By Levi Larson
Thematic in this week’s discussion has been the 2016 presidential race and speculation around candidates. One thing most have agreed on is another run for the Democratic nomination by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The GOP is less easily agreed upon. With big names like Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney being thrown in to the race early it is important to acknowledge some of the other likely candidates such as Governors Chris Christie and Scott Walker and Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. The variety of potential candidates demonstrates what many are labeling as a divide in the Republican Party.
With the announcement of Bush’s Right to Rise leadership PAC he is the closest to an official 2016 candidate thus far. Prior to this were the potential candidate’s acknowledgements of weighing his options for a 2016 run. The more recent announ cement of the PAC has prompted Romney to explore the idea of third run in the coming election cycle. Another Romney run has prompted many jokes and eye rolls. A popular question being what’s different this time? According to CNN’s John King, there is a bit of ego playing into this decision, an earnest want to be president and the idea of “buyer’s remorse”. The buyer’s remorse is in reference to the lack of satisfaction with the Obama administration re-elected in the 2012 race. His intentions of a third shot at the White House have already earned him the endorsement of Pennsylvanian Representative Mike Kelly. Kelly throws support at the 2012 Republican nominee with the opinion that Romney is the only candidate with the credentials to win. Furthering the complimentary tone Kelly blamed the 2012 loss on negligent Republican turnout.
As we heard from Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report, unfavorable is working against Bush as well. The unpopular legacy of George W. Bush could ultimately be his pitfall. Cook compared it to getting the beat up car from an elder sibling and driving around with the consequences of their actions. The potential of inheriting distrust from his older brother’s presidency has not stopped the Florida governor from making strategic moves associated with candidacy. The slightly controversial runs by familiar names has not do anything to unify the GOP. Those in favor of these two political heavyweights use the excuse that Obama was a freshman Senator. That route has been tried and wasn’t successful and to do it again would not be learning from prior mistakes. This argument was presented by King as one used by Republicans trying to avoid the less politically seasoned potential candidates.
Republicans avoiding the Bush or Romney option, are looking for that fresher faced candidate to give a new dynamic to the GOP’s image. One popular potential candidate is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Heading to New Hampshire this week is increasing speculation at Paul’s 2016 run. Paul has been crafting his argument against Bush with the basis of Bush’s reputation for support of bigger government. Throwing in the support of the two prior Bush presidencies to education policy putting emphasis on more governmental control. Ideas unpopular among much of the Republican base. No experience in executive branch is an area critics choose to point out the most. Foreign policy is an area critics get Paul on for his Libertarian views. According to Politico, the official candidacy announcement is expected in the next few months. Paul isn’t the only freshman on the list of potentials with others such as previously mentioned Rubio and Walker.
The Democrats appear to be falling in line this cycle with a clear favor of Hillary Clinton. On the other side of the aisle is GOP split with some supporting well-known Republicans and others favoring fresher choices. Alignment on the left and an obvious divide on the right seem to be themes going into the 2016 election.