Short Political Takes
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Of the 13 announced and three probable Republicans who have declared themselves as formally running president in 2016, only Senator Lindsey Graham, who is himself from South Carolina, attended Friday’s funeral service for the Rev. State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney. South Carolina will undoubtedly be carried by whoever is the Republican nominee in 2016. It is sad that not one aspirant except for Graham felt they should do the right thing and attend the funeral. They perhaps even could have even expanded their national appeal.
Hillary Clinton’s waltz to the Democratic nomination may still occur despite rather her lack-luster polling. Her fundraising continues to be awesome but debates may be pointless and, to date, her campaign has certainly failed to develop any enthusiasm. She has provided the public with very limited press access while conducting a tightly orchestrated campaign. The Benghazi flap and her private email account continue to provide her negatives which will undoubtedly cost her in the general election.
To date her only opposition continues to be Senator Bernie Sanders, formerly Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee. The latter two actually may be auditioning for the number two slot on her ticket. This state of affairs has begun to generate a whispering campaign among some Democrats for Joe Biden to jump into the fray.
With virtually no negatives—except for his inability to manage his speaking—and given the fact he obviously has high name recognition, Biden could declare late in the season (even after Labor Day). It would be likely that he could raise money very fast. Given Hillary’s high negatives and low excitement curve–were Biden to win early in Iowa and/or New Hampshire–he actually could cause her campaign to implode; assuming Biden wants to make a run.
It is hard to believe that the first Republican presidential debate is scheduled for August 6, amongst the ten top GOP candidates, according to the polls. This entire system seems terribly flawed and lending itself to a repeat of the 2012 GOP circus like performance. There is one intriguing side-show, however, which it could well produce. Assuming they both make the poll cut-off it could be worth the time even during vacations to watch Trump and Christie bring their vitriol into prime time during campaign 2016.
Perhaps the saddest matter to consider in campaign 2016 is the total amount of money already being spent months before even campaign advertisements even have begun. It is truly embarrassing for the country and the political system that so many candidates in both parties most of whom know they have no chance of obtaining the nomination or probably even influencing the campaign discussion, are able to find rich Americans willing to put money into totally hopeless presidential races. Predictions suggest that by the end of the campaign, $5 billion will have been spent in the election; double what was spent in 2012.