MSNBC Panel: Democrats 'Don't Have a Bench' and Hillary Doesn't Have a Message

March 23, 2015

Morning Joe panel decried Hillary Clinton's lack of a campaign message and the Democratic Party's dearth of viable candidates behind her Monday.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski asked Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein to define Clinton's message as a presidential candidate in 10 seconds, something she's asked others, such as Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.). Like Kaine, Stein had difficulty articulating what it would be.

"That's impossible," he said. "I don't think she has a message right now."

Brzezinski contrasted Clinton with liberal darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), whose populist rhetoric has won her devoted fans on the Left. Brzezinski followed up with Stein, who said Clinton's message would likely be gendered given her status as a "historic" candidate.

"Unlike 2008, where she rarely mentioned the historic nature of what she was trying to do, you can already see it in what she's doing, whether it's on Twitter or in some of these speeches, which is saying she'll bring a perspective to the presidency that's never been brought before," he said. "That's her message."

"I was trying to make a point," Brzezinski said. "One has a message. The other doesn't."

"That's very true," Stein said.

Contributor Donny Deutsch then wondered aloud why the Democrats had so few people to consider besides Clinton.

"Sam, does it surprise you in this great land of ours there are no other up and coming Democrats?" Deutsch asked. "There are so many interesting characters on the Republican side. Young, you know, of various races, of various points of view, and you would think there would be a governor somewhere, there would be a mayor of a city."

"This is a huge problem for the Democrats," Stein said. "They don't have a bench ... There is not a young, viable Democratic bench out there in part because of the midterm losses that Obama has sustained, and in part because of gerrymandering. This is a problem that strategists talk with increasing alarm about."