We are about to enter a new year, 2015. And with the new year the next permanent election cycle will begin. The excitement will start to build in anticipation of the next Presidential election. Americans treat politics like they do sports. They like to complain about their team but don’t talk against their team or in this case candidate. Trying to predict who wins the Super Bowl before the season starts is risky, and trying to predict who will be the next candidate of their respective political party is also risky, because one week in politics is like a week in the NFL, you just aren’t able to know with any certainty what is going to happen. Speculation will run rampant on who the candidates will be in our final showdown, the election of 2016, and it is even more difficult to predict what the key issues will be.
The $64,000 dollar question is who will be the nominees for each political party?
The Democratic Party has the presumptive nominee in Hillary Clinton. She is a known quantity. The former Secretary of State has two things going for her, name recognition and money.
Money as the deceased speaker of the California Assembly once said, is the mother’s milk of politics. Even though you and I might bemoan the fact that having money is really, really important in American elections, we can not deny the fact of its importance. If you don’t have money they won’t know who you are or what your message is.
Four things are really important if you are going to be elected. People who vote must like you if they are going to trust you with their vote. You must have name recognition and you must have money and I do mean a whole lot of money to win the Presidency. The fourth most important aspect of any candidate’s run for office is that the public must believe that you have something to offer the electorate, a plan for their future and for the country’s future. It is most important to convey that message in a coherent manner hopefully with a narrative. Voters have little time to study the nuances of issues so therefore your message needs to be brief and that it not be a litany or laundry list.
Mrs. Clinton has the advantage of name recognition, money can not buy that. She will have plenty of money, the question is what message will she be able to convey outside of the fact that if elected she will be the first woman president. Let us not discount the importance of that fact, as each woman who votes will know that they can be part of history.
There is a red herring going around claiming how history has shown that it is difficult for a candidate from the same party to succeed an 8 year incumbent. It would be a mistake for the Republican Party to buy into that notion. Democrats held office from 1932 to 1952. Republicans held office from Harding through Hoover and in the 19th Century we saw Republicans hold office except for Cleveland from Lincoln on until Woodrow Wilson.
Therefore the fact that if Hillary is the nominee the fact that she would follow a Democrat should not be an impediment. What is an impediment is if the economy is in bad shape at the conclusion of a presidency.
Each potential democratic challenger faces an uphill struggle of monumental proportions if they are willing to challenge Mrs. Clinton for the nomination. Only another woman candidate would have a fighting chance to dethrone Hillary Clinton from her impending nomination. Her disadvantages are that most people have a definitive opinion about her already. Her positives are high but so are her negatives.
Any other candidate for the Democratic Party would have to be able to raise money, gain name recognition and spark the interest of the electorate. Senator Elizabeth Warren has sparked interest and passionate followers, but she lacks name recognition at this point. Will Elizabeth Warren be the 2008 version of Barrack Obama and snatch victory from the presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton?
The Republican Party faces a far greater hurdle in a Presidential cycle because the face of the American electorate is changing. It is now becoming less white, it is younger and more diverse and multi-cultural.
More Democrats show up at the polls in presidential elections, which speaks volumes to the problems that any Republican nominee would face if he or she is not a candidate perceived to be from the middle of the electorate.
Any candidate in order for that candidate to win must gain support from that great mysterious voter block the independent voter.
There is every indication that the Republican establishment understands the problem that they face in 2016. The grassroots of the Republican Party though has a far different view of who should be the nominee.
The establishment wants someone like a Jeb Bush or a Chris Christie, to be the candidate. The right wing of the Republican Party wants a hard core conservative to represent the party in 2016.
The cast of characters who are viewed as potential nominees from the right wing of the Republican Party include, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Governor Perry of Texas and Marc Rubio of Florida.
Jeb Bush shares some of the advantages that Hillary Clinton has. The Bush name is a known factor and his ability to raise a lot of money is a real factor in who can win the nomination.
Conservatives insist that if the Republican Party would only nominate a true conservative, they would win.
Jeb Bush has advantages but he has disadvantages as well. Would a Jeb Bush candidacy be one too many Bush candidates? Does Jeb Bush have the ability to articulate the wishes of today’s conservative voter? Are voters tired of both a Bush candidate or a Clinton candidate?
I frankly do not see how a Bush candidacy can be victorious knowing who votes in primaries. His candidacy flies in the face of many conservative positions such as immigration. Will this fight between the establishment of the Republican Party and the so-called conservative wing bring about a split of the party that can not be fixed?
An election normally finds pocket book issues in the forefront, but that might be different in 2016, as the American economy is seeing 5% growth of GDP, low unemployment and high consumer confidence.
Since the economic recovery is in full bloom, most of the economic issues will find a hard time finding a foothold in the voter’s consciousness. The exception is the fact that wages have been stagnant for 40 years. The Middle Class has of yet not been part of the recovery. Maybe with new equipment now being purchased by American Corporations they will finally realize the wisdom of having their workers join in on the booming profits by being part of the success. Henry Ford knew his workers should be able to afford what they built.
Income inequality is increasing, and not improving. The recovery is not reflected in increasing wages as of yet. It is the top 1 and 1/2 of the electorate who have seen tremendous financial gains. It is time to increase the wages of the American workers if we are to have long term prosperity.
A second potential problem is what the recent omnibus bill that Congress passed included. Congress provided Banks with the opportunity to have an instant replay of 2008. We need to re-institute Glass-Steagall and have a firm division between deposit banks and investment banks in order to protect depositors from any future collapse of the banking system as a result of speculation. Let us not fool ourselves our 13 largest banks are too big to fail and if allowed to, banks will find another Ponzi scheme to fool themselves into believing that they can safely gamble with our money. Banks have historically been either too tight with our money or the mad hatter of gamblers, where there is no risk too big for the possibility of financial reward. Greed is still the scourge of Capitalism and too think that greed does not need to be regulated is fool hardy.
The magic question is what will the Republican Party offer the public regarding the economy? Will they be the shill for banks and promise that we can trust them. Will they continue to deny the wisdom of raising the minimum wage?One of the tell tale signs of where the voters are is the fact that places like Arkansas voted by a 2-1 majority to increase the minimum wage.
If the economy is not going to be the number one issue what will it be? It is hard to imagine any foreign policy issue making any kind of emotional impact sufficient to gain any significance in the oncoming election? Will the Republican Party go for social issues one more time? We shall see!
Well, sports fans and political junkies this coming presidential election promises to be exciting with many tosses and turns. Batter up! The race to the White House will begin in earnest in January. And the nominees are? Your guess is as good as mine.