Dead Presidents

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

By Anthony Bergen
E-Mail: bergen.anthony@gmail.com
Posts tagged "2016 Election"
Asker robofsydney Asks:
Could the Democrats nominate Joe Biden as Hillarys running mate, assuming of course that he wanted another term as veep?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

If the Democratic Party wanted to nominate him as Vice President again and Biden wanted to run for Vice President again, yes, he could be nominated as VP again. The only thing that could prevent someone from being Vice President is if they were Constitutionally ineligible to be President. So, a Vice President that never served as President could technically continue being elected Vice President every four years and never be term-limited. 

With all of that said, Biden doesn’t want to be Vice President for four more years. The Democrats wouldn’t nominate Biden for another four years as Vice President. And a ticket of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden wouldn’t work for a number reasons — the main one being that Hillary is going to be 69 years old on Election Day in 2016 and Biden is going to be 73 years old (and he’d turn 74 before they were inaugurated). Both of them need a younger running mate, no matter what position of the ticket they are on, and neither of them want to be Vice President. But, if everyone wanted to do so, yes, they could nominate Biden again.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Why isn't Scott Walker mentioned very often as a potential contender for president?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Because he has to actually be re-elected as Governor of Wisconsin first — and that’s not a guarantee. If Walker is re-elected next month, he’ll be in the conversation. If not, he’s not even the best potential GOP candidate from Wisconsin. Hell, even if he is re-elected, he might not be the GOP’s best candidate from Wisconsin.

Barring some major scandal or health issue, Hillary Clinton will easily win the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination, and I’m pretty sure that she’ll win the general election, too. The question is how big of a victory it will be. Depending on who her Republican opponent is, it could be a landslide.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If Biden doesn't win the 2016 Presidential nomination, is there any chance of him going back to the Senate? If not from Delaware maybe another state could adopt him for the experience and clout he brings?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I could absolutely see Vice President Biden running for the Senate again after leaving the Vice Presidency. Biden LOVES the Senate, and he doesn’t seem like a guy who is just going to retire. He is beloved in Delaware, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of Delaware’s Senators stepped aside so that Biden could reclaim his seat.

I’d be very happy with Biden winning the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, but I know that it isn’t going to happen. Regaining his Senate seat would be a great consolation prize.

Interesting. I would not be surprised if Admiral McRaven is actually a Democrat; he spoke highly of working with both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, but he’s also been quoted as saying that Obama is “fantastic”. However, he also added that he’s “not a political guy” and while some military leaders over the years have been less than cautious about revealing their political leanings, McRaven is not one of them.

I’d still be surprised to see someone at McRaven’s level of popularity and respect decide to enter the political world by seeking the Vice Presidency because McRaven is in the rare position of being able to step in and immediately be a Presidential contender. (General Petraeus was definitely at that level before his affair and still might be able to be a contender if he ran for the Presidency.) But McRaven frequently discussed that the strategy for success in special operations includes proper planning and preparation, so perhaps he might see the Vice Presidency as a necessary type of experience for embarking on a political career.

Then again, maybe Admiral McRaven is like General William Tecumseh Sherman and doesn’t see a political career as a path he wants (or needs) to take. Now that he’s retired from the Navy, McRaven is taking over as chancellor of his alma mater, the University of Texas, and considering how smart McRaven is, it’s easy to understand why he’d want to steer clear of politics.

(With that said, a Clinton/McRaven ticket might win 450 Electoral votes.)

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Romney/McRaven 2016?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

First of all, we don’t even know what political party Admiral McRaven belongs to. Secondly, if McRaven does make himself available for political office, I highly doubt it would be as Vice President — especially when he’s one of the few people who could actually beat Hillary Clinton.

If he’s a Republican, I’d love to see Admiral McRaven run because he’s demonstrated his ability as a leader and we need the best possible leadership. Even if he’s not a member of my party, I’d like to see him as a nominee because we deserve to have the best options possible when we’re choosing our President. 

And if he’s a Democrat…well…I’m quickly talking myself into him anyway. For more on McRaven’s qualifications, go read the article published Saturday on CNN.com by Peter Bergen (no relation), "William McRaven: The man who hunted bin Laden, Saddam, and the pirates"

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If you were told that you would win $1 million if you chose a Republican who could win the 2016 election who would it be? The rules are that anyone you choose to run would accept but you only win the million dollars if the republican you pick actually wins the election
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Just a few days ago, I mentioned the person that Republicans should be begging and pleading to declare that he belongs to their party and urging to run for office: Admiral William McRaven, who is in a perfect position to do just that since he retired from the Navy just a few days ago.

McRaven is the rare American public figure who is untouched (and unsullied) by the political climate of the last 20 years. He was the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command during a time when the work of the Special Forces truly stood out as the best of the best. He played a major role in finding Saddam Hussein and organizing and commanding the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. McRaven even continued taking part in Navy SEAL raids in Afghanistan while he was a three-star Admiral.

Who could run against that? How would any career politician — Democrat or Republican — possibly challenge Admiral McRaven if he decided to run for President? They couldn’t. McRaven could say, “This country needs leadership and this is how I’ve led,” and no politician could stand up and say, “Well, you haven’t served in Congress or as an elected official” because McRaven could just say, “Exactly. And this is how I led…”

Hell, I’m starting to hope he’s a Democrat because I’ve talked myself into McRaven for President. 

Asker chrisdelberk Asks:
What do you think of the possibility of a Tea Party 3rd candidate in 2016?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

If it happened, it would automatically hand the election over to the Democrats. A third party candidate would split the non-Democratic vote, and neither the mainstream Republican candidate or the third party Tea Party candidate would be able to garner the votes needed to win many, if any, states. It would result in a Democratic landslide in the Electoral College, and it would be catastrophic for the GOP.

An example of what this would look like is the 1912 election when incumbent President William Howard Taft, a Republican, was challenged by his mentor and predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, for the GOP nomination. Since Taft was President and the President is head of the party, Taft controlled enough delegates to hold on to the Republican nomination despite Roosevelt’s popularity nationally and scores of dissatisfied Republicans. When Taft was renominated, Roosevelt bolted from the party and became the Progressive Party (or “Bull Moose” Party) nominee. The Taft/Roosevelt split also fractured the Republican Party and the scattered any possible majority for President Taft or Roosevelt. It also drove many progressive Republicans towards the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson, who pledged a progressive platform. Wilson hadn’t even served two years as Governor of New Jersey at that point (his only experience in elective politics), but the drama within the Republican Party during the 1912 election guaranteed Wilson’s victory so far out that Wilson spent much of the final weeks of the campaign working to elect Democratic members of Congress to work with him once he was elected President instead of focusing on his own campaign.

The final result was an Electoral College and popular vote bloodbath. In the Electoral College, Wilson won 435 votes to Roosevelt’s 88 and Taft’s 8. Wilson won 42% of the popular vote while Roosevelt won 27% and Taft won 23%. It would be very difficult for a third party candidate to win a Presidential election — not impossible, but very difficult. For a third party candidate to win, that party would likely need to be on the ballot in two or three Presidential elections first in order to gain exposure, complete ballot access nationally, and win the confidence of an electorate which has become conditioned to vote for one of two major parties. A third party candidate’s success in a Presidential election would also likely require a solid foundation on the local, state, and federal love, so that there is a base of supporters, surrogates, and other elected officials to advocate the party and its candidate. A third party’s success wouldn’t come from winning one Presidential election; it would come from electing members of Congress, Governors, local officials, and then winning a Presidential election. Like I said, it’s not impossible, but it is very difficult — and it is way harder now than it was in 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt was just a few years removed from a very popular Presidency and one of the most famous people in the world.

Finally — and this is the most important thing pertaining to your question — a Tea Party candidate absolutely can not and will not ever win a national election. A third party candidate winning a Presidential election is unlikely but not impossible; a Tea Party candidate winning a Presidential election is impossible. There is no way to make the Electoral College math work for a Tea Party candidate on the national level. And if the Tea Party did run a third party candidate for President, that would be as a major protest against the mainstream Republican Party. It would sabotage the party’s shot at that particular election, and possibly even fatally split the party on a national level. Tea Party candidates can win (and have won) seats in Congress, but a national election victory isn’t even slightly possible. The GOP would do everything it could to prevent a third party candidate from the Tea Party running for President.  

In my American Government class today, we had to try and predict the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election based on passed voting trends. We concluded that the most likely candidate to win would be a Republican Governor. If there's any chance this assumption is right, which candidate do you think could pull this off?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

An incumbent Republican Governor? As I’ve said many times, I don’t see the Electoral College math working out in 2016 for any Republican candidate, and I especially don’t see any current Republican Governor winning the nomination or election. The best two candidates for the GOP, in my opinion, are Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. Now, they are both former Governors, of course, but not currently in office.

With that said, I do believe Governors tend to be the best Presidential candidates and have the best “head start” of sorts if elected President. Governors have executive experience that is about the closest thing to the Presidency that one can experience, even if they are on completely different levels.

If I had to choose the incumbent Governor who would be the best candidate nationally for the GOP in 2016, I’d say that it’s Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. He has a lot going for him and is a rising star, but 2016 is too soon for Governor Sandoval. Still, if I’m forced to pick a GOP Governor currently serving, that’s who I would put my money on.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Are there any wild card candidates who would make a difference if they ran for president in 2016?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I don’t know what party he belongs to, but if the GOP were smart, they’d be BEGGING Admiral William McRaven to declare that he is Republican and anoint him as their 2016 Presidential nominee tomorrow. Admiral McRaven is a star, he’s a hell of a public speaker, he’s the commander of the special operations forces that played such an integral part in the War on Terror, and while President Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Admiral McRaven planned the details and oversaw the operation as it was being carried out. General David Petraeus would have been a perfect choice before his extramarital affair took a bit of the shine off of him (General Petraeus could still bounce back from that if he wanted to run); Admiral McRaven would be a dangerous candidate against any of the most-talked-about potential 2016 candidates. He could even beat Hillary Clinton.

Would he run? I don’t know. And if Admiral McRaven did run, is he even a Republican? That’s what the GOP should be trying to figure out. Like I said, General Petraeus could rise above the affair he had and still be a Presidential contender, so I think the GOP should be targeting him, too, trying to ascertain whether he is a Republican, and urging him to consider seeking the Presidency.

We haven’t elected a President primarily known for his military career since Dwight D. Eisenhower, but we also haven’t had top-level military commanders seek the Presidency very often since then. General Wesley Clark sought the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination, but I thought his campaign was really low-key and half-assed. I actually supported General Clark at first in 2004, but it seemed like I was more excited about the prospect of his candidacy than the General was. Other than Clark, nobody primarily known for being a military commander has even sought a major party’s Presidential nomination since Eisenhower was elected. 

Al Gore will always be a potential wild card who could shake up the race, as well, but someone like Admiral McRaven would really turn things on their head. The least popular Americans in the country right now are politicians with the exception of a few state Governors who still enjoy a bit of popularity in their own regions but are largely unknown outside of that area. Who better to run for President at a time when Americans have a record-low opinion of politicians than someone who ISN’T a politician? It is difficult for non-politicians to gain traction in Presidential elections because as unpopular as politicians might be, the electorate immediately wonders whether a person who hasn’t held elective office is qualified to lead. Those questions would be null-and-void with Admiral William McRaven. Of course he is qualified to lead, and he’s not only undamaged by the toxic political climate of the 21st Century but he’s so above politics that we don’t even know what party he belongs to until he tells us. I never mention him with potential 2016 candidates because I’ve never heard his name connected with a possible run (or connected with any of the parties), but Admiral McRaven could win and win big (even against Hillary Clinton) if he could be convinced to run.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If the Republican Party shot itself in the foot in October and through some miracle, Democtats took both chambers of congress, do you think Obama would be able to get anything important done, or is he already too far gone now?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Well, let’s be clear, for the Democrats to miraculously win both chambers of Congress in November, it would require a more serious wound than the GOP shooting itself in the foot. Both parties shoot each of their members in both feet almost as a requirement for taking your seat in the House and Senate; so, it’s definitely not happening.

But, yes, if Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, President Obama would still have time to get some things done — roughly from the day the new Congressional session began (January 3, 2015) until the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in the summer of 2016. After the nominating conventions, all eyes turn to the general election, of course, but more crucially, members of Congress (particularly the House since all members face re-election) focus on their own campaigns and get very cautious. But for those 18 months or so, the President could definitely get some things done, and would be smart to push through immigration reform and try to shore up the liberal side of the Supreme Court since it’s up-in-the-air who the next President will be and it’s impossible to say whether there would be favorable conditions for confirmation in the 115th Congress that starts in 2017.

It’s not happening, though. And, conversely, if the Republicans win both chambers of Congress on November 4th, President Obama becomes a lame-duck President before he eats breakfast on the morning of November 5th. 

I'm more of a lefty as well and I agree with your analysis. I'm curious though, who do you see as a winnable GOPer if Hills doesn't take too much of a nosedive from Obama's second term shortcomings? My gut tells me that Portman would be an excellent challenger, though I think his marriage equality support bc of his son is a liability for him on the natl stage with his base. Beyond that, there's not really any mainstreamers that have the fire and centrism that I think they need
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I don’t think any Republican can win a national election against Hillary Clinton. I think Jon Huntsman could give her a run for her money, but that would require Huntsman wrapping up the GOP nomination extremely early and the rest of the country getting to know him really well before the general election season kicks into gear. But that’s not going to happen. The GOP’s best chance — and I know that it isn’t exciting and it isn’t what most people want to see — is Jeb Bush. Or, even less exciting — Mitt Romney. I can’t imagine Romney running again unless Bush decides not to and the GOP is dying for someone who could give them a shot, but Romney is relatively undamaged for a guy who lost a Presidential election.

Interestingly, if Mitt Romney ran again in 2016, that might remove the problems Hillary is going to face about her age. A lot of people don’t realize this because he doesn’t seem to age, but Mitt Romney is actually over 7 months older than Hillary. If it was Hillary vs. Mitt, no matter what the outcome, the next President would be the second-oldest to ever be elected.

I definitely understand that thinking, but the longer that primary campaigns are drawn out, the more damage the eventual nominee takes from their own side that can be used against them in the general election. And, sometimes, when someone from the fringe launches a campaign, they get that taste for the Presidency, and might decide to launch a third-party challenge, which would siphon votes from the eventual nominee and could possibly swing a national election that would otherwise be a definite victory. Presidential campaigns — whether it is a primary campaign or the general election — are not the time to score points, no matter how important the issue might be. It’s harmful for the process and, honestly, it doesn’t really work because the campaign is always the story, not the issues, as strange as that might sound.