Republican Presidential Candidates 2016
GOP Presidential Candidates 2016
While Mitt Romney was unsuccessful in his race against President Obama in 2012, Republicans are hopeful that they will have better luck in 2016 against Hilary Clinton. Many political journalists expect the 2016 election to be hotly contested by both parties, with many candidates throwing their hats into the ring and no incumbent candidate assuming the position of automatic front runner. This hub looks at the candidates who ran for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016 - will they be able to take back the White House after two straight losses to the Democrats in 2008 and 2012? Or will Donald Trump go down in flames to Hilary Clinton?
The Main Contenders
Why he'll win the nomination: He has a $4 billion fortune (maybe much less, sad!) he can fund himself with, he has high name recognition, and (as of the summer of 2015) he is doing better than many of the other candidates in the polls. Crazier things have happened!
Why he'll fall short: People aren't sure if he's actually serious about running, many of his current political views are in direct opposition to views he has expressed in the past, and he had a very bad habit of insulting just about everyone, including veterans, immigrants, and Hispanic voters during a short three week stretch in 2015.
Why he'll win the nomination: Currently serving as a Junior Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio was discussed by many as a potential running mate of Mitt Romney in 2012 before Paul Ryan was ultimately selected. Florida will still be an important state in 2016 and Rubio is a relatively popular senator there. Rubio could also help the GOP improve its performance among Hispanic voters, a key constituency that will only grow in electoral importance between now and the next election.
Why he'll fall short: Rubio has somewhat of a mixed record on issues like immigration that could leave him open to attacks by the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
Why he'll win the nomination: Ted Cruz is a hero of the Tea Party and has consistently exceeded expectations during Republican primaries, including his unexpected assent to the Senate from Texas in 2012. He's also a great speaker on the stump and had some success in winning the Iowa Primary early in the election cycle.
Why he'll fall short: Cruz is great at throwing "red meat" to the far right wing, delivering applause lines about eliminating the IRS and passing a balance budget amendment to the Constitution that have no chance of ever being implemented. He has almost no chance of winning the general election, and most Republican primary voters will recognize this even if they like his tough talk about President Obama.
Dead in the Water...or maybe the next VP?
Why he had a shot at the nomination: He came from a political dynasty that includes two former Presidents, including his brother George W. and dad George H.W, and was backed by an immense amount of Super PAC money from influential donors. He also was a reasonably popular governor of Florida (an important swing state), spoke fluent Spanish, and had more moderate positions on issues like immigration that may help win over moderate voters.
Why he fell short: Many Republican activists from the Tea Party remember his brother's time in office as an unmitigated disaster as budget deficits ballooned and the U.S. got engaged in multiple foreign wars. Trump also owned him, repeatedly, in numerous debates. Simply put, people weren't buying what he was selling.
Why he had a shot at the nomination: The current governor of New Jersey, many speculated that Christie would run for President in 2012 despite repeated assertions that he was not interested in the job, and he ultimately decided not to enter the race. Christie had relatively high name recognition, is somewhat moderate on social issues, and has demonstrated appeal with swing voters after being elected governor of New Jersey (a reliably Democratic state historically). His cooperation with President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy may give him some bi-partisan consideration in 2016.
Why he fell short: Christie's moderate stance on social issues turned off conservative voters. Like Jon Huntsman, who was relatively moderate on some social issues, it may be tough for Christie to win some of the early primaries and caucuses in states like Iowa and South Carolina, which voted for Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich over Romney in 2012. Christie also may have been hurt by a series of scandals involving political aids taking vengeance against local politicians in New Jersey by closing bridges, as well as allegations that he misused federal relief money from Hurricane Sandy.
Why he had a shot at the nomination: He was the son of libertarian hero and former presidential candidate Ron Paul and represents Kentucky in the U.S. Senate. Rand will tried to tap into the "Paul Brand" (and its network of activists and donors), and distance himself from the foreign policies of many of the other candidates, who seemed to be in a competition as to who could say they were going to drop the most bombs on Syria and ISIS in order to fight terrorism and save America.
Why he fell short: Despite his father's appeal among many younger voters and libertarians, he came nowhere close to winning any of the primaries in the 2012 election cycle. Rand also has some libertarian views on the War on Drugs and foreign policy, especially the deployment of U.S. troops overseas, that could hurt him among more mainstream Republican voters, and he was ultimately unable to gain traction in a crowded GOP field.
Why he had a shot at the nomination: Jindal had decent name recognition and might help the GOP appeal to minority candidates who have voted for President Obama in strong numbers over the last two election cycles.
Why he fell short: No one likes him, and he sounds like Kenneth the Page..
Why he had a shot at the nomination: He beat Mitt Romney in a number of key primaries in 2012, and has strong credentials among the socially conservative wing of the party.
Why he fell short: Santorum didn't come close to beating Romney, who many Republicans thought was a weak nominee in the first place. His comments on gay marriage and social issues are increasingly out of line with the views of most Americans. He also has been out of office since 2007, which will make it difficult for him to stand out in a field that included several current Senators and Governors.
Why he had a shot at the nomination: Currently working as a host on Fox News (and radio personality), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has a previous presidential election under his belt in 2008. Huckabee combines social conservatism (Chik-Fil-A counter protest organizer!) and occasional economic populism that could be appealing to many voters fed up with the big business ties of other Republican candidates (see Romney, Mitt).
Why he fell short: Huckabee lacks foreign policy experience and is extraordinarily conservative on social issues. he has previously made statements questioning the theory of evolution and has made strong statements against gay marriage, and issue that is becoming more accepted by the year (especially by many younger voters).
Why he'll win the nomination: Carson has performed decently well in the polls and has never served in public office, which may give him some appeal among Tea Party voters who think anyone who has served in Washington is likely to be corrupted by the system. He also has expressed extremely strong social conservative views that will appeal to GOP primary voters.
Why he'll fall short: Carson has made many puzzling statements on foreign policy that have shown his inexperienced in that area, which may prove to be a key deciding factor in the election. Also, there is almost no track record of candidates with zero political experience winning the nomination, and he'll have to improve his name recognition to compete in a crowded race for the nomination.
Why he had a shot at the nomination: The current governor of Wisconsin made his name after a protracted battle to with state employees to reduce their collective bargaining power in an attempt to cut spending and improve the condition of the state's budget. This successful showdown vaulted Walker to national prominence, and his stature as only increased as he won re-election in 2012 and 2014 in a state that has voted for Democratic president in the last seven presidential elections.
Why he fell short: Walker has no experience at the national level and was not as well known as some of the other leading candidates. He also has no foreign policy experience, a fact which may hurt him given recent developments in the Middle East and Russia, as foreign policy may play a much larger role in the 2016 election than it did in 2008 or 2012.
Just kidding. But seriously, would you be completely shocked if she's Donald's pick for Vice-President?