Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
Posts tagged "2016 Election"
I know you've touched on this in past posts, but is the GOP really suicidal enough to run Jeb Bush against Mrs. Bill Clinton? I would love to see a conservative win in 2016 but I cannot envision a third member of the Bush clan swinging enough moderates to compete with her. I would think Romney round 2 would be a better call than Bush^3.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

No, I don’t think that it would be suicidal at all.  I think Jeb Bush is the best possible candidate that the Republicans can put forth in 2016, and I think that he’s the only GOP contender who might be able to hang with Hillary Clinton.  Ideologically, Jeb Bush is far more similar to his father than his brother, and I believe that he’s the only possible GOP candidate (unless the Republicans nominate Jon Huntsman — like they SHOULD) who can lock down the support of moderates.  Bush would have trouble with the hardcore conservatives in his party, but if the GOP wants to have a chance in 2016, they’ll need to rally behind a candidate who might be able to…you know…win…and Bush is their best shot (and, even then, it’s no sure thing).

Romney has been adamant that he’s not running for President again and that he doesn’t imagine any sort of of draft changing his mind.  Because of the guy that Romney is, I believe that he doesn’t want to run again, but I also think he’d accept a draft if he felt it was his duty to serve his party and country.  And despite Romney’s defeats in the 2008 GOP primaries and the 2012 general election, I think he’s probably the strongest possible Republican candidate in 2016 (if he did change his mind and run) besides Jeb Bush.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Do you have an opinion on Hillary Clinton's recent interviews in regards to her responses to the questions she was asked about her wealth?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

No, not really.  If she’s going to run for President in 2016, she’s going to have to face questions about her wealth and her health.  I don’t see anything wrong with that, and I’m sure that Hillary and her team will put together the right answers to those questions as the campaign truly kicks into gear.

In 2008, and especially in 2012, Mitt Romney’s wealth was used by his opponents to portray him as out-of-touch with average Americans.  The Clintons are also very wealthy, and most of that wealth has been from speaking fees and things that they’ve done since leaving the White House in 2001.  There’s nothing wrong with that — and there was nothing wrong with Romney being wealthy — but they are fair game and they’ll have to deal with that.  

As for Hillary Clinton’s health, that’s also a valid concern, as it should be with any Presidential contender.  It’s important to remember that, if elected, Hillary Clinton will be the second oldest President on Inauguration Day in American history.  Ronald Reagan was 69 years, 349 days old when he was inaugurated; Hillary Clinton will be 69 years, 86 days old on Inauguration Day.  Reagan faced questions about his age and health in 1980 and 1984, Bob Dole’s age and health was a concern in 1996, John McCain’s age and health was an issue in 2008, and Hillary’s will be in 2016.  I’m not a doctor and I haven’t seen her medical records, but I imagine that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t run for President if she wasn’t healthy enough to do so.  In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with voters wanting proof that her health — or any Presidential candidate’s health — isn’t an obstacle to the duties of a President.  

Asker Anonymous Asks:
if you were forced to make a prediction would you say hillary is or is not running for prez in 2016?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

She has a super PAC (“Ready For Hillary”) formed by some of her “former” top aides that is soliciting donations, building a supporter database, churning out e-mail blasts every other day, mailing bumper stickers, and snapping up endorsements from major Democratic figures.  A campaign-style “Ready For Hillary” bus just happens to be showing up everywhere that she is making an appearance on her book tour.  She’s in the midst of a media blitz that isn’t exactly the run-of-the-mill publicity tour for a book release — complete with town hall events for news networks and social media sites. She wrote a book that’s over 600 pages long but didn’t really say anything so as not to create a potential minefield during an eventual general election.  The book is carefully constructed to avoid touching upon anything inflammatory, controversial, or too revealing that she might have to walk back at a later date.  She has a full-fledged rapid response team that quickly goes after any attacks or mischaracterizations from her opposition and immediately clarifies any fuzzy statements or awkward quotes and cleans up any mistakes from her end.

I don’t know if Hillary Clinton is running for President in 2016, but I imagine she probably will because, quite frankly, Hillary Clinton is running for President right now

Sure, she hasn’t declared that she’s running and she’s still saying that she’s “considering” it and will come to a decision sometime next year.  But that’s because it doesn’t make any sense to publicly declare that you’re running for President two years out and have to deal with all of the campaign finance disclosures and quarterly reports when a super PAC can do the dirty work in the meantime, raise an unlimited amount of money, and have “no connection” to the candidate.  Ready For Hillary is a proxy campaign; Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly running for President. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Obviously Romney's not going to run again for a number of reasons, but if he did, do you think he could/would snatch the nomination again? He's doing well in NH polling and there aren't a lot of moderate-wing candidates on the roster.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I don’t think he’d even have to “snatch” the Republican nomination.  If Jeb Bush doesn’t run for President, the only Republican who would have any shot at beating Hillary Clinton and winning the election is Mitt Romney.  Believe it or not, if Hillary Clinton shockingly decided not to run, I think Mitt Romney could very well be the front-runner, Republican or Democrat — and that might be enough to convince him to go through everything again and take another shot at running.

Otherwise, I doubt he would put himself and his family through another Presidential campaign that might end in loss.  The campaign itself is punishing, and that’s without even factoring in how devastating it is to lose. Romney and his family have dealt with losses in a primary campaign (2008) and a general election (2012), and I don’t see them doing that again unless there’s a really, really, REALLY clear indication that he’d do better than he did against Obama.  

There are a lot of people — even people who didn’t vote for Mitt Romney — who are now wishing he would have won the 2012 election.  I imagine there will be a lot of hope or nostalgia for Romney to run again in 2016, especially as the Republican field starts to battle for the GOP nomination and it becomes obvious how sub-standard many of the leading “contenders” are.  If Jeb Bush runs, he should set himself apart from that field quickly.  If he doesn’t run, a lot of people are going to urge a “Draft Romney” effort.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens and Romney as the GOP savior (for the Republican Party, not the country) can’t be totally discounted, but I think Jeb Bush will run in 2016 and give the Republicans somebody who at least won’t lose to Hillary by 400 electoral votes.

First of all, I want to mention that I LOVE the blanket primary. For those who don’t know, California has adopted a blanket (or “top-two”) primary system in which the candidates for each office are all entered in the same primary and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of their party affiliation. That opens up the possibility of two members of the same party possibly facing off against each other in the general election.

In many areas — not just in California, of course, but throughout the entire country — one party is dominant year-after-year. For example, if there is a region of the state where Democrats have held a Congressional seat for years with little risk of losing it to a Republican, a regular primary between two Democrats is often where the election is actually decided. In those instances, a Democrat (I’m just using a Democrat as an example, not referring to anything specific) would win nomination and go on to face the Republican nominee in the general election, but the election would never have been in doubt because it was a safe Democratic seat. With the blanket primary, all the candidates for the office from all the parties face off and the two candidates who win the most votes take each other on in November. In those traditionally safe areas, this opens up competition and encourages voters to make it to the polls since they are making an actual choice instead of taking part in a coronation.

With your question, I imagine you’re asking what I would think might happen if Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris both ran for Governor in 2018, were the top-two, and faced each other in the general election. Newsom is more well-known throughout California, but like I said in my other post, I think Harris has more appeal. She’s charismatic and tough, she’s brilliant and experienced, and she has the potential to shatter several glass ceilings — first female Governor of California, first African-American Governor of California, first Asian-American Governor of California — she’s the total package. Newsom is no pushover. He also has a ton of appeal and charisma, and they both have bright futures ahead of them. In my opinion, though, Harris would win. She would also definitely be my choice. During Obama’s campaign for President, I had a chance to meet Kamala numerous times and work pretty closely with her at several different events in Northern California. She’s incredible and she’s as grounded and humble as any politician I’ve ever encountered. I’m a huge Kamala fan and if she ran for Governor, I’d actually come out of my political “retirement” and want to work on her campaign.

I could also definitely see Kamala Harris on the Supreme Court, but I think she has ambitions for higher elective office — either Governor of California or a Senate seat once either Dianne Feinstein or Barbara Boxer finally retires. As I mentioned in the last post, I could easily see her as a potential Vice President, even as soon as 2016. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, I think she’d probably balance the ticket with a running mate with executive experience — probably a Governor like Martin O’Malley of Maryland (who is a sleeper pick for President in 2016 if Hillary doesn’t run) or Kentucky’s Steve Beshear (remember that I mentioned his name, too). I think President Obama should have gotten rid of Eric Holder at the beginning of his second term and nominated Kamala Harris as Attorney General of the United States. But it actually might be better for Kamala in the long-run to not have ended up in the Obama Cabinet, especially as the President limps to the finish line with two full years to go before his term ends.

Do you have any thoughts on Neel Kashkari's run for governor against Jerry Brown?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

To paraphrase the great Charles Barkley’s quote when he was asked what he knew about Angola before the Dream Team played them during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, “I don’t know anything about Neel Kashkari, but Neel Kashkari’s in trouble.”

Governor Brown might beat Kashkari by 50% in November.  I’m curious to see whether Governor Brown, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, or Attorney General Kamala Harris wins re-election by a larger margin.  Probably Brown, who would be a Presidential contender in 2016 if he wasn’t going to be 78 years old that year.  But Newsom and Harris are rising stars in the Democratic Party both in California and nationally.  Both of them are young and probably have their eyes on being Governor in 2018, and both of them could probably win.  Newsom has deeper pockets, but Harris has wider appeal.  Interestingly enough, Newsom likely would have the backing of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party while Harris would have the support of the Obama wing.  Back in 2008 — actually, way back in 2007 after Obama formed his exploratory committee — Kamala (who was District Attorney of San Francisco at the time) was the first elected official in California to fully support Obama.  I remember her driving herself up to Sacramento in the evenings to help out at events where there were less than a dozen people and this way as early as March 2007 (Obama officially jumped in the race in February), so I imagine the President will do whatever he can for her in the future.

I would bet that the California Democratic Party will be watching the returns of the races of Newsom and Harris much closer than Governor Brown’s race.  All three are certain to be re-elected, but the CDP will be looking for its next Governor between Newsom and Harris (with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson as a dark horse), so the more impressive margin of victory could have future implications.  Also, this might sound a little crazy if you’re unfamiliar with Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom, but I could easily see either one of them as the next Vice President of the United States, so you might want to get to know them.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If Jeb Bush doesn't get the GOP nomination in 16, who do you think is the most likely to get it?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I don’t have a clue.  None of the other Republicans frequently mentioned as possible contenders for the nomination in 2016 have a chance at winning a Presidential election and I can’t even fathom how some of them could even be nominated.  If Jeb Bush doesn’t run, I can imagine the other candidates diminishing each other because of the size of the field and the lack of any standouts and just battling each other to a stalemate that results in a brokered convention.  I have no idea who would emerge victorious from that scenario, but it most likely wouldn’t be one of the main candidates going into the convention.  Honestly, if that happened, the GOP seriously would be better off organizing a Draft Mitt Romney movement and nominating him again.  If Jeb Bush doesn’t run, the Republicans are going to have a very rough 2016.

Asker kray814 Asks:
Hey, do you think we would've considered Nixon as one of the presidents of all time if it wasn't for watergate? Also in 2016, who do you think the POTUS and VPOTUS of both parties will be?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:


1. Do I think we would’ve considered Nixon as one of the greatest Presidents of all time if not for Watergate?  No, but he probably would have been somewhere between #10 and #15 (closer to 15).  Here are my Presidential Rankings from 2012 (updated rankings coming next month!) and that’s not a bad area to be in.

2. Who do I think the nominees of both parties will be?  It’s still way too far out to make a truly accurate prediction, especially when it comes to Vice Presidential candidates.  With a gun to my head, I’d say that the Democrats would be Hillary Clinton for President and Martin O’Malley for Vice President.  Rahm Emanuel is a sleeper VP candidate for Hillary.  As for the GOP, I’d go with Jeb Bush as President.  His running mate is a lot harder to guess at.  If they’re smart and Hillary is the Democratic nominee, the GOP Vice Presidential nominee will be Kelly Ayotte or Condoleezza Rice or Susana Martinez. Then again, if they’re smart, they’ll nominate Jon Huntsman for President tomorrow.  They aren’t and they won’t.

Asker ebojla Asks:
If 2016 is indeed Hillary vs. Jeb, do you think it'll threaten the 1988 election's record for lowest turnout?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

No way!  The turnout is low in Presidential elections when it’s an unappealing matchup or the election isn’t close.  A Hillary vs. Jeb matchup will be appealing to both political bases and it should be a close election, so I think the turnout would be very high if that’s the case.

Also, I’m just going off the top of my head, so I could be mistaken, but I think the 1996 election (Clinton vs. Dole) is actually the lowest turnout in a Presidential election.  Not only was ‘96 was a re-election campaign, but it was an unappealing matchup and Clinton was clearly on his way to a victory, so a lot of voters stayed home on Election Day.  If 1988 still has the lowest turnout, it’s not by much more than ‘96.  The 1988 campaign between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis was hotly contested, but it got so negative that a lot of voters were turned off and stayed away, especially once Bush pulled away from Dukakis in the fall and it became clear he would win the election. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If Dwight Eisenhower were a politician today do you think he would still be a Republican?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I think the better question is if Dwight Eisenhower and Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford were in politics today, would they have allowed batshit crazy extremists who have NO chance of ever winning a national election to hijack the Republican Party? 

No, they would not have allowed that.  Because Eisenhower, Hoover, Nixon, and Ford were leaders.  And the GOP doesn’t have any leaders right now.  That’s why hey have to have a 15-person Royal Rumble every four years to decide on their Presidential nominee.  That’s why they haven’t elected a President not named “Bush” since 1984 — 1984!  If JFK hadn’t been assassinated, he would have been 67 years old in 1984 — the same age Hillary Clinton will be this year.  That’s the last time the Republicans nominated someone not named “Bush” who could win a Presidential election.  And the most reasonable of the rumored 2016 GOP contenders is the guy with that same last name, too.

The question isn’t if so-and-so would be a Republican if they were around today; it is who does the Republican Party belong to?  What does it stand for?  What country does it really believe it represents?  Where is Lincoln’s Republican Party?  Where is Theodore Roosevelt’s Republican Party?  Eisenhower’s Republican Party?  Hell, where is NIXON’s Republican Party?  Because I don’t know many people who today’s GOP represents, and I’m certainly not close with anybody who represents today’s Republican Party because those aren’t the type of people I surround myself with.  The GOP had an identity that I might not have agreed with, but I respected it and Republicans could be proud of it.  They were the party which helped make Civil Rights a reality — not just with Lincoln, but by delivering the votes that LBJ needed in 1964 and 1965 to offset the Southern Democrats.  Today, if the GOP has an identity — and they don’t, I don’t know what they truly stand for, I just know what they are adamantly opposed to — it’s that they are the dysfunctional family that thinks Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and Rick Santorum are viable contenders for the Presidency.

So, this is a long way of saying, yes, Dwight Eisenhower would be a Republican if he were active in politics today.  Why?  Because Dwight Eisenhower was a warrior and a true leader.  Dwight Eisenhower believed in himself, in his ideals, and in this country and the American people.  And if Dwight Eisenhower were around today, he’d take charge of the Republican Party, clear out the crazies, stand his ground, and say, "I am a Republican.  This is what the Republican Party represents.  And you — Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Cory Gardner, Raul Labrador, Dan Burton, David Vitter, Michele Bachmann, Tim Scott, Eric Cantor, etc, etc, etc — are NOT Republicans. Give us back our party so we can make our country work again."

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Do you think Ben Carson has any chance for nomination?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

No, definitely not.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Do you think Jeb Bush is too moderate to get the republican nomination in 16?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Not if the Republicans want to avoid another four years of Democratic control of the Executive Branch.  Moderates may have difficulty winning the GOP nomination, but not a single one of the Conservatives rumored to be considering Presidential bids in 2016 can win a national election.  The Electoral College favors moderates and the Electoral College is the only thing that matters in a Presidential election.  If the GOP nominates Rand Paul or Rick Perry, they might as well concede the election at the Republican National Convention because candidates like Paul and Perry can win a local election or a state election in certain parts of the country, but they can’t win 50 state elections taking place the same day throughout the nation — and that’s what a Presidential election is.  It’s not one big election; it’s 50 regional elections.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
So I read some parallels between Herbert Hoover and Hilary Clinton once. Both were/are very popular, held Cabinet positions, appealed as "progressive champions", appeal/ed to areas hostile to the other party, and are/were more popular than anyone from the other party. Both of the strongest opposition choices (Smith and Christie) are/were involved with shady dealings and are/were incumbent governors that held non-standard views for their parties. Is it a Coincidence or history repeating itself?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Coincidence.  And I don’t think Chris Christie is even in the neighborhood of being Hillary Clinton’s strongest opposition anymore — it’s Jeb Bush heads-and-shoulders above everybody else in the GOP.  In my opinion, Hillary would beat every other Republican rumored to be considering a 2016 bid.