become shorthand for, “I have something juicy to say about this, but I would be crazy to write it.” Here’s an interesting forecast close to home: Write on your first Post-it whether you think you will spend more or less time talking on your phone in 2015 than in 2014 (and figure it out at year’s end).

In politics, 2015 is shaping up to be a throwback year as Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton explore, and likely announce, their 2016 presidential bids. Will Bush or Mitt Romney or someone less aligned with the party’s business wing (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz?) be ahead in the GOP’s polls as 2015 comes to a close, on the eve of primary season? Write down your prediction (eschewing email for obvious reasons). And, if it is Bush riding high, will the dynastic hue of the contest affect how voters view Clinton?

The appeal of the familiar is understandable: The country has had a hard time settling into a semblance of normalcy pretty much since the start of this millennium, buffeted by a series of booms and busts, not to mention wars. Now the Federal Reserve, the institution wielding the greatest (if underappreciated) power over our financial affairs, is coaxing us to be OK with going back to normal. 2015 is when the Fed plans to put an end to its emergency measure of keeping the important benchmark interest rate it charges financial institutions at essentially zero. One defining story line for the year is whether this is seen as a vote of confidence in the economy, or whether it spooks markets addicted to artificial stimulation. Use a third Post-it note to guess whether the Dow Industrials Average will crack 20,000 and end 2015 above that level, which is slightly more than 10 percent higher than it is today.

In either case, the United States will look like a safe haven compared to much of the world. Our lead in all aspects of information technology keeps growing. We’re experiencing a manufacturing renaissance. We are well on our way to becoming one of the world’s lowest-cost (and self-sufficient) energy producers. 2014 started with a barrel of oil costing some $20 more than a share of Apple. The year closed with a surging share of Apple costing almost twice as much as a plummeting barrel of oil ($114 to $60). Go ahead and forecast on your fourth Post-it which of these two (Apple share or barrel of oil) will cost more at the end of 2015, and what the spread will be.

It should become clearer in the coming year that America has gotten its mojo back. It isn’t only our economic prowess. There’s also a renewed acceptance of American power and influence in much of the world, courtesy of Vladimir Putin’s antics, China’s extraterritorial assertiveness, the implosion of the anti-American left in Latin America, and all the global challenges – climate change, pandemics like Ebola, the persistence of radical Islamist terrorism – that still require U.S leadership.

This desire on the part of many countries for closer ties, coupled with America’s renewed economic confidence and domestic political trends, might make possible an ambitious trans-Pacific trade deal. And that would signal to the world that America is no longer stuck in the Middle East. On your fifth Post-it forecast a ranking of Iraq, Ukraine, Mexico, and China, according to the number of times each is mentioned in 2015 in The New York Times.

Meanwhile, information technologies continue to empower us. But now the revolution turns inward, as the next frontier of the Information Age that brought the outside world to our fingertips – the next great unseen that we will see – will be within ourselves. 2015 will be the year of the iWatch and other tracking and diagnostic technologies – some wearable, some in your medicine cabinet, others like cheaper, faster and less intrusive blood tests at the nearby drugstore – that will allow us to acquire unprecedented self-knowledge.

This will keep the topic of inequality alive, as we talk about how such technologies create a new “digital divide.” I don’t have a clever forecasting prompt here for your last Post-it, but rather a question worth jotting down and contemplating: What does it mean for a society to have some people walking around with sophisticated dashboards measuring their well-being, while many others don’t, and remain in the dark? That seems qualitatively different than having the divide being defined around one’s access to knowledge of China or finances.

As bullish as I am on 2015, I should caution readers that I am usually optimistic at the start of every new year. It must be a personal flaw. And that’s why “See the unseen in 2015” is a perfect personal slogan, and not just as an exhortation to climb a mountain or go on safari or avail myself of these self-tracking technologies. The slogan is an antidote to my own complacency, a cautionary admonition to be on the lookout for the unexpected shocks that can upset my rosy scenarios.

After all, no one has ever said that, when it looked like nothing could go wrong, nothing went wrong. Happy New Year.

Andrés Martinez is editorial director of Zocalo Public Square, for which he writes the Trade Winds column. He is also a professor of journalism at Arizona State University. He wrote this for Zocalo Public Square. Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME 2016 Election

The 9 Times Hillary Clinton Has Taken a Stand Since 2013

USA - Hillary Clinton speaks at Iowa Senator Tom Harken'a annual Steak Fry
Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton gazes pensively into the distance at Iowa Senator Tom Harken'a annual Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa on September 14, 2014. Brooks Kraft—Corbis for TIME

Like other presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton had an opinion on just about everything in 2008. How to reform the U.S. health care system? Check. What to do about climate change? Check. Even minor issues like how to lower the price of gas required her to come up with a plan.

But when she became Secretary of State, Clinton followed tradition and kept her opinions to herself, especially on domestic policy. And since leaving Foggy Bottom in 2013, she’s mostly avoided specifics.

She says she’s in favor of protecting the environment, for example, but has yet to stake out her position on fracking or the Keystone XL pipeline. She says she’s against eliminating net neutrality, but has yet to say what, exactly, the government ought to do to protect it. And while she’s talked a big game about U.S. military engagement abroad, it’s unclear how her positions on, say, Ukraine or Iraq would differ from those of President Obama.

That ambiguity is understandable. She doesn’t hold public office. She’s not officially on the ballot. And committing to a position publicly limits her future options, politically. But given how many times she hasn’t taken a position on the issue of the day, it’s worth noting the handful of times she has.

Here’s a look at the nine most substantive policy positions Clinton has staked out since stepping down as Secretary of State.

1) The U.S. needs serious immigration reform. When President Obama announced his controversial executive order in November shielding up to five million undocumented immigrants, Clinton tweeted her approval within minutes, and then followed up with a statement calling for immediate, bipartisan and comprehensive immigration that would “focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families.”

2) The U.S. should have armed the rebels in Syria. In an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in August, Clinton blamed the rise of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, on the U.S. not doing enough to support moderate rebels when the Syrian civil war first broke out. “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” she said. That said, Clinton’s ideas on how to rout ISIS now appear to be more or less the same as Obama’s.

3) Gay people should be allowed to marry. In March 2013, Clinton formally announced in her support for gay marriage, marking a major reversal of the position she’d held for decades. Her rivals criticized her for jumping on the bandwagon only after the issue of gay marriage had become widely acceptable, but she defended herself as a “thinking human” who is allowed to “evolve” on issues.

4) Americans shouldn’t torture people. At a human rights awards dinner in December, Clinton made her first public comments about torture since the Senate released its controversial report on the issue earlier this month. She said unequivocally that she is against illegal renditions and brutal interrogation methods. “The U.S. should never condone or practice torture anywhere in the world,” she said.

5) The federal government should raise the minimum wage. In a speech at a campaign event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in October, Clinton told the crowd not to “let anyone tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs – they always say that.” She then went on to defend raising the federal minimum wage. As a senator, Clinton repeatedly proposed legislation that would automatically increase the federal minimum wage anytime members of Congress saw their own pay increase.

6) Negotiating with Iran is a good idea, so long as the U.S. gets a good deal. Much to the chagrin of many in the pro-Israel crowd, Clinton has not only expressed support for the administration’s negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program, she has taken credit for initiating the secret talks back in 2012. In the past year, she has lightly tempered that unequivocal support by cautioning that the U.S. should be careful about what it concedes to, repeating that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

7) The U.S. shouldn’t trust Putin. At a speaking event this year, Clinton called the Russian President an arrogant bully. As Secretary of State, she said she was in favor of the Obama administration’s “reset” policy with Russia, but her opinion of the policy appears to have cooled. “I think that what may have happened, is that both the United States and Europe were really hoping for the best from Putin as a returned president,” she told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview in July. “And I think we’ve been quickly, unfortunately, disabused of those hopes.” While those seem like fightin’ words, policy analysts point out that it’s less clear how Clinton’s distrust of Putin would translate to a change in actual U.S. policy—much less potential military engagement—in Ukraine.

8) All American kids should get free, high-quality pre-K. Anyone remotely familiar with Clinton’s resume won’t find this to be much of a shocker, but early-childhood education is one of the issues she’s been most outspoken about in the last two years. She’s advocated for everything from universal pre-K and free nurse home-visits for at-risk mothers, to expanding existing programs, like Head Start and paid family leave.

9) #Blacklivesmatter. Clinton took a shellacking this fall for failing to say much one way or an another on the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and about the Eric Garner case in New York. At an awards ceremony in December, she broke her silence—kinda. “Yes, black lives matter,” she said, but then failed to elaborate. She has yet to say whether she’s in favor of broad sentencing reform, body cameras on police, or how she might limit what military equipment is available to police forces.

TIME Politicians

Hillary Clinton Is Named America’s ‘Most Admired Woman’

The presidential contender beat out Oprah

Americans named Hillary Clinton the woman they admire most of anywhere in the world, a new poll found, for the 17th time in 18 years.

When Gallup asked a random sampling of Americans who is the living female they admire most, 12% named Clinton. The former Secretary of State was followed by Oprah Winfrey at 8% and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafazi at 5%.

Gallup

Obama was named the most admired man, garnering 19% of votes.

The presidential contender held the top women’s spot every year between 1997 and 2014 except following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, when the title was awarded to Laura Bush. Clinton also held the designation when she was First Lady in 1993 and 1994.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser