Back in October 2014, SoCawlege listed the top 5 Republican and the top 5 Democratic candidates for the 2016 Presidential election. It was half serious, half joke, with us listing Hillary Clinton in the 1., 2., 3., 4., and 5. position for the Democrats. However, with the news that Mitt Romney will not be running for President this time around, among other developments since our previous installment, we will go ahead and update the list on both sides. Unlike last time, this list is ordered by relevance.
5. Mike Pence
– The Governor hasn’t shown as much interest in running as the four below, but if he were to jump in it definitely wouldn’t look bad for him. He is popular with social conservatives, so he could appeal to the Huckabee and Santorum crowds. In addition, Pence is a successful governor, who also has political experience as a Congressman on top. He is competent enough as a leader when it comes to policy/economic issues that he should be acceptable to the establishment crowd as well (perhaps take some of the Romney base). Pence is one of the few people who might be able to bridge the two sides of the party for the General.
4. Scott Walker
– Walker has been gaining more attention. He is popular with the grassroots, is a proven fighter and survivor, and can make meaningful conservative reforms. Downsides are lingering scandals, no college degree, and a lack of enthusiasm (although that Iowa speech certainly contradicts that to an extent).
3. Rand Paul
– Senator Paul is very sincere, and is doing great work to help the Republican Party expand its base. He would be the first real libertarian the Republicans have nominated in quite a while (most comparable to Calvin Coolidge or Barry Goldwater in our view). This is a pro or a con depending on which member of the base you talk with, but he suffers from one large issue that others like candidates like Cruz suffers from: electability. His father is one thing, and his more right wing views are another. He could certainly overcome these handicaps, but it will be tough to struggle through the nomination process in the first place.
2. Marco Rubio
– This man is underestimated by a lot of people. Sure he doesn’t have much experience as even a Senator, but he has strong oratory skills, and will probably be able to excite the base more than someone like Romney or McCain could. He has a lot of great advantages, from being fresh and young to speaking fluent Spanish. Like Pence, he would perhaps be able to bridge the two sides of the GOP. Assuming no major mistakes (and a water bottle on hand at all times) he could give the others a run for their money.
1. Jeb Bush
– Do we have to? Maybe. With Romney out of the way, his threats in the primary are much more limited. Chris Christie is going nowhere fast. Unless that changes, Jeb Bush will be getting a lot of top cash, and be able to absorb the same voting base which elected Mitt Romney as the nominee last time around. The more the right side of the room gets crowded, (Huckabee, Carson, Santorum, Cruz, and others both on and off this list) the easier it is for him to win.
5. Martin O’Malley
– Liberal enough for it, but was he a strong enough Governor?
4. Andrew Cuomo
– He has a pretty strong record, a great family name, and is moderate enough to play the role of a Clinton Democrat. Downsides are potential lingering scandals, and the Democrat party’s leftward shift, making it harder to see him winning the nomination if he decides to run.
3. Joe Biden
– Captain Choo Choo. He’s the current VP, which helps him get his message out. He is also VERY experienced in running for President. The downsides are obvious: age, staleness, and those gaffes! Short of President Obama leaving office, and him becoming President, it’s hard to imagine him taking the nomination.
2. Elizabeth Warren
– She would have the left of the party in her pocket if she ran. Also has a populist message that at a minimum would force Clinton to course correct HER message. But the Democrats need to be cautious about nominating someone this far out there on the fringe. She would certainly be the most left wing President we have ever had. Maybe America would tolerate that today, but the Cambridge Harvard Professor persona might not sell well out in the heartland (Ohio, but also in Virginia, Florida, et cetera).
1. Hillary Clinton
– Nothing needed here.