Friday, August 9, 2013

2016 POTUS Picture Still Cloudy

Likely Not the 2016 Transition Picture
It's still a couple of election cycles away, but that hasn't stopped political pundits from speculating about 2016 and the next Presidential race.

Many Democrats are hoping that Hillary Clinton gives it another try.  If you take her at her word, she actually says that she doesn't see herself running for President.  That could make things pretty interesting on the Democratic side.  I don't think the final chapter has been written on Hillary 2016.

Another big name that hasn't ruled out a run is 2004 candidate Howard Dean.  Dean's meteoric rise came crashing down long before the "Dean Scream" speech in Iowa after he placed third in the caucuses.  Since 2004, Dean has built himself a record of strength as the former Chair of the DNC and one of the minds behind the 50-state strategy that carried Barack Obama to victory in 2008.

Then, of course, there's Vice President Joe Biden.  Joe is a wild card in all of this.  He would be one of the oldest candidates ever for the office, but he certainly is one you simply can't count out.  Biden's experience in the legislative and executive branches would be unmatched.

If these three don't run, be sure that Democrats will find a candidate.  Martin O'Malley, Andrew Cuomo, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand are just a few of the names that I've pulled up in Google searches.  Any of them would be compelling candidates.

The view on the Republican side is a bit more murky.

As the Week points out in an online piece by Peter Webber, Republicans have a habit of nominating the runner-up from last time around. If that’s so, that means that Rick Santorum will be their nominee in 2016. While Santorum appeals to conservative Christians and the pro-life movement, he won’t find much support from moderate Republicans or moderate Democrats. Santorum appears interested in running again. If the GOP wants to nominate him, the Democrats would love that scenario.I’m not sure that the Republicans want to nominate him. Santorum will likely be in the race, and it could also include some of the other 2012 alumni.

So, who will run?  A recent poll by Rasmussen gives New Jersey Governor Chris Christie the early advantage. Republicans on the far right believe Christie is a RINO, but that could be just the moderate shot in the arm the national GOP needs.  While he has a lot of bluster, Christie's positions on key national issues are not really tested, and it remains to be seen if he has the temperament to be POTUS.  Other Governors could give it a run.  Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley are just two of the state executives rumored to be interested.

Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz are all interesting.  Paul is the darling of Libertarians and libertarian-leaning Republicans, but I believe some of that is just leftover from the coalition Paul's father has built all these years.  Rubio has shown he can work across the aisle with immigration, but his brief moment on the national stage drew ridicule.  Ted Cruz has been getting attention, but it's mostly because he's been saying some goofy things. 

It's also easy to gloss right over Paul Ryan.  Mitt Romney, who is not likely to run again, selected Ryan as his VEEP nominee in 2012, of course.  That national campaign experience and name recognition could help Ryan should he decide to pursue a 2016 run.

All of this means that it's just far too early to make any definitive statements about 2016.  It's going to take some time for these speculations to become reality.

No comments: