The following is a list, essentially in order, of the Republican presidential field by how likely they are to get the nomination. As it narrows and changes in the many months to come, expect more editions of this. It may become a monthly series on SoCawlege. Some candidates aren’t included on the list, but if they pop up they will be added in.
This article was in part inspired by Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
The Main Stage
1. Jeb Bush – His last name is the only real handicap he has. Yes, he is more moderate on certain issues, but that did not stop Bob Dole, Jeb’s father, brother, John McCain, or Mitt Romney. The Republican base is conscious of electability, and past accomplishments. Bush has the money, network, record, and communication skills. He is the full package, and if Romney and other past nominees are any indication, he is the favorite to win.
2. Marco Rubio – The senator is in a sweet spot no one else is in to the same extent that he is. He was a 2010 tea party candidate, and is an energizing conservative, but he is also acceptable to the establishment. That means as other Bush alternatives falter, the base may crowd around Rubio when the primary goes on. He also won’t receive the same heavy fire as Cruz, Paul, and others will from the center of the party. His only downsides are inexperience as a Senator, and “flip flopping” on immigration.
3. Scott Walker – He has the experience and accomplishments but lacks the communication skills crucial to being President. Too many gaffes and an early front runner status may be his downfall.
4. Mike Pence – If you were to create a conservative in a lab, it would come out as Mike Pence. He is a fiscal, social, and foreign policy conservative, well in line with the mainstream of the party base. If only he was more well known nationally, and hasn’t waited so long to decide on running, because he is a fantastic governor.
5. John Kasich – Seen as moderate like Bush, and has many accomplishments just like he does. The Ohio Governor is more of a fall back than anything. Read George Will’s take here.
6. Rand Paul – Mix his father’s network with more realistic positions and you have a chance. It isn’t as strong as many supporters would hope but Rand 2016 is a possibility for sure.
7. Ted Cruz – Crazier things have happened. If establishment candidates fumble, or overcrowd each other, and the base finally snaps and has enough with the “rinos”, Cruz could be the nominee.
The Long Shots/Hell Freezes Over
8. Chris Christie – Too damaged/too RINOey.
9. Bobby Jindal – Too boring, and is rather unpopular in Louisiana in his second term.
10. Rick Perry – He did a great job in Texas, but second impressions are hard to make.
11. Mike Huckabee – Can’t go beyond social conservatives.
12. Rick Santorum – Huckabee minus gubernatorial experience.
13. George Pataki – Old news.
14. Jim Gilmore – Old news with a smaller fundraising base.
15. Bob Ehrlich – Find five people who know who he is.
16. Mark Everson – ????????????????????????????????????????????????
The Only Running To Better Themselves/Spread a Message
Not much needs to be said for these. Sure, some of them have a better “chance” than the ones in the tier above, but their campaigns aren’t taken as seriously by us, based on their past comments and/or lack of experience.