It is one of my greatest regrets in life that I did not write this article sooner. In waiting to assess the presidential field, I lost dozens of precious opportunities to make jokes about now defeated candidates. I never had a chance to mock Scott Walker’s vacant stare, to interpret Jim Webb’s intermittent grunts, or to wonder where the hell Lincoln Chafee came from and who told him he could be president. I’m especially aggrieved that I failed to joke about Rick Perry’s… something. Maybe it had to do with the EPA? Anyway, I’m delaying no longer. Below is a list of presidential candidates ranked by a solely statistical determination of their odds of becoming president.
Jim Gilmore (Governor of Virginia 1998–2002, Attorney General of Virginia, 1994–1997).
Chance of becoming President in 2017: -32%
Jim Gilmore is a special man who deserves a category all his own. It takes courage to run a presidential campaign when absolutely no one believes in you, including probably your own wife and kids. His campaign slogan, “I’m not part of the problem,” is so hilariously devoid of ambition that even Bernie Sanders probably laughed.
Gilmore might have been a decent candidate if this race was unfolding in 2002, which was the last time he held office. In those years, he had a reputation as a competent, tax-cutting governor. In the intervening years, that perception has dissipated. In April 2007, he announced his candidacy for President. His campaign lasted approximately two-and-a-half months, in which he failed to raise any substantial amount of money, or really do anything whatsoever to suggest he was a serious candidate. After dropping out in July, 2007, he rallied to mount a spirited campaign for the U.S Senate in 2008, challenging Mark Warner, his successor as Governor of Virginia. Normally, senate races in Virginia are tightly fought contests, reflecting the state’s reputation as a battleground. Gilmore lost by 31 percent.
Gilmore’s current campaign is going swimmingly. Sure, he may not have enough support to even qualify for the Republican undercard debates. That anonymity, though, has saved him from being insulted by Donald Trump, who replied, “Him I don’t know,” the one time The Donald was asked about Gilmore. At least Jim has that to hold onto.
The Happy Hour Warriors
George Pataki (Governor of New York, 1995–2006).
Chance of becoming President in 2017: 0%
I don’t have much to say about George Pataki, other than he is an old, pro-choice, pro-gun control Republican who believes in global warming and basic math (have you seen Ben Carson’s tax code!?). Clearly no one with those type of qualifications is fit to be President. All joking aside, there was never any chance that the modern-day Republicans would nominate a 70-year-old with socially liberal leanings who hasn’t held public office in ten years. On the other hand, he’s 6-foot, 5-inches tall, so he has that going for him.
Rick Santorum (Senator from Pennsylvania, 1995–2007, Representative from Pennsylvania, 1991–1995).
Chance of becoming President in 2017: 0%
No one can blame Rick Santorum for running a second campaign for President. After placing second in a historically weak Republican field in 2012, I’m sure it was relatively easy to delude himself into thinking he could compete this year. However, the deck was stacked against him from the beginning of the 2016 cycle. There are half-a-dozen candidates with views just as socially conservative as Santorum’s, but with far more charisma and appeal to economic conservatives (hello Ted Cruz). Moreover, they all share his propensity to make far-fetched claims, taking away much of his free media. The satirical website, The Onion, perfectly captures Santorum’s problem in a piece entitled “Santorum Nostalgic For Time When Beliefs Were Outlandish Enough To Make Headlines.” Poor Rick just doesn’t have any appeal in 2016.
Lindsey Graham (Senator from South Carolina, 2003-Present, Representative from South Carolina, 1995–2003).
Chance of becoming President in 2017: 0%
Lindsey Graham, on the other hand, never had a chance to begin with. He was part of the Gang of Eight that helped get immigration reform through the Senate in 2013; this would likely help him if he was running in the Democratic primary, but it makes him extremely unpalatable as a Republican. The Tea Party hates him, as do most grassroots conservatives. Graham has tried to separate himself from the field with an extremely hawkish foreign policy platform, but that will only get you so far when George Bush’s brother is in the race. Graham’s position on science is also out of the mainstream for conservatives: he believes in it. He is one of the only Republicans left in Congress that has acknowledged the existence of man-made global warming, a huge no-no for any serious Republican candidate. After missing the cut for the undercard stage for the GOP’s November 10 debate, it’s hard to see Graham lasting until Turkey Day.
Better On Paper
Martin O’Malley (Governor of Baltimore, 2007–2017, Mayor of Baltimore, 1999–2007).
Chance of becoming President in 2017: 0%
Poor Martin O’Malley. He’s young, he’s extremely liberal, and he just finished two successful terms as Governor of Maryland. He abolished the death penalty in Maryland, expanded Medicare in the state, and legalized same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court decision, among a host of other liberal policy achievements. All these accomplishments should have set him up to be the fiery liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton.
Instead, O’Malley found himself elbowed out by a 74-year-old self-declared democratic socialist with funny hair. That probably stings a little. Now O’Malley is polling between 0 percent and 4 percent, and has less than $1 million in cash on hand. He really has no chance to break through. At least he’s been able to spend some time in rural Iowa, talking about corn. I’m sure he’s had fun with that.
Rand Paul (Senator from Kentucky, 2011-Present).
Chance of becoming President in 2017: 0.1%
With Rand Paul we have our first positive score! Congratulations, Rand. This is partly because Paul is actually rhetorically moderate enough to win a general election (though if you look at his DW nominate score, he is actually the second most conservative member of the Senate, behind only Mike Lee). In his speeches, he’s discussed sentencing reform, marijuana decriminalization, and limiting data collection by the NSA. He’s made some attempts to reach out to groups beyond the traditional Republican base, including African Americans and young people. And in the first Republican debate, he discussed being “a different kind of Republican” in his closing statement. Sure, his voting record leaves a lot to be desired, but he talks a good game.
The main issue is that Paul has almost no chance of winning the Republican nomination. He may be able to hang on long enough to make it to Iowa; recently, he surprised some by polling well enough to stay on the main stage in the November 10 Republican debate. Yet, as Donald Trump memorably noted in the second GOP debate, Paul is barely qualifying for these events, polling around 3 percent on average. Additionally, he’s been facing increasing pressure from the National Republican Senatorial Committee to drop his presidential bid in order to focus on winning reelection to his U.S Senate seat. Unless some Silicon Valley billionaire decides to bail out Paul with a massive influx of campaign cash, I can’t see Paul sticking around past Iowa.
Mike Huckabee (Governor of Arkansas, 1996–2007).
Chance of becoming President in 2017: 0.2%
Mike Huckabee recently declared that Dred Scott v. Sandford, the horrific 1857 Supreme Court case which declared African Americans could not be citizens, remains the law of the land, though nobody follows it. He was apparently trying to make a point that citizens have the power to defy Supreme Court decisions, and should do so with regard to the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Unfortunately for Huckabee, it came across as though he didn’t know about the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. He also appeared to be comparing same-sex marriage to slavery. Neither implication is particularly flattering, even in a Republican primary. Unfortunately for Huckabee, this sort of remark is fairly typical of his campaign thus far. He may be able to get away with that sort of nonsense when playing to the GOP base, but such a gaffe would be crippling in a general election.
Given his propensity for outlandish remarks, and his low standing in the polls (about 2.4 percent), logic would seem to dictate slotting Huckabee even lower in these rankings. The one word explanation for why he ranks this high? Iowa. Huckabee was the surprise winner of the Iowa Caucuses in 2008, and still has caché within the state. He’s visited Iowa more than any candidate during this election cycle, and trails only Rick Santorum for days spent in the state. All that organizing work will give him a shot at a top 5 finish on election day. If he can manage a strong showing in the Hawkeye state, his campaign could gain enough momentum to make it through to the so-called “SEC primary,” when the Southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia will all hold their primaries on the same day. Given Huckabee’s roots as governor of Arkansas, and his victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Tennessee during the 2008 primaries, Huckabee could have a real shot at the nomination should his campaign survive until then.
Chris Christie (Governor of New Jersey, 2010-Present).
Chance of becoming President in 2017: 0.3%
At this point, I’m really not sure what the point of continuing is for Christie. His role as tough-talking New York area politician has been usurped by Donald Trump. Citizens from his own state hate him, and his governorship is now widely seen as a failure. The New York Times recently called on Christie to resign so he may focus on governing New Jersey. Then he got bumped from the main stage ahead of the latest GOP debate. It’s quite a fall for Christie, who luminaries such as Henry Kissinger and David Koch begged to run for the nomination in 2012.
On the other hand, Christie still has some of the charisma that made him such an attractive politician in the first place. He has generally performed well in the GOP debates thus far, and he can still electrify voters in New Hampshire town halls. Christie also finished fifth in the most recent primary poll in New Hampshire, and it remains possible that he do well in the state. As a general election candidate, Christie could be viable. Though he would take some flack for Bridgegate and completely ruining New Jersey’s finances, people might buy into his reputation as a “straight talker,” and he could tout his formally moderate positions on immigration and the environment. His window is rapidly closing, but Christie could still make an impact on the 2016 elections.
Bernie and the Clownfish
Carly Fiorina (CEO of Hewlett-Packard, 1999–2005).
Chance of becoming President: 0.7%
Before Carly Fiorina came along, I didn’t realize that burning a large company to the ground made one qualified to run for President. I appreciate Carly for teaching me that valuable lesson.
In all seriousness, there is no reason a person like Fiorina should ever receive consideration as a presidential candidate. She’s never held public office, and her only notable achievement was becoming CEO of a company she subsequently wrecked. As head of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina oversaw the layoffs of 30,000 employers, and the company lost more than half its value during her tenure. Indeed, as soon as word spread that she had been fired, HP’s stock jumped 7 percent. That’s hardly the record of a visionary leader. It’s also hard to brand yourself as a “job creator” when you killed the jobs of enough people to fill a baseball stadium.
In addition to her weak resumé, Fiorina has also failed to raise a substantial amount of campaign cash, and has received very few endorsements from Republican elites. Despite a polling bounce from her strong performance in some debates, she has also been unable to remain among the top five polling candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire. Unless she is able to win most of the remaining Republican debates decisively, it is hard to imagine Fiorina claiming that GOP nomination.
Ben Carson (Retired Pediatric Neurosurgeon).
Chance of becoming President: 0.8%
Ben Carson is another political outsider with no chance of actually winning the general election. Sure, he will pick up a few primary votes from comparing the Affordable Care Act to slavery. He probably also locked down the paranoid survivalist vote by suggesting that the Holocaust could have been prevented if only the Jews were more heavily armed. Fortunately, these sort of comments won’t fly with the general electorate. His policy positions, which are rarely mentioned on the campaign trail, are also unpalatable. Carson is on record supporting a 10 percent flat income tax, denying man-made climate change, and forbidding abortions in the case of rape or incest. Such radical proposals may appeal to some Republican voters, but they sound outlandish to nearly everyone else.
Moreover, Carson’s appeal has been built mostly around a cult of personality. For whatever reason, people trust Ben Carson, and I imagine many of his supporters would vote for him irrespective of his policy positions. That carefully cultivated personal image, however, has begun to crack in recent days. Following reports that Carson falsely claimed to have received a scholarship offer from West Point, questions have surfaced as to whether he embellished other parts of his otherwise remarkable biography. Given that his campaign relies heavily on his high favorability and trustworthiness ratings, Carson may struggle in the coming months.
Donald Trump (Real Estate Developer, Reality Television Show Personality).
Chance of becoming President: 0.9%
Pretty much everything there is to be said about Donald Trump has already been said. He’s 2016’s most written-about, most googled, and most disgusting politician. I find it disturbing that a candidate running as an out-and-out racist can do well in 2015. I refuse to believe that a majority of Americans would vote for someone who is basically incapable of articulating policy positions, has absolutely no plan besides “winning,” and treats women with an incredible amount of disrespect. If Trump were ever to leave the strange little bubble that the GOP primaries are taking place within, he would find a world where calling immigrants “rapists,” and women “pigs” are acts of intolerance that disqualify anyone, no matter how rich, from holding the highest office in the land. A coalition of the sane will, at some point, defeat Trump and the hate-filled multitudes supporting him. Either that, or the population of Canada triples. One of the two.
Ted Cruz (Senator from Texas, 2013-Present, Texas Solicitor General, 2003–2008).
Chance of becoming President: 1%
Last year, I wrote that Ted Cruz’s chance of becoming President was about .001 percent. Now, he’s at 1 percent. That’s a thousand-fold increase! Good job Ted!
Ted Cruz actually has a legitimate chance of winning the Republican nomination. He’s been consistently polling third or fourth in nationally among Republicans, and he’s at 12 percent in Iowa, where he’s also the second-choice of 10 percent of likely caucus-goers. Cruz has also set up himself up to inherit much of the support of Ben Carson or Donald Trump should either falter; Carson because they share an evangelical base, and Trump because Cruz has frequently praised the mogul. He’s raised a startling amount of money (second-most among Republicans), and has the infrastructure to contest all the early state primaries. His debate performances have been excellent thus far, and he is, by most accounts, extremely intelligent. There is a very real chance he could be running in the general election next fall.
However, there does not exist a very real chance that Cruz will win next fall. That’s because, in case anyone forgot, Ted Cruz is certifiably insane. Even John McCain, the Republican nominee from 2008, admits as much, referring to Cruz as one of the “wacko birds on the right.” He’s vehemently disliked by his Republican colleagues in the Senate, and is strongly identified with the 2013 government shutdown that cost the economy billions. He wants to discard the existing tax structure and implement a 10 percent flat tax. He denies the existence of global warming, and doesn’t believe women who are raped should be able to get an abortion. All of this makes him an ideologue waaaaaaay outside the political mainstream, and fundamentally incapable of competing in any state outside of the South and rural Northwest.
Bernie Sanders (Senator from Vermont, 2007-Present, Congressman from Vermont, 1991–2007).
Chance of becoming President: 3%
I love Bernie Sanders. I’ve donated money to Bernie Sanders, I’ve liked his Facebook page, and I am going to vote for him in the 2016 Maine Democratic Caucus. A Bernie Sanders presidency would probably only last one term, but it would be glorious. That said, Bernie Sanders can probably only win the general election if he runs against one of the aforementioned clownfish. The democratic socialist label would be difficult to overcome: only 47 percent of Americans say they would even consider voting for a well-qualified socialist candidate. To put that in perspective, 60 percent of Americans say they would consider voting for a well-qualified Muslim candidate. In a country with as much misguided Islamophobia as the United States, those polling statistics make a strong statement about the toxicity of the socialist moniker. Sanders would likely struggle against any of the Republicans discussed later in this list.
Moreover, Bernie is extremely unlikely to win the Democratic nomination. For all his strength in New Hampshire, he still trails Hillary Clinton by a significant margin nationally, and is struggling to make inroads with voters of color. The Democratic establishment is also opposed to his nomination, and given that 15 percent of the votes at the Democratic National Convention will be cast by establishment-leaning superdelegates, Sanders has only the smallest of chances of capturing the Democratic nomination.
The Ones They Should Nominate
John Kasich (Governor of Ohio, 2011-Present, Congressman from Ohio, 1983–2001, Chair of House Budget Committee 1995–2001).
Chance of becoming President: 5%
The 5 percent here represents the odds of Kasich winning the Republican nomination, because if he were the nominee, he would win the presidency in a landslide. Kasich has a sterling (if perhaps unearned) reputation as a moderate. In contrast to every candidate he faces for the Republican nomination, Kasich supported expanding Medicare in his state under the Affordable Care Act. He has advocated for respect for LBGTQ couples in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, and has solid fiscal credentials after leading the House Budget committee to four consecutive balanced budgets in the halcyon days of the late 1990s. More importantly, he’s the popular governor of OHIO, the mother of all swing-states. Kasich would balance his ticket perfectly with Marco Rubio of Florida, and the two would roll on to win by large margins in the definitive battleground states. Of course, none of this will happen, because all the traits that make Kasich an excellent general election candidate make him a poor fit for the Republican primaries.
Jeb Bush (Governor of Florida, 1999–2007)
Chance of becoming President: 6%
The last few weeks have not been kind to Jeb Bush. First, he misguidedly attacked Marco Rubio’s Senate attendance record at the October 28 GOP debate in Boulder, Colorado. Rubio’s masterful response to Bush’s comments left Bush with egg on his face, and helped propel Rubio to a decisive victory in that contest. In the wake of Bush’s poor performance, his polling numbers dropped through the floor, to about 4 percent nationally and 7 percent in must-win New Hampshire. Rubio’s performance won him several critical endorsements, and a few of Bush’s supporters have already jumped ship to his fellow Floridian. Now, Bush is pushing forward with an ill-advised “Jeb Can Fix It” campaign tour, which has already been thoroughly mocked across the web. To some, his campaign appears to be on life-support.
However, the structural factors that usually decide the GOP nominee still favor Bush. His official campaign only has $10.3 million in cash-on-hand, but his Right-to-Rise SuperPac still has nearly $100 million. Bush has also racked up more endorsements from National Republican figures than any other candidate, which are generally considered a strong measure of viability. He is one of only four candidates currently polling in the top five in both New Hampshire and Iowa, and still has all the advantages that come with the Bush family’s national fundraising network. He also has a strong record of accomplishment (from a conservative point of view) as governor of Florida, and as voters become more and more serious as Iowa and New Hampshire approach, that record figures to boast his campaign. Moreover, Jeb is a credible general election candidate. Unlike Donald Trump, he isn’t reviled among Hispanics. Unlike Ted Cruz, he isn’t hated by his own colleagues. And unlike Ben Carson, he’s not crazy.
After spending eight years in the wilderness, national Republicans are eager to get back into the White House. They are well-aware that Trump, Cruz, and Carson are not nationally viable, and that their chances are generally weak if they can’t shake their image as a party of radical idealogues. Of the top polling candidates right now, only Kasich, Bush, and Rubio have broad appeal. Of those three, only Bush is viewed favorably by over 35 percent of Americans. Jeb still wins Florida for Republicans, and has a real chance to compete in Colorado and Nevada, whose growing Hispanic populations are putting those states increasingly out of reach for Republicans. Bush may be struggling right now, but he remains one of the GOP’s only hopes.
The Backup Plans
Mitt Romney (Republican Presidential Nominee, 2012, Governor of Massachusetts, 2003–2007).
Chance of becoming President: 6%
Joe Biden (Vice President of the United States, 2009-Present, Senator from Delaware, 1973–2009)
Chance of becoming President: 8%
I know that Mitt Romney and Joe Biden are not running for President. That does not mean, however, that neither wants to be President. Mitt Romney’s brief flirtation with a third run near the beginning of 2015 and Biden’s agonizing throughout this summer and fall made it clear that both men would take the job if they could get it. Neither wanted to go through the long slough of primary season, but I would be willing to bet that both would answer the call if drafted by their party.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Democratic establishment is not keen on the idea of a Sanders nomination. While adored by the party’s base, Sanders is considered too far outside the mainstream to be a competitive general election candidate. Thus, if Clinton were to for some reason fall apart (via scandal, personal health crisis, Bill cheating again, etc.) party elites such as Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Barack Obama would likely press for a Biden candidacy, and the entire machinery of the Democratic National Convention would be manipulated to produce Biden’s nomination. As the sitting Vice President, Biden is the party’s clear fallback choice, and if Hillary does implode, the party will move hell or high water to put him at the top of the ticket. Thus, even though Biden is not campaigning, he is still very much in the mix for 2016.
Romney, meanwhile, could end up with the Republican nomination if a particularly unpalatable candidate leads the delegate count at the time of the Republican National Convention. As a former party nominee, Romney has already been vetted and has a national fundraising network. Moreover, after the various inane comments made by Republicans candidates this election cycle, and some of their truly wacky policy proposals, Romney comes across as almost a moderate wise-man within the Republican Party. No one doubts that he is capable of winning a general election under the right circumstances. As such, why wouldn’t the Republican establishment turn to Romney, if, say, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz was the leading candidate going into the convention, or the party was hopelessly splintered?
It is entirely possible that one of the aforementioned scenarios could occur. After all, there remains 15 candidates in the race for the Republican nomination, and few are showing signs that they are ready to quit soon. In the age of the SuperPAC, candidates who would once be driven from the race due to lack of funds can now survive if they have one wealthy benefactor. There could easily be 7 or 8 candidates remaining after the early primary states, and such a mass of candidates could easily prevent a single individual from winning an outright majority. If that were to happen, the Republican National Convention would descend into chaos, and it is easy to picture Mitt Romney riding in on a white horse to save the day. No, Mitt isn’t campaigning this year, but he still might end up President.
Marco Rubio (Senator from Florida, 2011-Present, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, 2005–2007)
Chance of becoming President: 29%
Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State, 2009–2013, Senator from New York, 2001–2009, First Lady of the United States, 1993–2001).
Chance of becoming President: 39%
Five years into the future, we will remember the third Republican primary debate as the turning point in the GOP nominating contest. In a memorable exchange with Jeb Bush, Rubio easily defused questions about his lackluster Senate attendance while simultaneously painting Bush as a political panderer. Bush’s subsequent demur sealed Rubio’s victory in that exchange, and Rubio went on to win the debate on the whole. Since then, Rubio’s campaigns has been a juggernaut, claiming the endorsements of three senators in a single week, locking down important donors, and stealing members of Bush’s once vaulted fundraising organization. The prediction markets now give Rubio a 45 percent chance of winning the nomination, and he has jumped to third in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. GOP elites are beginning to recognize that Rubio is their best option given today’s political realities.
From a logical standpoint, Rubio makes the most sense as the Republican nominee. He is the only candidate who can successfully marry the radical and establishment wings of the Republican party. His extremist stance on abortion (no exceptions for rape or incest) make him palatable to the party’s right wing, but his other stances are in line with the positions of the Republican establishment. His tax plan, while probably not feasible, is still among the most reasonable of the Republican candidates. He would only lower the top tax bracket by 5 percent; this would of course deprive the government of the funds necessary to survive, but it wouldn’t be as disastrous as the 10 percent flat tax advocated by Carson. He has supported immigration reform in the past, even if he has disavowed that position in the GOP primary, and he could easily return to a more pro-immigrant stance for the general election. Moreover, Rubio’s personal biography is as compelling as any candidate in the race. Unlike other candidates, who lamely point to their parents or grandparents to show they understand poverty, Rubio actually grew up poor. He had to borrow $100,000 to pay for his education, and even today, he is probably the least wealthy candidate in the Republican field. As such, Rubio is seen as credible when he claims to understand the financial troubles of everyday Americans.
The irony of Rubio’s probable nomination is that he strongly resembles the one person Republicans hate above all others, President Obama. Like Obama, he has served only a single term in the U.S Senate and has only state legislative experience to otherwise inform him. He is also extremely young: come November 2016, Rubio will be 45, meaning he would be the second youngest person ever elected President. Obama’s youth and inexperience were precisely the reasons why Republicans claimed him unqualified to be President, yet they appear ready to ignore those same traits in Rubio. This contradiction hasn’t been lost on Republicans. Jeb Bush is already campaigning against Rubio as “GOP Obama,” and Rubio’s scant resumé has certainly caused cognitive dissonance in the minds of some Republicans.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton is everything that Republicans claim to want in a candidate. She spent a lifetime in the highest echelon of politics, served in both executive and legislative capacities, and is old enough to dress herself in the morning.
As recently as a month ago, I would have put the probability of Clinton winning down around 20 percent. Back then, Bernie Sanders was rising, Joe Biden was still pondering, and the email scandal was mounting. Her campaign seemed to be in deep trouble, and Democrats were considering all sorts of alternatives, from Al Gore to John Kerry to Joe Biden. Since then, Clinton has caught a remarkable series of breaks that have returned her to the status of the “inevitable” candidate.
First, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted that the House Select Committee on Benghazi was created in part merely to reduce Clinton’s poll numbers. Next, Hillary turned in an excellent performance in the first Democratic debate, assisted by Sanders who memorably opined “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” Having been absolved of guilt by Sanders in the eyes of Democratic voters, Hillary took on the Select Committee on Benghazi. She testified for 11 hours before the panel, and by the end, it was clear that the Republicans had once again overreached in attacking a Clinton. In the meantime, sitting Vice President Joe Biden decided to pass on the 2016 nomination contest. The end result was a substantial bump in Clinton’s poll numbers, a potentially significant rival neutralized, and renewed frontrunner status in 2016.
All of the following has ensured that Clinton will make it through the primaries unscathed, and she is set up well to face Rubio in the general election. American voters are fickle; after electing one sort of President, they frequently elect a successor that bears little resemblance. After selecting the frail Dwight Eisenhower twice in the 1950s, voters went with the young and apparently vigorous JFK in 1960. After twice electing Richard Nixon, a notorious ball of slime, voters chose the squeaky clean Jimmy Carter in 1980. Following Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades in the late 1990s, voters turned to Al Gore the extremely religious George W. Bush in 2000. And most memorably, having endured George Bush’s disastrous foreign policy decisions and fiscal mismanagement, votes turned to the anti-war candidate, Barack Obama, whose ability to combine nouns and verbs into coherent sentences also sharply contrasted with that of Bush. Now, voters will likely face a choice between another young, cerebral, inexperienced, but undeniably gifted politician, and a well-qualified older candidate without the same polish. In 2008, the American public selected the former. Here’s betting they pick the latter in 2016.
*Editor’s Note: This piece is satire, in case you couldn’t already tell. No statistics were used to arrive at the percentages given to each candidate.
Brett Parker, a junior studying political science, is the managing editor of Stanford Political Journal.