The 2016 Democratic presidential field is likely to run to the left of President Obama, partly because candidates will try to distance themselves from his political baggage while jockeying for an increasingly liberal base of voters, analysts predict.
Prospective candidates and their surrogates insist it’s too early to tell what kind of standing Mr. Obama will have with voters and whether he will be seen as damaged goods the way President Bush was for Republicans in 2008.
But discontent is brewing within the Democratic Party over what some see as Mr. Obama’s concessions to Republicans.
Those Democratic voters will be looking for candidates willing to slide further to the left, especially on economic issues.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the next Democratic candidate is likely to be more populist than Obama has been. I think you might see [Hillary Rodham Clinton] move in that direction. I think you might see any major challenger to her move in that direction,” said Mike Lux, co-founder and CEO of the consulting firm Progressive Strategies who has worked on five presidential campaigns. “I think you will see that rumbling under the surface, that a Democrat is going to need to run a more populist campaign. I don’t think it will be an open, outright distancing from Obama, but just a much more populist version” of the Obama approach.