Forecasting: 2016

Evan Bruning, Political Science '17 January 3, 2013 Domestic 2
Believe it or not, candidates have already started jockeying for the 2016 presidential race. Here is a quick look at which candidates have taken the early lead in the race for 2016.

The Republicans:

Paul Ryan
The conservative heartthrob is almost certain to run in the 2016 campaign. He is now a household name and the darling of fiscal conservatives everywhere for his spearheading of the “Path to Prosperity” budget plan. Ryan is well-respected by the GOP due to his solid conservative credentials and his recent exposure as Romney’s running mate. Ryan is well positioned to make a serious bid for the Republican nomination.

Marco Rubio
A popular senator from the crucial swing state of Florida, Rubio’s name was one of the top picks to be Romney’s running mate before Ryan was chosen.  He carries that crucial “star power” factor that Romney and many others in the Republican primaries lacked. His likable personality and charm may help the GOP to win more of the increasingly consistent youth vote, and there is loose speculation that his Cuban-American background and his fluency in Spanish will make him more appealing to the Hispanic vote as well.

Chris Christie
The outspoken governor of New Jersey may be the Republicans best bet to win in 2016. His moderate stance on social issues (Which helped him to become the governor of New Jersey, a blue state) will definitely help to bring in the all-important swing vote, and his bi-partisan cooperation efforts with Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy improved his image among independents. But his greatest strength may be his Achilles heel, as the hardcore conservative bloc that votes in the primaries will have problems with his moderate social policies, which could lead to his undoing.

Jeb Bush
The “White Knight” of the GOP,  this former governor of Florida has played an increasingly large role within the Republican party. Although he holds no official leadership position, Bush gave the keynote speech at the RNC and introduced Romney onto the stage. Bushs’ well-respected work on education policy and fiscal reform while governor has earned him much credibility; his calls for reform on the Republican stance on immigration will appeal to the middle as well. The main concern for Jeb Bush will be his surname, and how many Americans don’t fondly recall the three previous terms a Bush has held office.


The Democrats:

Hillary Clinton
She would likely be the heavy favorite for the Democratic nomination. She came close in 2008, her only failure there was not taking Obama and his internet-funded campaign seriously enough. Since then, her top-notch work as America’s diplomat in chief has only earned her more respect. The key word here is if. Mrs. Clinton is stepping down from the Secretary of State when Obama enters his second term. Speculation is rampant over her statements made earlier this year that is finally done with politics. But, some people just have that itch for the game, and after a couple years she may decide to jump back in the ring. Just know that as soon as she enters the race, everything changes.

Deval Patrick
This governor of Massachusetts brought down the house at the DNC with a rousing speech that staunchly defended Obama while slamming his own predecessor in office, Mitt Romney. His close ties with Obama (he led a couple of large democratic fundraisers) will give him an edge in the democratic primaries. Could the USA have two consecutive Black presidents? It could be another historic first if Patrick runs.


Martin O’Malley
O’Malley is not yet a household name, but the Governor of Maryland was a busy bee raising money for the Obama campaign, and all the signs point to him launching a campaign in 2016. He recently founded his own PAC, ostensibly for “local purposes” such as passing a couple of referendums, but “he’s starting a PAC now for a referendum in November? It’s smart for them to say that, but we all know the reality,” says Todd Eberly, a professor of political science at St. Mary’s College. O’Malley is now a staple as an Obama surrogate on morning news shows, keep an eye out for his name.

Mark Warner
As a former businessman, Virginia senator Warner brings an incredibly amount of business acumen to the table. A wildly popular lawmaker who gave the keynote speech at the 2008 DNC, Warner present an ideal blend for democrats with a wealth of political experience while holding much red-state appeal due to his fiscal conservatism. He nearly swept his election for governor in 2008, taking many traditionally red counties in Virginia. If Warner runs in 2016, he is one of the top contenders for the Democratic nomination.

Third-Party Candidates:

Michael Bloomberg (I)
Although ostensibly an independent, Bloomberg has liberal opinions on same-sex marriage, abortion and gun-control, although his past as Republican mayor could appeal to some moderate conservatives.  Generally speaking third-party candidates have a hard time running for president as the two-party system and the electoral college conspire against them. However, Bloomberg does have several advantages in 2016. First, the field will be wide-open with no incumbent president running. Second, even though he wouldn’t be backed by any major party Bloomberg is wealthy enough to easily finance his own campaign.

However, until the electoral college is changed or removed, most third-party candidates stand no chance of winning on the national stage. The most damage they could do would be to snatch crucial votes away from someone else, like Ralph Nader  in the 2000 election.

With that, enjoy the next couple attack-ad free years. Before you know it 2016 will be upon us – another fork in the road of history.

Evan Bruning
International Affairs ’17

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2 Comments »

  1. Shrey S. January 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm -

    Very interesting article. I was surprised that you did not mention Biden among the Democratic frontrunners. I also believe that Christie’s achilles heel is his brash personality, rather than his his social views. Finally, I think you downplayed the importance of the whole Benghazi affair with Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. While she is certainly the presumptive nominee for the Democrats, she is leaving the State Dept mirred in controversy.

  2. Evan Bruning January 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm -

    As tempting as the idea is of Biden running for president, I’m not sure he would be the face the democratic party would choose in 2016. While a skilled, experienced politician, he has had a few gaffes as VP, and his rather blunt nature could impede him in the debates. Also, the next four years under Obama and his work leading the gun violence task force will say a lot and give us more to work with and accurately gauge his chances. But you do make a good point there. I would also agree with you on Christie on his brashness as a weakness, but I believe that not many people really know that much about his moderate social issues, and when that gets brought up in the primaries he will have to defend himself from the more conservative candidates. That is, unless the current Republican platform shift is more drastic and more towards the middle then we are anticipating, which could actually change that weakness into a strength. And with Clinton, she handled the Benghazi hearing beautifully and skillfully, thoroughly demolishing the attempted crucifixion of her by the Republican congressmen. I don’t think Benghazi will tarnish her at all, if anything she has improved her image with that hearing.

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