Names on names on names: Who’s running in 2016?

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NPR’s Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, sat down with #DrakeinDC yesterday. Photo by Jill Van Wyke.

By Austin Cannon

Today, we (finally) visited the NPR building. No big deal, just the center of some of the most informative and interesting journalism there is today. What made the visit even better than I thought it could be was when we sat down with All Things Considered host Robert Siegel for about half an hour. We discussed the intersection of politics and the media, but we ended our time with a question about the 2016 race.

He asked if any of us want to see a Jeb Bush/Hillary Clinton contest. No one raised a hand. It seems everyone, including Siegel, wants to see some new blood. It makes sense. It would either be the second Clinton White House or an unprecedented third Bush White House (we also discussed the odd obsession the U.S. electorate has with political dynasties). So if not the — I can’t believe I’m about to say this — frontrunners, then who? If you don’t want to read about 2016 23 months in advance of the election, stop reading.

Right now, the Republicans have the problem of too many possible candidates. There’s Bush, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham and more.  All could run. But Sweet Fancy Moses, that’s 11 (!) names right there. The debate at Drake would have to be moved to the Knapp Center to hold all of them.

Let’s start with Bush. He has admitted to actively exploring the option of running and took the next step of resigning from all oversight boards. He’s as close to a lock to run as you can get. And then there’s Romney. He’s considering running for a third time, even though he’s said he won’t several times, saying it’s not his time. But he’s considering it, why? He must really want to be president. And this wouldn’t be the first time a candidate has used up his “chances.”

Then you have Paul, someone from another political family, who might appeal to the more right of the party. And the governors, Christie, Walker, Huckabee and Perry, who could boast their executive experience in pursuit of the White House. Either way, this is going to be a crowded field, and there’s really no way to predict who gets the nomination.What a circus.

Democrats have the exact opposite problem. They’re in search of someone to challenge Clinton in the primaries. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Howard Dean and Jim Webb are all names that have been brought up. But Clinton is basically ready and is the clear frontrunner. I’m sure some Democrats just want someone who can challenge her enough to stretch her legs for what will surely be a grueling campaign. That’s what will probably happen, because things always go according to plan.

Siegel noted that President Obama came out of nowhere to win the nomination in 2008 over Clinton, so I would be surprised if that happens to her again. Perhaps another freshman senator, like Paul, could challenge for (or win) the Republican nomination. Luckily, we have hundreds of days to sit back and watch this all play out.

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