Thursday, April 23, 2015

The 2016 Presidential Election - Off and Running

So, it has begun.   On 3/23/2015, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas formally declared his candidacy to become the 45th President of these United States of America.  597 days to election day, the junior senator from Texas launched the official campaign season to replace President Obama as the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania avenue. 

Since that time, Hillary Clinton, the presumptive candidate for the Democratic party's nomination, Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida, and Rand Paul, Republican senator from Kentucky have also formally declared that they are in the race to gain your vote to become President.  And soon, we'll likely hear from former Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Scott Walker, former Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Chris Christie, former Governor Rick Perry and a host of others who are vying for the nomination of the GOP to compete against Ms. Clinton, who at this time has no serious declared opposition.

So what are we to make of this field of GOP candidates?  Certainly, they are getting off to an early start.  It seems like the 2012 election just happened, and the new candidates are off and running again.  In my life time, I do not recall the tournament beginning as early as this one has.  The field of potential candidates is too large to make a prediction on who will eventually win the GOP nomination.  There are according to, a seemingly non-partisan and fairly objective site that is tracking candidates, 29 potential candidates for the GOP nomination, 12 of whom have formally declared.  Now, all but 3 of the declared candidates are unlikely to be heard of by the general public, but nonetheless the field is crowded at this point.

Indeed, the slate of candidates and potential candidates includes business leaders, politicians, an ordained minister and even a neurosurgeon.   The field of politicians includes 10 governors (either sitting or former), that include the likes of Bush, Walker, Christie, but also Huckabee, Jindahl, Kasich, Pataki, Erlich, Snyder and a few others.  The business leaders include Carly Fiorina, the former HP CEO, and the omnipresent Donald J. Trump, real estate mogul and TV personality.  The array of candidates will provide an interesting mix of experience, point of view, and hopefully some comic relief as they careen toward the primary season.   I expect several of the candidates known and unknown will fall aside due to lack of funding, interest, or other factors.  Certainly, the poll from CNN which was conducted between April 16-19 and is shown on the graphic indicates that "Other Candidates or None of the Above" are currently leading 8 of the candidates shown.  That can't be too uplifting for Chris Christie or Rick Perry, but it's early days. Who knows?  One or more of them may vault to the top before this thing is done.  What is certain, is that we will soon be seeing a never ending stream of political ads, You-Tube videos, and never ending bloviating from the punditry on who will be the nominee. 

As this race is just beginning, and it's a fools errand to pick a nominee at this point, I'm going to publish series of articles on this blog that will highlight the differences in the candidates and their specific views and experiences on those factors that would make a president.   The methodology I will use is described below, and will be ironically objective, because as anyone who has read this blog or knows me can attest, I will not be voting for any of them.  As an avowed Liberal, not one of these individuals will get my support or money.  So, I can be objective about their attributes both positive and negative from the standpoint of who will have the best chance of winning the nomination.   There will be no comparison to Hillary Clinton or any other Independent candidate, and I'll focus on the following factors to make my evaluation of the candidates:

1. Experience - What experience does the candidate possess that makes them more qualified than another for leading a country?
2. Leadership - What leadership traits does the potential candidate possess that makes them suited for the office?
3. Vision - What views, thoughts, ideas, perspectives does the potential candidate possess that can capture the nation's attention and support?
4. Empathy - Does the candidate have a track record of understanding the American people from the wealthiest to the poorest? Is the candidate in touch with the country at large?

Those four factors while general in nature are critical to understanding a person's ability to be President.  Rating the candidates will be done on a 5 point scale, with 1 being a value that indicates the highest qualifications in the category and 5 being the lowest.   In my next article, I'll have the weighting descriptions described for the entire scale.   

The evaluation of the candidates will be my own, and not an indicator of who I necessarily think will win the nomination, but who I think should win the nomination.   As to who will win, we will leverage the same CNN Poll that shows the initial standings of the candidates and comment on week to week changes  where the competitors stack up against each other.  I will make a prediction on the nominee in January of 2016, which even then may be too early as the primary season will not yet be in full bloom.  Until then, I will provide as much information on the candidates as I can in order to give the reader a worthwhile use of their time. 

I'm interested to hear if there are other factors you consider when picking a candidate for President.  Please let me know, as we can certainly consider adding those to the mix. 

Tell me what you think.


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