After a presidential wannabe cattle call in Iowa last week, today’s edition of the Morning Line, a daily email from the political team of PBS’ “NewsHour,” says at least 17 Republicans have said or done something to indicate a fairly serious interest in running for the party of Lincoln’s presidential nomination in the next cycle (which we might as well start calling the current cycle).
Here’s their list:
John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Scott Walker.
I hate to say it, but they missed at least one — South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham.
The NewsHour-ers cited four possible explanations for the huge field:
Money (you have to start early to raise the unimaginable sums necessary); attention (it’s now established that if you run and get even slightly famous, you can cash in with a TV contract or other fun stuff); the “Obama effect” (if President Obama, who was still an Illinois state senator two years ahead of the 2008 election, can do it, why not me?); and “history” (this is the overdone theory that because it is relatively rare in recent history for either party to win three straight presidential elections, this is going to be good year to be the Republican nominee). I’ve previously pushed back against the last explanation, but you’ll continue to hear it.
I’ve also previously railed against the absurdity of having two of the 50 (Iowa and New Hampshire, and nowadays especially Iowa) states hold a permanently outsized role in the presidential nomination process. Just to summarize: it’s absurd.