The Long Game

I have an immense respect for Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. As such, I think he is probably right when he derides political commentators for getting in a tizzy about 2016. Maybe he is right that such predictions are useless, but they are what the public demands! I, for one, am quite the statistics geek when it comes to elections. I am not very politically involved, other than thinking about the theory behind ideology (I wrote my thesis on responsibility-catering egalitarianism). But man on man do I enjoy following the going-ons of campaigns. I don’t care much (AT ALL!) for sports, so political campaigns sate my hunger for excessively analyzed competition.

Now that I have cleared my conscience, I want to address a few things about what 2013 means for 2016.

Among those persons we know to be considering a run, Chris Christie is the likely nominee for the republican party in 2016. I don’t say that because of his recent landslide of a win in NJ, but because he is the more moderate of republicans openly considering a run. In recent years moderate republicans have won the nomination; moderate in the sense of not being Christian conservatives aka social conservatives. This fact does not bode well for any member of the tea party, nor Santorum (who is apparently considering another run). Add to this the fact that the main tea partiers have serious complications (Cruz is a junior senator who just shut down the government, taking two billion dollars out of the economy – that figure will follow him, and Paul is just not presidential given his frequent plagiarizing, and his wild college days that make Romney’s antics look innocent [Paul kidnapped a woman]) and you see that the GOP wing will win out in the primaries. I say GOP wing because Scott Walker could give Christie a run for his money, and if Jeb Bush were to run he will almost certainly get the nomination given the fact that Americans love the Bush dynasty. Christie’s wild antics and questionable personal spending as US attorney for NJ won’t be a deciding factor if he only faces tea partiers and social conservatives, but if he faces Jeb then those facts will cost him the nomination. Of course, it is not clear whether the murmurs for Jeb are anything more than the same hopeful wishes that circulated in 2011.

The general consensus on the Democratic party is that if Hillary runs she will get the nomination. It is certain she will run, but I think it is less certain she will get the nomination. What changed between 2008 and now? She served as secretary of state, wherein she did a great job, but there is the Benghazi affair. To be blunt, that event was blown out of proportion by republicans, likely in the hopes of impeding another presidential bid. The question is whether democrats running against her for the nomination will dare to bring that up. One of the lessons we learned from the 2012 republican primaries is that the nominee emerges from the primaries tarred and ready to be feathered by the opposition. Democrats cannot allow that to happen to Hillary. Are her nomination opponents going to hold their tongues in expectation that they will not win? Why run at all? Well, they could be thinking of the long game, and consider this nomination contest as an introduction to the national stage. If Hillary runs and loses against the republican nominee (it is not impossible) then candidates who were introduced in 2016 might be viable candidates in 2020. Martin O’Malley, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Cuomo, are all relatively unknown to the broader electorate.

I just mentioned 2020, so I’m cutting myself off. Sorry, Jon.

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