Saturday, February 14, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 7

Next year, the two political conventions will take place, just a week apart, far earlier than they have in quite some time. For decades, the incumbent party at least, would meet in August, and the past two cycles have had both parties convening late, and the final convention going into September. The year of 2016 though will see both conventions wrapping up before the end of July and before the beginning of the Summer Olympics in Brazil. While 2008 and 2012 saw a lull in political news before the convention during the Olympics, it will be interesting to see just how engaged people will be in a longer general election season, post-conventions, during next year's Olympics. There is going to be quite a gap between the conventions and the traditional "kick off" point of Labor Day. As a political junkie, I will probably wind up wishing the conventions were later.

If the primary process for either or both parties do not wrap up with a presumptive nominee until spring or maybe even early summer, it will be a considerably shorter interlude between those stages of the campaign than we have seen for some time. It remains to be seen if that will be a good or bad thing in regards to campaign money, momentum, or the ability to heal intraparty divides after the primaries. The election cycle will be somewhat unprecedented in several ways.

For several months now, we have known that the GOP will meet in the City of Cleveland, which has not hosted a convention since the 1930s. The news this week came down that Democrats have selected Philadelphia to host their convention. The City of Brotherly Love last hosted the Democrats in 1948, but the Republicans as recently as 2000. It is probably not a coincidence that Governors of both respective parties will be able to welcome delegates to the states that they govern. Both the neighboring states of  Ohio and Pennsylvania will be considered battlegrounds and the conventions will take place in what are probably "must win" states for either party, although Ohio has recently been more of a true Electoral key to the White House.

One thing is for certain; both parties will hope that the cities will bring their tickets more luck than the professional sports teams of Cleveland and Philadelphia. Championships have been few and far between for Philly in my life, while Cleveland may be the futile sports town anywhere in America, and makes me feel grateful, even as a Cubs fan, that I am from Chicago.

A plethora of Republicans continue to move forward preparing campaigns, including a bit of movement on behalf of Ohio Governor John Kasich. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues to make the most headlines though, and a recent trip to London, once again produced some political headlines for a potential GOP candidate as he chose to "punt" on a question regarding evolution, before later clarifying that he believed in both science and religion. As long as Walker remains such a force on the scene, there will be many continued stories about his biography, including the interesting aspect of his having dropped out of college not long before he was due to graduate. In the meantime, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush remains slightly less visible but is said to be raking in the dough.

I could probably go on a lengthy rant about remarks and behavior recently from the incumbent lame duck President which is very telling in how he views the issue of Islamic terrorism and how truly disheartening his Presidency is in that regard. However, there may not be much point to do that in this forum, as we are looking ahead to the election of the next President, and how that person will inherit serious issues around the world and the need to protect America at home. Needless to say, there are ample reasons for me to hope that the next President is a Republican, who understands the concepts of good and evil as well as the moral leadership America is required to provide.

The Democrat "horse race" continues to make less news, but of course they will have a candidate too. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be raising money and building an organization behind the scenes, but she has remained more publicly invisible over the past several months, than any political figure going back to the days of William McKinley's Front Porch Campaign. There have been numerous stories this past week about possible fundraising problems and infighting, but few seem to doubt publicly that the nomination would be hers for the taking.

Nonetheless, other Democrat hopefuls continue to wait in the wings, including former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who has already formed an Exploratory Committee, and recently departed Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley seems to want to run as well. For ideological purposes, Vermont's confirmed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, seems like he may run for the Democrat nomination as well, even though he has denied his entire political career that he is a Democrat.

If Clinton does not run, we can certainly expect Vice President Joe Biden to jump into the fray. He has to be frustrated though about how his name is not even part of the conversation these days as the world awaits a signal from Team Hillary. This past week, Biden went to the important caucus state of Iowa and from the podium gave a shout out to a former politician he referred to as an "old butt-buddy." I suppose that is one way to try to appeal to the LGBT vote.

Biden may have been eclipsed though already by freshman Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who's anti-capitalist bona fides have made her a folk hero to many liberals. Warren has insisted she is not going to run for President, but many others certainly want to get her into the race. This past week,, an organization started in the late 1990s, to defend Bill and Hillary Clinton, came out with a poll designed to try to entice Warren into the race. While the poll could be classified as a "push poll" (something typically done by many organizations and polling firms on the left in regards to general elections), when Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire were alerted to positive information about the Massachusetts Senator, she managed to poll ahead of Hillary Clinton in both states. One would think that Clinton's favorable numbers in her own party, as well as the perception that many in it hold of her inevitability would have been enough to sustain any sort of survey, but apparently that is not the case.

For the foreseeable future, it is likely that Clinton will continue to lie low (and not expose herself to telling any stories, as she once did, which were quite similar to the situation that got NBC News' Brian Williams in so much trouble) and Elizabeth Warren will continue to deny any interest in a 2016 campaign. However, as the months go on, I expect the calls on the left for Warren to run to become louder and louder, and there may not be many ambitious politicians who might be able to ignore them.


At 9:15 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey, I'm in favor of having the conventions EARLY during the summer because that way, it'll give campaigns more time to run TV Ads!

Big question is whether Kasich gets tapped for the VP job on the GOP side!


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