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Who’s Got the Mojo to Win in 2016?

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3. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Marco Rubio is a good public speaker and pretty charismatic, but that’s not why he’s being touted by GOPers. No, Rubio is on the short list because he’s Latino, and if 2012 has taught the GOP anything, it’s that they desperately need to win over Latinos. If they nominate Rubio, the thinking goes, Latinos will rush to vote for Republicans for the same reason whites rushed to vote for Mitt Romney.

Now, I do not want to sell Rubio short. His speech at the RNC was very good, and had the Romney campaign not gotten the bright idea to bump it out of prime time in favor of Clint Eastwood yelling at a chair, it would have been pretty effective. Rubio has some ethical issues, and he’s flat-out lied about the timing of his parents’ departure from Cuba, but he also won election in a swing state. He’s clearly got political skill, and Democrats underestimate him at their peril.

That said, Republicans are wrong if they think Rubio will automatically win over Latino voters. Believe it or not, Latinos vote based on issues, and on the issues, Rubio has been out of step with the majority of them. Hispanic voters are not likely to embrace a candidate who has his roots in the anti-immigration, Tea Party wing of the party, any more than African American voters would have embraced Herman Cain.

Rubio’s path gets more difficult if Jeb Bush jumps into the race — a fellow Floridian in the mix would make fundraising tougher. Still, he’s one of the leading lights on the party’s right wing, and likely the strongest challenger to Ryan for that mantle.

4. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Assuming, as I do, that Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, will not run in 2016, the most likely libertarian-wing candidate to catch on will be his son, Rand, by dynastic succession.

Thus far, Rand has been a more consistent Republican than Ron, which gives him a slightly-better chance at getting the party’s nomination. Emphasis on “slightly” — Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 runs proved that there is a significant minority of the Republican Party that leans libertarian, and a more significant majority that does not.

Nevertheless, the Ron Paul Revolutionaries will almost certainly turn out for Rand, meaning that Rand Paul has the potential to run a strong third or fourth everywhere in the country, before toying with and ultimately rejecting a third-party run. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

 

5. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Jindal is still trying to live down his disastrous 2009 Republican Response to President Barack Obama, which was widely panned, and may have kept him out of the 2012 race. Time heals all wounds, though, and Jindal is trying to remake himself, not as the guy who once performed an exorcism in college, or the guy who railed against monitoring volcanoes, but as a guy who wants to end “dumbed down conservatism.” That puts Jindal squarely in the hack camp, and if Jeb Bush doesn’t run, he’s got a chance to be that group’s leader.

Jindal is far from a moderate, of course, but he does seem to at least possess enough awareness to know that it’s important to cloak conservatism in a veneer of stability. He’s taking a page out of Karl Rove’s playbook, arguing for a compassionate conservatism.

Jindal still has a few big strikes against him. He’s not proven an especially adroit public speaker, and he lacks the je ne sais quoi of Marco Rubio. Politically, though, it makes sense for him to line up with the hacks — the path is clearer on that side.

 

6. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Will Our Michele make a run for the presidency in 2016? It’s possible. She’s rumored to be eyeing a matchup with Sen. Al Franken, R-Minn., in 2014, and if she loses that (as she almost certainly would), she’ll have some time on her hands. Granted, 2012 was a bit of a wipeout for her, but using logic to figure out what Bachmann is going to do is silly.

If she runs, Bachmann has a strong natural constituency among far-right evangelicals. It’s easy to forget, but had Rick Perry not entered the race in late 2011, Bachmann might well have won Iowa; Perry’s entry and swift implosion disrupted Bachmann’s momentum, and caused evangelical support to ping-pong between Cain and Santorum.

It’s unclear whether Bachmann could rebuild the support she had in August of 2011, but if she could, she can be a potential player in the presidential race.

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112 comments

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1:21PM PDT on Mar 11, 2014

Hillary in 2016!!!!!

6:46PM PST on Jan 25, 2013

DLC? Maybe you all know what it stands for, but after the second time you tossed it around I had to do a web search to figure out that you were probably talking about the centrist Democratic Leadership Council in reference to Cuomo. But I'm still not sure. Did you mean Cuomo's "downloadable content" (by far the most hits) style of governance? Disability Law Center? Dragonlance Chronicles? Democrats for the Leisure Class? All go by the acronym DLC. Back in the day, we followed the AP Stylebook. One cardinal rule: always spell out an organization on first reference, and save the acronym for subsequent uses. You take away from the flow of a good piece when you send your reader off to explore the web.

4:53AM PST on Jan 25, 2013

None are suitable.

5:30AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Joe is a joke....literally.
Hilary is a COWard. She takes responsibility for the failure of Benghazi and then disappears, avoiding any questions before congress about that failure. Why didn't SHE make the rounds on news shows explaining Benghazi instead of Rice, who obama admitted knew squat about it???? Powell and Condi Rice were pretty busy people, yet THEY found time to do news programs to answer for and explain policies and actions.
Warren is another ideological professor ( much like obama) who knows nothing about the real world, the free market economy and job creation.

2:34PM PST on Nov 25, 2012

This is the clearest, most comprehensive list of possible 2016 candidates I've ever seen. It's bookmarked on my computer- job well done!

7:00PM PST on Nov 19, 2012

I would have voted for Hilary Clinton in 2008 if she had won the Democratic nomination then. I would vote for her in 2016. She is clearly the most qualified candidate for the job. I can't believe any person with a brain in their head would vote for Palin. But then again, there are candidates in the Senate who don't believe in "science" who somehow were voted in.

I wouldn't vote for Joe Biden because he was wishy washy about what to do with Bin Laden. He wanted to" wait and see". That is no way to deal with a sworn enemy of the U.S.. Thank God President Obama stepped up to the plate and declared him "wanted dead or alive no matter what" .

11:06AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

I think that Hillary should run. She would at least be respected by the other countries we deal with and she knows what the job entails.

9:03AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

I'll be watching Elzabeth Warren these next few years, hoping someone of her brains and ethics becomes a shining star in the Senate, connecting with people emotionally and through her ability to get the right things done.

For all Clinton's talents, she leaves me cold as a person, and I know I'm not the only one. I have warmer feelings for Sherrod Brown and Biden, but he's gaffe-prone.

12:15AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

thanks,,,,

10:21PM PST on Nov 18, 2012

Just thought if America elected a woman president, would her husband be referred to as "The Fist man?" lol!

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