November 2016 seems like a long time off, but presidential election campaigns take a long time these days and interest is already building in who’ll be running for the White House this time round. At this early stage the field is still wide, with the serious candidates sharing the headlines with a long list of stalking horses, novelties and no-hopers. As of right now there are over 20 people who’ve either publicly expressed interest or already filed their application to run. Naturally some of these are less serious, and plenty more don’t have any real chance of winning a party nomination. On the other hand there are a few with realistic prospects of being the next president of the United States. Let’s look at the leading contenders on all sides.
The Republican Party has the greatest number of hopefuls. In all nineteen prominent members or supporters have mentioned that they’re thinking of running although not all are realistic choices. There are a few who stand out though.
- Maybe the top choice is Jeb Bush. His family needs no introduction, as one of the emerging dynasties of US politics, and GW’s younger brother is definitely keen to have a shot at being the third Bush in the White House. Socially he’s a conservative – among his acts as Florida governor was to sign the anti-assisted-dying Terri’s Law – but fiscally in the middle ground of the GOP.
- New Jersey governor Chris Christie was looking like another serious candidate until recently, but his administration has suffered a couple of scandals. Christie is a popular figure among the center and moderate wings of the Republican Party, and probably has the broadest electoral appeal of any GOP contender. However revelations that he messed up traffic access to Fort Lee to retaliate against the mayor have seriously dented his chances.
- Ted Cruz has more appeal to the right wing of the party. Strongly pro-life and socially very conservative, he’s well placed for a run at the White House but his half-Cuban background might not satisfy the Birther tendency.
Other Republicans who’re keen to throw their hat in the ring include Marco Rubio, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. However most of them have limited appeal with the broader public and aren’t likely to do well at the primaries.
The Democratic Party has a much shorter list right now, although more candidates will probably step forward over the next few months. The big names are probably the current vice president and the former secretary of state.
Joe Biden, as the occupant of the #2 role in the present administration, is a natural candidate for 2016. Biden is a centrist Democrat on most issues, generally liberal socially. His big advantage is an established reputation in high office.
Hillary Clinton, wife of former president Bill, narrowly lost to Obama for the 2008 Democratic nomination and is widely expected to run again. She has a high profile but remains a controversial figure, and there’s some resistance to the idea of a Clinton dynasty. On most issues she’s slightly to the left of Biden but tends to be hawkish on foreign policy.
Other possible Democrat runners include actor George Clooney and New York governor Andrew Cuomo, but right now Biden and Clinton look the most credible.
There are a few third party possibilities as well. Rand Paul might run for either the Republicans or Libertarians. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is contemplating standing as an independent, TV personality Roseanne Barr might represent the Peace and Freedom Party and veteran candidate Jill Stein is in the running for the Greens. The eccentric Transhumanist Zoltan Istvan may have a shot a swell. However the real action as the election approaches will be between the heavy hitters of the two main parties.