There is a common theme going around Democratic circles that the Democratic Party would be stronger in the 2016 general election if some other candidates enter the race. The Boston Globe even suggested that Elizabeth Warren should run despite her statements to the contrary.
But is this the case? Should Warren run? I could see myself at some point voting for a candidate Warren. She is a very strong advocate on income inequality and does not need a wordsmith in presenting her words to the American public. Would her candidacy help the Democratic Party gain momentum and become stronger for a general election. History does show us that the Democrats can win after a long primary. President Obama won after a long fought primary with Hillary Clinton.
However, President Obama also won reelection without any primary fight. That should be enough proof in and of itself that a primary challenger is not needed to help a party win an election.
In fact, sometimes a primary challenger can harm a party. Jimmy Carter was rather unpopular in 1980. Having Ted Kennedy in the election did nothing to help the Democratic Party win the 1980 election against Ronald Reagan.
The last two examples are incumbents running. So why do I bring them up? We won’t have an incumbent in 2016, this is true. However, Hillary Clinton comes with so much popularity that she almost gets to be treated as if she was an incumbent in spirit even if not in reality. The GOP will likely have to run against Hillary Clinton as if she was an incumbent and as such they will have to spend less time focusing on what makes them the (supposedly) better choice. This helps Hillary. If Hillary gets an opponent in the primary that spends time slinging barbs at her, it is possible that this could help the GOP in the general election as well.
So what does this mean? Should we just blindly follow Hillary without question? Absolutely not. If a good candidate comes along and can make a compelling argument as to why he or she is a better choice than Hillary Clinton I may very well vote for him or her (well, that is if Louisiana has enough money to actually hold a primary and if I choose to change from a no party registration). But we should also not blindly support having an opponent to Hillary Clinton if doing so harms the future nominee.
In short, be careful what you wish for. It could come back to bite you in the ass.