2016 Politics: Off and Running

2016 Politics: Off and Running

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

At the rate that candidates are announcing, preparing to announce, and setting up preparatory committees, the hysteria of campaign 2016 should well dwarf the extraordinary action seen in 2012, especially among the potential Republican nominees. Now that the long-anticipated announcement by Hillary Clinton throwing her official hat into the Democratic ring, it looks like she will have a very long parade of opponents. As candidates jump in and then disappear, it will be fascinating to watch for how long the American will tolerate or be attracted by this hysteria.  

As much as the Republican Party will try to manage and control the appearance of deep-seated differences among the various candidates; as much as they will seek to keep the focus on Obama and Hillary; the candidates will be struggling to obtain the nomination by seeking to differentiate themselves from their opponents. Whether on the right or the center Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and now Marco Rubio—with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, at least—likely now to follow, it is a challenge which could get very messy. Add in the possible candidacies of Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and former Senator Rick Santorum and the cast is already looking as large or larger than 2012.

In addition to defining themselves, all of these candidates are now out to build their campaign war chests to finance the long, arduous campaign. While there are considerable funds available, many of the candidates, especially all the Tea Party donors will be besieged by many of the same candidates trying to gain their trust and support. The good or bad in all of this is that in light of recent Supreme Court decisions, the monies to finance these campaigns are virtually limitless, assuming the candidates can sell themselves.

There is one interesting theme in looking at the Republican aspirants which will definitely emerge both in the nominating process and in the general election—depending on the nominee(s). Many of the Republicans yet to announce are or were Governors. One of the major criticisms of President Obama is had no prior administrative experience, which has hindered his effectiveness as a president.  In addition, he—like Cruz, Paul, and Rubio—also had only two years of legislative experience in the Senate. How this theme may affect the race remains to be seen.

As all of this political gamesmanship continues there is no longer a need to wait for the long expected announcement by Hillary. Now that this too has passed, she can rev up her engines to ride to the convention at the end of July 2016.

Hillary will be very careful and will take nothing for granted; but there is unlikely to be any serious opposition to her nomination. She needs to continue raising money, meeting caucus/primary voters, and avoiding any mistakes or mis-speaks; while at the same time staying in the public eye and not in a cocoon.   

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