Written by Julia Porterfield and Joe Kaiser
We may be two years out from the heat of the 2016 Presidential election, but that doesn’t mean the campaigning hasn’t already begun. In a few short months, both Republicans and Democrats will be in the final steps of deciding whether or not they should have a go at the most valued, and powerful position in the United States of America: Commander-in-Chief.
Although many on the Left and in the media are desperately trying to convince the public that Hillary Clinton will be President Obama’s successor, that is nothing more than a pipe dream. Clinton may run in 2016 (find out what we think below), but the political climate is changing. Example? 2014.
Like the 2010 mid-term elections, 2014 is shaping up to be a big year for Conservatives– something Liberals know will affect 2016 if Republicans don’t mess up like they did between ’10 and ’12. Liberals are scrambling. After a 2-year hiatus following her disastrous handling of the Benghazi attack, Hillary Clinton is back in the spot-light testing the political waters with a tour for her new book, Hard Choices. Much to Democrats dismay, it isn’t going that well. The Washington Free Beacon’s recent Hillary bombshell has also thrown a wrench in Democrat plans for Hillary to be the 2016 “Chosen One.”
Meanwhile, Republican favorite and 2016 front runner Senator Rand Paul (KY) is continually topping Presidential polls throughout the country. Paul’s constant presence in headlines across the broad spectrum of Conservative and Liberal media keeps him a topic of discussion. For the past two years in a row, Senator Paul has handily won the CPAC straw poll, and likely will again in 2015. However, Rand’s early domination doesn’t scare away other 2016 hopefuls.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been flirting with a run for the past year-or-so by strengthening his involvement with the GOP, successfully winning re-election, and becoming Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Gov. Christie’s moderate counterpart, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, has also increased his participation with the Republican party, leading many to believe he will be the heir of the Bush family thrown by joining the race.
On the other side of the GOP, most potential candidates are mostly lying low. Some speculate Tea Party darling Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) is contemplating a shot at 2016 because he recently renounced his Canadian citizenship, but for the moment, it’s just that– speculation. Cruz would likely receive a fair amount of support, however, many view him as a cornerstone of the coming Conservative takeover of the United States Senate. A Presidential run could compromise the integrity of that goal.
Needless to say, 2016 is upon us. Mere months from now, the first few candidates on both sides will be formally announcing their campaigns. Each month leading up to the election, Red Millennial will be posting a new volume of “Road to the White House.” In each issue, we will provide new information about both Democrat and Republican candidates in the race and a ranking of where they stand: Maybe, Likely, Definitely, and Wildcard.
Candidate Standings June 2014
- Nikki Haley
- Why she should: As Governor of South Carolina, Haley has improved the state through job creation, education reform, is very well liked, and has extensive leadership experience.
- Why she shouldn’t: She hasn’t been around long enough to build a strong base of support which she would need in order to win against her Democratic challenger.
- Susana Martinez
- Why she should: Breaks the old, white male mold. Makes the GOP seems less tone def on immigration. Record of closing budget deficit. High approval rating in a blue state.
- Why she shouldn’t: Might be too moderate for a conservative base hungover from McCain/Romney
- Brian Sandavol
- Why he should: Very popular governor. Hispanic who opposes amnesty.
- Why he shouldn’t: Pro-choice. Conservative base might not be ready for a pro-civil unions candidate.
- Ben Carson
- Why he should: As “outsider” as it gets. Adored by conservatives following Prayer Breakfast speech last year.
- Why he shouldn’t: Zero political experience. Might be better served remaining an outsider.
- Jon Huntsman
- Why he should: Successful governor with very credible overseas experience. Broad appeal
- Why he shouldn’t: Worked in the Obama administration. Would probably be the most moderate candidate running. Not well-liked by conservative base. 2012 campaign was pretty poorly managed.
- Jeb Bush
- Why he should: He’s the establishment’s hand-picked candidate so he can expect the money to pour into his pocket. If he shakes his last name, he could find support with independents.
- Why he shouldn’t: Bushphobia. Immigration.
- Scott Walker
- Why he should: Walker has a record of closing budget deficit, taking on unions and the left by surviving an aggressive recall election in 2012.
- Why he shouldn’t: Not really discussed/organized outside the mid-west.
- Rick Santorum
- Why he should: Very popular with social conservatives. Surprisingly became the biggest threat to Romney in 2012.
- Why he shouldn’t: Represents the old guard of the GOP. Voted for Medicare part D, No Child Left Behind, lots of spending under Bush. Very aggressive on foreign policy, still strongly defended the Iraq War in last campaign. Well-known opposition to same-sex marriage might be unpopular with independents who are becoming more and more supportive of it.
- Rick Perry
- Why he should: Perry has a great economic story to tell with his track record of bringing jobs to Texas.
- Why he shouldn’t: Three reasons: 1.) Disastrous 2012 campaign 2.) Might not have broad appeal outside conservative base 3.)
- Bobby Jindal
- Why he should: As an Indian American, his candidacy would be historic. He is very popular in his home state and has experience in Washington as well. He also has a background in both health and education, making credible on several key issues.
- Why he shouldn’t: Does he have the most impressive tenure as a governor? No, see Perry and Walker. Is he the most anti-establishment conservative? No, he is vice-chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Is he from a swing state? No. It could potentially be tough for Jindal to stand out in a crowded field.
- Paul Ryan
- Why he should: Ryan already has a ton of national exposure for his VP bid, and is often looked at as one of the more credible Republican voices in Washington on budget issues. He’s young, bright and has some appeal for both conservatives and the establishment.
- Why he shouldn’t: His entire professional life has been dedicated to politics, whether that is him holding office himself or previously working as a speechwriter. He’s now loosely tied to Romney’s loss, and the left is sure to label him as anti-poor and anti-minority for his budget proposals. Also, if Walker ran, how does that affect Ryan’s appeal?
- Rand Paul
- Why he should: Vastly popular Senator who has gained droves of supporters in the short time he’s been in public office. Unlike most politicians, Sen. Paul would pull votes from each sector of the GOP. Pulls from father’s large bases in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationally.
- Why he shouldn’t: TBA.
- Chris Christie
- Why he should: As Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie is a proven leader and well liked by his constituents.
- Why he shouldn’t: Many Republicans don’t like how friendly he is with Democrats and his more moderate stances.
- Mike Huckabee
- Why he should: Undetermined.
- Why he shouldn’t: Although the former Arkansas Governor polls strongly among evangelical voters, he lacks support across the board.
- Marco Rubio
- Why he should: TBA
- Why he shouldn’t: Rubio was once a rising star in the Tea Party, but his support for amnesty caused him to be thrown out with the garbage by most Conservatives.
- Peter King
- Why he should: If there are any neoconservatives left, Peter King is their guy.
- Why he shouldn’t: There probably aren’t many neoconservatives left, and therefore King’s appeal is slim to none. If he ran, there would be no one more aggressive on foreign policy and he would echo the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham. His comments about being motivated to run for president just to stop Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will probably turn off most if not all conservatives.
Wildcard: Ted Cruz
Nominee: Rand Paul
- John Hickenlooper
- Why he should: Being governor of one the first states to legalize marijuana, Hickenlooper might be an attractive candidate if he can bring an issue like that to the mainstream. That same issue would excite the left. Democrats haven’t nominated a governor since Bill Clinton.
- Why he shouldn’t: He doesn’t have a ton of name recognition nationally and probably wouldn’t stack up well against a star like Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren.
- Rahm Emanuel
- Why he should: Skilled politician, with plenty of connections, including Obama.
- Why he shouldn’t: There is a very good chance Rahm does not even survive his 2015 reelection in Chicago. He comes across as abrasive and sometimes mean, and that same Obama connection that could help could very well hurt considerably.
- Bernie Sanders
- Why he should: Sanders is a hero of the far-left and has already stated he is prepared to run for president in 2016.
- Why he shouldn’t: If the Democrats are looking at electability, a far-left, 72-year-old senator who isn’t even in their own party (he caucuses with Democrats despite being an Independent) isn’t the best choice.
- Martin O’Malley
- Why he should: O’Malley already said he is “laying the framework” for a run in 2016, and he might be the safest bet for the Democrats. He’s relatively young (51), has not been in Washington and keeps with the party line on most issues.
- Why he shouldn’t: Boring? While also probably being the safest pick, the left might want to go for a home run with someone like Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton or even Andrew Cuomo. Sometimes being “the most electable” isn’t being the most exciting.
- Andrew Cuomo
- Why he should: He’s the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and brother of CNN reporter Chris Cuomo, so his last name has had plenty of exposure besides his own tenure as governor. The left loves him for being strongly supportive of same-sex marriage and tough on gun control.
- Why he shouldn’t: There wouldn’t be a single conservative to cross over and vote for him, so would independents? Also, not that it should matter, but the media would likely bring up his divorce from Kerry Kennedy at some point.
- Brian Schweitzer
- Why he should: Schweitzer can run to the far left of Clinton on foreign policy and civil liberties and would be appealing to liberals uncomfortable with Clinton’s voting record on things like the Iraq War.
- Why he shouldn’t: He’d also be way too far to the left to be considered a legitimate candidate for president. He would be running to prove a point, not to win.
- Joe Manchin
- Why he should: Manchin has been both a senator and a governor and has national exposure.
- Why he shouldn’t: At age 66, he’s also been West Virginia’s Secretary of State, a state senator and state rep. He was first elected in 1982 and hasn’t looked back.
- Mark Warner
- Why he should: Warner has been involved in Virginia politics for 30+ years, has served as Governor and United States Senator, and is well liked by Virginians.
- Why he shouldn’t: He has voted with President Obama 97% of the time which is a record that will be hard to shake and make for a very rocky primary.
- Joe Biden
- Why he should: Vice President Biden served in the United States Senate for 30+ years and has been a moderately quiet yet popular VP.
- Why he shouldn’t: Most people view Biden as a joke and although he served in the Senate for a very long time, most of his former colleagues have already announced that they’re backing Hillary.
Wildcard: Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren
Nominee: See “Wildcard”