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The 2016 (!) presidential field, per the PBS NewsHour

It’s totally ridiculous (except to the ridiculous degree that it isn’t) but as they transition into a vacation to recover from campaign 2014, the political team of my beloved PBS NewsHour put out a list of the 2016(!) presidential field.

On the Dem side, it’s all Hillary Clinton. The PBSers believe Elizabeth Warren when she says she is not running, so all they add (they’re not mentioning names, they’re just telling us the names that others will be mentioning):

Some in the media want to create drama in a Democratic primary, because why not? So there will be lots of coverage of Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb and the mysterious candidate who could ultimately derail Clinton’s nomination.

The Repub field is more fun for the mentioners. The PBSers broke it into three groups, thus:

For the conservative bracket (the people who have to win Iowa): Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — he could be a hybrid, but being from a state that borders Iowa, he needs to do well there; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the 2012 Iowa winner; Indiana Gov. Mike Pence; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Dr. Ben Carson, who is on the lips of every tea party/grassroots conservative — and, yes, we predict there will be a poll that shows him leading the GOP field; South Dakota Sen. John Thune. (We’re not buying runs by Mike Huckabee or John Bolton.)

For the establishment slot (the people who have to win New Hampshire): New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. (We’ll save you the digital ink — Mitt Romney is NOT running.)

Hybrids, who might try to play in both: Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — if he runs and we’re not convinced he will; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — it’s not clear he will run if Jeb Bush does since they have many of the same donors; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — he could play a third route here and for a while in the primary. Unlike his father, who always had a following but won no delegates, we predict this Dr. Paul will pick up at least a few and maybe more than that.

Comments (33)

  1. Submitted by Dan Kaufman on 11/12/2014 - 12:03 pm.

    So I am guessing,

    Pawlenty is not running again?

    He seems as credible as any on the Republican side.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/12/2014 - 12:24 pm.

    So just like that

    the democrats become the party of old white candidates.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/12/2014 - 01:59 pm.

      For the national ticket…

      For the very top of the national ticket… yes. But more broadly, Democrats are still vastly more diverse. For instance… between 1971 to the present, there have been 4 African-American republicans elected to congress (does not include 2014, and I think it was just Mia Love? Correct me if I am wrong). In the same time period, there have have been roughly 110 african american democrats elected to congress. Granted, that’s only 1 segment of the minority population, but you get my drift.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/12/2014 - 03:26 pm.

        I’m more interested / concerned with age

        I don’t care about race. I do care that we’re electing doddering old fools to congress (Nolan 72, Peterson, 71) when we’ve had the opportunity to elect younger, more vibrant people.

        If Hillary is elected (heaven forbid), she would be going on 70 and with some neurological issues when she took office. Joe Biden is what, 72? We can do better. Obama’s youth is the one asset that he brings to the job.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 11/12/2014 - 05:28 pm.

          And how did you feel about McCain’s presidential candidacy?

          After all, he was 72 when he ran against Obama.

          • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/13/2014 - 07:58 am.

            I was against it

            as were most conservatives.

          • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/13/2014 - 03:53 pm.


            (who I am no fan of) was hand picked by the mainstream media and liberal intelligensia to run against Barack Hussein Obama because he was beatable.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 11/13/2014 - 07:25 pm.

              So the “liberal” media

              controls who the GOP nominates for candidates? That’s quite the conspiracy you have going on there.

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/14/2014 - 11:07 am.

                But that’s the standard Republican answer

                to why they lost an election:
                There was a conspiracy that stole the election that they rightfully won;
                never mind that the closest thing we seen to a documented stolen election was Bush v. Gore.

              • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/17/2014 - 09:04 am.

                Yes, and the solution is

                the elimination of cross-over voting in republican primaries. Why should a party have open primaries that enable non-members to decide your candidate?

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/17/2014 - 01:48 pm.

                  I have to disagree

                  On occasion, I vote in Republican primaries, but not to ‘throw’ an election, far from it. Knowing how vapid Mike McFadden was/is, I voted FOR Jim Abeler in the Repub primary. I didn’t agree with a lot of what Abeler may have represented, but he’s a serious policy wonk, works very hard at the capitol, and also works hard to become knowledgeable about the issues he works with. I think he and Franken would have had a much more substantive debate. This is the same reason I also voted for Marty Seifert in the primary. IF the GOP had won the senate and the governors’ mansion, at least I would have felt somewhat OK with Abeler and Seifert… McFadden and Johnson, not so much.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/13/2014 - 10:48 am.


          I brought up race because you had mentioned old ‘white’ men. I would not characterize Reps. Nolan or Peterson as ‘doddering fools,’ and am also not sure why you think Hillary Clinton has ‘neurological issues,’ whatever dog-whistle that is. Biden will not be the nominee of any party.

          I agree that the relative age of officeholders is a problem for a lot of reasons… You’d think both parties would do well to try and engage young candidates, but what you are talking about smacks of ageism.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 11/12/2014 - 03:31 pm.

      At least it’s not . . . .

      At least it’s not just old white MEN.

      • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/14/2014 - 05:14 am.

        Old white men?

        Like Dayton, Nolan, Franken, Reid, Biden, etc….

        • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 11/14/2014 - 04:18 pm.

          Read the article

          The discussion is about PRESIDENTIAL candidates, and the article (which is what is being discussed here) names only one possibility on the Democratic side (they’re ruling out Elizabeth Warren).

          It really helps the discussion if you actually follow along . . . . . . .

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 11/12/2014 - 03:33 pm.

      And further . . . .

      And further to the comment I just made, you DO know the difference between “plural” and “singular” I hope.

      So far – per the article – it’s just “candidate”, not “candidates” – for the Democrats.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/13/2014 - 07:55 am.

      It’s absolutely true–there is a real dearth of “high-profile” younger Democrats.

      And, put my eyes out and stop up my ears if it turns out to be a race between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

      This is not American Idol, folks, this is for real.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/14/2014 - 03:05 pm.

        Dear Lord

        If it turns out to be a race between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, I will be praying that the third party puts someone in that’s not too insane because that’s where my vote will need to go. I don’t want the presidency to be a family legacy. Modern communication and transportation, as well as the supposed ability to be upwardly mobile in this country, should negate the need for families to hold high governmental positions, particularly the presidency.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/17/2014 - 10:08 am.

          On political dynasties

          While I would generally agree that a political dynasty is overtly similar to a modern landed-aristocracy, I want to make a few comments and observations.

          Political dynasties HAVE been a part, indeed a large part, of this country’s history. Adams’, Roosevelts, Kennedys, Udals, Bushes, etc etc. Some are good and give us a sense of identity (Roosevelts, anyone?), others conjure worse memories. Regardless, the general election itself is still, ultimately, within the hands of the citizenry. I think people like to vote for dynasties for various reasons, but there is certainly a sense of brand identity, and that makes a huge impact in informing the decisions of more casual voters (again, for better or for worse… I mean, how many people would vote for Bill Clinton again, if given the option?).

          As it related to Hillary, remember that her maiden name is not Clinton. She wasn’t BORN into this political dynasty. She and her husband built it, themselves, in their own lifetime. Hell, she was practically on the ticket when Bill ran in 92. Is she democratic establishment? Yes, which is most likely what you’ll get in a general presidential candidate, from either party, whatever that last name may be.

          When Chelsea runs, then we can talk about a Clinton dynasty.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/12/2014 - 12:41 pm.

    The Demo nomination depends

    on who looks like the Repub nominee.
    If it looks like a ‘moderate’ Republican (say, Jeb Bush) will be nominated, then the battle will be for the center, and Hillary will probably walk away with it.
    On the other hand, if it looks like a right winger like Cruz will be nominated, then the Democrats can assume most of the middle and run a more liberal candidate like Warren to energize the faithful.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/13/2014 - 12:32 pm.

      Jeb Bush is not going to be easy to beat.

      Remember: he’s the “smarter Bush”. He will run a very smart campaign, and he will take away some of that center you mention.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/12/2014 - 06:59 pm.

    I believe John Oliver’s line is

    …”I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care.”

    Of course, he’s a Brit, so he doesn’t have any skin in the game directly, though his wife is American (and served a tour in Iraq as a medic). He did seem convinced that, whoever the nominees turned out to be, they’d be ripe targets for ridicule. Based on the past couple of decades, I think he’s probably correct, regardless of the candidate’s party affiliation or gender.

    And, for a change, I agree with Mr. Tester, sort of. I might be kind enough not to call them “doddering fools,” and since I’m 70 myself, I don’t think Nolan and/or Peterson are necessarily incompetent because of their age, but it does seem to me to be time to get some younger people into office. Life experience counts, but it doesn’t trump every other consideration.

    I suspect, however, that when Mr. Tester advocates younger officeholders, what he really means is a particular *kind* of younger candidates/officeholders, such as the younger candidates Republicans were running in Nolan’s and Peterson’s districts. I’m not ready to go there. Besides, if we eliminate all the “doddering fools” from Washington, much of the Capitol Building would be empty.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 11/13/2014 - 08:40 am.

      Obama was criticized . . . . .

      for being too young and inexperienced.

      Now Hillary is being criticized for being too old (“doddering”?).

      So where’s the sweet spot? I suspect that when it comes to Republicans discussing possible Democratic presidential candidates, no such thing exists.

  5. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/12/2014 - 09:19 pm.

    2016 (!)

    Why the surprise? The Presidential race starts in January two years before the election, at least since Al Gore launched his bid many years ago. Probably the only thing that has kept announcements from coming earlier is the Christmas holiday shopping crush.

  6. Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/13/2014 - 06:13 am.

    Great. 2 years of playing “hot mike” gotcha

    Just what we need. Thanksgiving Christmas shopping starting a week early
    & campaign operatives jockeying for position in November.

    What are the news guys going to talk about in the traditional week lull between Christmas & New Years?

    You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
    Its going to be two very vicious years ahead, given all the prepared “poison-the-well” attack ads & plots that went onto the back shelf unused when Obama beat Hillary for the nomination!

    Don’t forget Romney wants another bid – and was stumping for candidates as though
    he thought he was viable.

    The campaigns won’t be about moving anything forward – as we can see from this past election, it’ll be a blame game and about finding an awkward “gotcha” moment to exploit well beyond rational proportion.

    To really turn it into a free-for-all, wait until Jeb Bush runs too:
    Then we’ll hear campaign strategists pull out all the stops to convince us its really never “more of the same.”

  7. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/13/2014 - 03:51 pm.

    I’m curious…

    as to what kind of baseless attacks the democrats will launch at Dr. Ben Carson should he decide to run. I’m sure that there are people shaking the bushes to find dirt on him.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/13/2014 - 04:30 pm.

      Are you serious?

      Do you really think Dr. Carson could be a serious contender for the nomination? On what planet?

      There really is no point in anyone trying to discredit him as a political figure (I say nothing about his medical acumen). He has done that enough on his own.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 11/13/2014 - 07:29 pm.

      Baseless attacks?

      Carson provides plenty of fodder each and every time he gets near a mike. If he’s the best you’ve got, 2016 is going to be a real disappointment for you.

  8. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/14/2014 - 02:41 pm.

    No to Hillary

    Gonna have to say no to Hillary based on her past (whitewater). Not sure about the rest though.

  9. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 11/14/2014 - 05:23 pm.

    The thought of another election makes me want to go hide

    We’re going to have more horse race coverage of the nomination process, with little attention paid to who these people are, what they really believe, what effect their proposed policies will have, and who is backing them.

    They will be presented in sound bites, either reciting prepared statements or making gaffes, and a couple of them will be crowned “frontrunners” before a single caucus or primary has been held–based on what, I wonder. Money raised? Journalists persuaded? Rent-a-crowds brought in? Those not deemed “frontrunners” by whatever criteria the media use will be doomed to a combination of neglect and ridicule.

    The mass media decided early in 2007 that Obama and Clinton were the “frontrunners” for the 2008 Democratic nomination. At that point, there were six other candidates (Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, and Tom Vilsack). Most people didn’t even know that.

    As the primaries went on, it was clear that our choice was going to be Clinton or Obama, and the media went on with their horse race coverage, in effect asking the voters little else but, “Would you rather have the first black president or the first woman president?”


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