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Forecasting 2016 Presidential Race - The Bakersfield Californian


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Forecasting 2016 Presidential Race - The Bakersfield Californian

  1. 1. Forecasting 2016: Four local observers handicap 2016 presidential race   December 26, 2013 Bakersfield Californian     Hilary? Yeah, we know       As for the GOP...   Well, it's anybody's race      
  2. 2. Only New Jersey’s Christie can stop the Hillary machine   Stan Harper   November 2016, in political time, is a lifetime away. So much can and will happen in 36 months. If the presidential election were to happen in November 2014, predictions would be easier. So let's take a look at that time line.   If the race were held next November, it would be for the Republicans to lose — and for one reason only: Obamacare and “if you like your doctor, you can keep him.” Even the president's base isn't buying it. They realize that the cost is more, the deductible is higher and your doctor panel is limited.   Then there are the possible candidates. Democrats first: The candidate who has been running for nine years, Hillary Clinton, has better name identification than any other candidate on either side of the aisle. As a former first lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, she comes to the table with a great game plan and solid ground plan in place. Most importantly, she has the ability to raise a lot of money. The downside would be the alleged "stand down” command from her office or other U.S.officials during the 2012 Benghazi attack. Even with her political baggage, however, Clinton is definitely the Dem frontrunner.   Vice President Joe Biden has the best current insight and knowledge of the workings of the White House. Unfortunately, he has no ground game in place and no real finance committee. Then there is California's own governor. But Jerry Brown has no ground plan outside California and no big potential donors. His chances are slim to none.   The GOP has so many potential candidates, it is hard to get a good handle on things. There is a top tier and a second tier.  
  3. 3. In the top tier are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who both have great name ID and are fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Today Christie would have to be the front runner. But Ryan, as a former veep candidate, has a tremendous national following. He still has his ground game in place and has no problem raising money. My guess, though, is that he is committed to the fiscal stability of America. With that in mind, I would wager that he would forgo a presidential run to be the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In that role, he would be the one person who can get our government out of its spending spree and work endlessly to get us out of debt.   On the second tier are Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, as well as former Govs. Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee. All have good credentials, good name ID and the ability to put together a good campaign. But Cruz and Rubio are mainly one issue candidates. I personally think that Jeb Bush is the brightest star but feel America has had enough of the Bush clan. Many are turned off by Huckabee’s strong religious stands. Rand Paul is increasingly considered a loose cannon and somewhat radical.   I think it’ll be Hillary Clinton vs. Chris Christie, with Christie winning by a slim margin.   Personally, however, I want to see more of Rand Paul. I want to see how voters react to his ideas and messages and, more importantly, how he conducts himself as a campaigner.   Republican political consultant Stan Harper runs a temporary-employee placement agency.    
  4. 4. Hillary, of course, but brace yourself for a GOP shocker   Tracy Leach     Hillary Clinton is at that awkward stage in her quest to win the White House in 2016. She holds all the cards to waltz into nomination on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention, but the only Democratic face on the planet capable of beating her is the one she sees in the mirror.   Contradictions are everywhere for Hillary. She must be visibly invisible, distancing herself from the overreaching ineptitude of the Obama administration, while still appearing to support its increasingly unpopular agenda. Hillary’s star rises with every White House crisis, as performance comparison invites voters to think of the previous Clinton administration as the good old days.   Many of the same factors that make Hillary Clinton the strongest candidate for the Democrats will work in favor of the Republican nominee — if the Republican Party learned its lessons from the Romney-Ryan campaign of 2012.   Lesson One for Republicans is cutting the leash to political consultants and media pundits who incessantly demand nomination of candidates who don’t strongly advocate Republican values. Given a choice between Democrat Clinton and a wishy-washy Republican moderate, Hillary wins.   It should be common knowledge by now that in nominating so-called sensible moderates, the Republican Party generates a tremendous wave of voter apathy. (See 2012 Presidential election results and GOP voter turnout.)   The times and tides are changing, along with the demographics. But right now the trends are shifting right and libertarian. By 2016 the millennial generation that backed Obama will be three years older, wiser and still largely underemployed. The economy, now in its fifth year of “recovery,”
  5. 5. but still not quite there yet, will continue to be a daily household concern, and the world will be an ever more dangerous place.   Meanwhile, left and right are finding rare common ground in opposing the Obamacare debacle, inept foreign policy and the alphabet soup of government agencies from NSA to IRS violating American’s rights and privacy.   Any GOP nominee has to navigate the conservative base of the Republican Party in order to prevail, making it tougher for a Chris Christie. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has tried to refurbish his conservative credentials by muting his immigration proposals. A fascinating nominee would be Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, whose “get the government out of our pockets, our businesses, our daily lives” philosophy would carry mass appeal across the political spectrum in a general election.   My edgy prediction: Rand Paul vs. Hillary Clinton, with Paul prevailing.   Tracy Leach is the president of Providence Strategic Consulting Inc. and Dagny Energy Group, public affairs and energy consulting firms.     Thanks to tea party’s negative image, Hillary will win   Gene Tackett   The time has come for a woman to be POTUS. As long as the House of Representatives is influenced by a group of do-nothings, I do not know why anyone of sound mind would want to be president of the United States, let alone run for the office.   But predicting America’s political future and fantasizing about who will
  6. 6. become president in 2016 is something that is always on my mind. I am conflicted by who I would like to see run and who will actually run the gauntlet and win on the left and on the right and then win in the general election. This is what I actually believe is our political future.   Because of the influence of the tea party, Republicans have little chance of winning the highest office in our country. Because their candidates have to move so far to the political right to win their party’s nomination, they are unable to reclaim the political center in the general election. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey would have the best chance of beating the Democratic nominee and becoming president, but it is impossible for him to win his party’s nomination.   There are many Republican senators and governors who would make excellent presidents — or at least excellent candidates for the office of president. But they will have to run so far to the right to win the nomination they’re likely to fall into the same trap that haunted Romney in 2012. It is very difficult for a congressman to rally national support and raise the money needed for a partisan primary and to win the general election. But the person I believe will win the delegates needed for the Republican presidential nomination is a congressman. He is one of the Young Guns who co-authored the book of the same title along with our own Congressman, Kevin McCarthy.   Paul Ryan has a running start because he was the Republican vicepresidential candidate with Romney in 2012 and he is the chairman of the House Budget Committee. He showed that he can work with Democrats when he helped craft the budget compromise that will be signed by President Obama this week and he appeals to the tea party platform. But the tea party has doomed Republican national candidates in the 2016 election cycle.   The Democratic nomination path is much clearer. Hilary Clinton will win the nomination. She has the deepest experience of any of the candidates: U. S. Senator, Secretary of State, and a very active first lady. She finished second for the nomination in 2008 and she has the best campaign organization in place, three years before the 2016 election. And Hilary can raise the millions of dollars needed to run a national campaign that will appeal to voters across the spectrum.   It will be a very expensive and hard fought campaign to elect our next president. But important political factors are in Hillary Clinton’s favor. The
  7. 7. tea party has marginalized the Republican Party and damaged its ability to win a national election in 2016. The voters will favor a qualified woman in 2016. And that woman is Hillary Clinton.   Gene Tackett of Bakersfield is a former Kern County supervisor who now works as a political and government consultant.     Dems have Republicans on the run in Californicated US   Jeremy Adams   In the general election, Republicans have an uphill battle regardless of who wins the nominations of the two parties. Granted, only twice in 100 years has the same party won three consecutive presidential elections (1940 and 1988) so the proverbial pendulum swing is destined to favor Republicans. Right? Not so fast.   My argument is essentially that we are in the midst of a profound tectonic plate movement in American civic life that will usher in a new era of Democratic Party domination in presidential elections.   There are two hurdles that keep getting higher for the GOP: changing demographics and the math of the electoral college. Republicans have already lost the popular vote in five out of six presidential elections and now the changing complexion of the American electorate represents a swollen Achilles heel for Republicans.
  8. 8.   Young voters largely view the GOP as rigid on social issues. At best, Hispanics find Republicans unwelcoming on immigration policy and, at worst, perhaps a bit nativistic. Most shrewdly of all, the Democratic Party has successfully packaged the GOP as the party of patriarchy to the great disdain of female voters.   As a Republican, I find these trends to be colossally upsetting because I believe conservatism to be the superior governing philosophy. But facts are facts.   Mitt Romney barely won 200 electoral votes (it takes 270 to win) and my fear is that America is becoming California writ large, a state where demographic reality trumps a party’s governing performance. No matter how poorly California is run, however, the Democrats running the state appear to be immune to defeat. The 2010 senatorial race between Barbara Boxer and Carla Fiorina bears this out. In a year of Republican landslides and a tarnished Democratic Party brand, a very liberal Democrat running against a pro-choice, accomplished Republican woman should have been a competitive race. And yet, by 8:01 p.m., the networks called the election for Sen. Boxer (who won by a whopping 10 percent). Not only can Republicans not win in a Republican year with a liberal Republican on the ballot — they couldn’t even make it a single digit race! One is tempted, then, to believe that in California, being the Republican candidate, ipso facto, is a disqualification for victory simply because of the demographic reality of the state.   Is California a case study of what awaits Republicans on a national level within a decade if things don’t change?   In summary, my prediction is that the Republicans will nominate Chris Christie and the Democrats will nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton. The 2016 Presidential race will represent a paradigm shift in the way that presidential campaigns are waged. No longer will the fate of the election rest with the moderate, independent, much-beloved swing voter. Instead, as the demographics of the American electorate turn from red and purple to blue, the Democrats will propel Hillary Clinton to victory by engaging in a strategy of micro-politics that targets the fasting growing and most loyal Democratic voting blocks (minorities, young voters, single and urban women). Thus, for the second time in American history, we will use the term “President-elect Clinton.”  
  9. 9. Jeremy Adams is a history and government teacher at Bakersfield High School, an adjunct professor at CSU Bakersfield and the founder and host of the Earl Warren Cup, an annual civics competition for students.