Sunday, September 13, 2015

Surveying the Clown Car - 2016 GOP Candidates (Part 3 of 3)

Here's my take on the GOP field, 14 months ahead of the election

This is the final installment, and I've saved some of the most interesting candidates (and those with the best chances) for last.

Huckabee Plain.png
"Huckabee Plain" by Huckabee for President - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Mike Huckabee is included on this page, not because he has any real chance of winning, but he has had strong enough poll numbers to let him sit at the "big kids" table for the debates thus far. Huckabee majored in Religion (earning his degree magna cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University in 2 1/2 years) before dropping out of Southwestern Baptist Seminary after one year. He was a staffer for evangelist James Robinson, and served a pastor to a couple of churches before entering politics. Huckabee served as Lieutenant Governor and then Governor of Arkansas. He had a fairly successful presidential campaign in 2008, and has been affiliated with FOX News until his recent departure for his current campaign. His recent comments and actions regarding Rowan County Kentucky Clerk of Court Kim Davis have shown that he lacks even a basic understanding of the constitution and seems to favor the Christian fundamentalist version of sharia law to our long established constitutional governance. Despite his spotlight chasing, I don't foresee him winning a primary or staying the race very long.

Kasich 2016.png
"Kasich 2016" by Kasich for America - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

John Kasich, the current governor of Ohio, would, in any normal election cycle, probably be considered too conservative to be viable in the general election. Unfortunately, this year, he seems an almost reasonable choice. His staunch opposition to anything resembling women controlling their reproductive rights places him well outside mainstream America. He's still far enough down in the polls to pretty much ensure his campaign will lack enough traction to get any distance down the long trail toward the nomination.

Pataki for President Campaign Logo.png
"Pataki for President Campaign Logo" by Pataki for President - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Former New York Governor George Pataki brings the credentials to the race that should give him the best chance in the general election. Unfortunately, with the level of crazy being cultivated by GOP activists, he stands almost no chance at all of being the party nominee in the general election. Sadly, he bests only Lindsey Graham in the most recent polling of candidates remaining in the race. He may join Rick Perry on the sidelines before much longer.

Marco Rubio 2016 Campaign logo.png
"Marco Rubio 2016 Campaign logo" by Marco Rubio for President - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Marco Rubio was touted as a rising star of Republican Party after the Tea Party darling bested Governor Charlie Crist in the US Senate primary. Winning election to the Senate was Rubio's last significant accomplishment. He's tried to make a name for himself as a Latino leader in the Tea Party, but has been forced to wrestle Ted Cruz for that title. With both Cruz and former governor Jeb Bush in the race, Rubio has been unable to garner sufficient support from the party base. Rubio may stay in the race a while, but to no avail.

Walker 2k16.png
"Walker 2k16" by Scott Walker, Inc. - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Scott Walker is another Libertarian/Tea Party darling who, if the media narrative is to be believed, is the hand picked candidate of Charles and David Koch. While the Koch brothers have been funding and promoting Walker, Walker is actually a smoke-screen candidate. The Kochs know their open endorsement would be seen as a negative by the general electorate, which is why they've given it Walker and not the candidate they actually want to elect. The Kochs are shrewdly putting on a show to benefit the one candidate who ticks all the boxes for them (and to whom they may have already provided substantial funding). Walker will remain in the race as long as he is able to serve as the Kochs foil.

JEB! 2016 Campaign Logo.png
"JEB! 2016 Campaign Logo" by Jeb 2016, Inc. - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

The conventional expectation leading into this election cycle held this would be another Clinton vs. Bush contest. Jeb Bush has laid the foundation to make the match-up a reality, and despite a veritable mudslide of investigations from the GOP controlled Congress, Hillary Clinton still looks to be the eventual Democratic nominee. The Koch brothers are helping Bush behind the scenes by providing him with Walker as a foil. Whether or not they have contributed to Jeb's Right to Rise super PAC is anyone's guess, but my assessment would be 'Duh!'. Jeb's positions on the issues are nearly perfectly aligned with the Koch brothers interests. As much as I hate to say it, despite current polling, Jeb Bush is best positioned to be the eventual GOP nominee.

There you have it, my assessment of the 2016 GOP primary race. Now to sit back for a while and see how well my amateur assessment does.