Who do we want on our 2016 GOP presidential ticket? There are a lot of people out there pushing bad choices who claim to know best, but who will put us in a world of hurt if we don’t analyze this with a view toward winning.
Below are my ten conditions that the Republican 2016 ticket must meet:
- Both presidential and vice presidential candidates must be governors. Being a governor gives a candidate an enormous electoral advantage relative to being a senator, representative, cabinet appointee, pizza magnate, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, or any other job. Both halves of the ticket must be governors, so we don’t have to listen to Democrats tout what-if scenarios involving the death of our president and the ascension of our VP to his role.
- Both halves must be governors of swing states, or at least bluish-purple states. If we win a landslide we won’t need those states; if we lose miserably they won’t help; but neither of those scenarios is as likely as one in which we win by a handy but not comfortable margin. Let’s preclude the nail-biting and choose among the 20 or so purple/violet states to give ourselves a head start.
- Our presidential candidate must be a governor of a large state. See #2. By large I mean top-20 by population.
- At least one member of our ticket must be black, Latino, or female. It’s unfortunate that we have to play racial and gender politics. But we do, because Democrats rely on it to win, which means we can’t give them that advantage. The GOP is demonstrably less racist than Democrats, but we have to be 1/10th as racist to be seen as only twice as racist.
- Both halves must have served as governor for at least four years (the length of a presidential term). Both must have been reelected.
- Both must be popular governors. General popularity is necessary to win purple/violet states.
- Our nominees needn’t be Tea Partiers, but they can’t be the sort of centrists the Republican base has increasingly been grumbling about. White voter turnout was a shocking 6 million less than projected in 2012, and 4.5 million less than in 2008—the only reason Democrats thrived despite their lower-than-2008 turnout. This cannot happen again.
- Both candidates must be people no one has been talking about as serious candidates. There’s widespread dissatisfaction among the base about our choices. Therefore, both halves of our ticket must be people who aren’t currently in any poll’s top 10, though perhaps in some polls’ top 15 or 20. We need fresh faces.
- Our presidential candidate should have a record of making wise policy choices but not be so on the frontlines that he has become the object of scorn. We have to consider the positives and negatives of our candidates. We don’t need one with a big, fat bull’s eye on him for the media to destroy.
- Our presidential candidate must be 60-69; our vice presidential candidate must be 50-59. These are the Magic Ages for maximum appeal/credibility.
Who does that leave?
#1 rules out non-governors Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Bob Corker, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Allen West, and Ben Carson. No Ben Carson, conservatives. Step away from the neurosurgeon. Keep your hands where I can see them.
#2 rules out non-swing-staters Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Bob Ehrlich, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, John Huntsman, and Sarah Palin.
#3 rules out small-state guvs Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, and Brian Sandoval, at least for the top of the ticket.
#4 means at least one half of the ticket must be a “minority” like Haley, Martinez, or Sandoval; the Cruzes, Rubios, Wests, Carsons, Cains, Rices, Fiorinas, Bachmanns, Palins, and Jindals have already been disqualified.
#5 rules out Mike Pence, who’s been Governor of Indiana for only two years.
#6 rules out Rick Snyder, who’s in solidly negative territory.
#7. Sorry, Jeb.
#8. Sorry, Chris Christie. If people are already sick of you, they’re not going to fall back in love with you in 2016.
#9. Sorry, Scott Walker. You and Christie broke the mold for union-busting governors, but you’ve also got a (ridiculous) lawsuit against you and a lot of determined enemies.
#10 rules out Nikki Haley, who—like Jindal, Rubio, Cruz, Lee, and Ryan—are babies, politically speaking.
Who’s left? Mitch Daniels and Jim Gilmore have expressed no interest in running, and are also former governors, which isn’t a plus.
That leaves just three names: John Kasich for the top spot, and Brian Sandoval or Susana Martinez for the second. Both of the latter are extremely popular, but Nevada is more of a swing state and has a 50% larger population, so I’m going with Sandoval.
Kasich-Sandoval sounds like a stab in the dark. Given the vagaries of presidential elections, I’ll feel vindicated if these two emerge as serious top-five choices.
But if you agree that the above criteria have merit, the logical endpoint is: Kasich-Sandoval.
- CNN/ORC Poll: Bush surges to 2016 GOP frontrunner (VIDEO) (dailypaul.com)
- Rubio, Cruz, Others Trail Jeb In New GOP Presidential Poll (shark-tank.com)
- Bobby Jindal to meet Tuesday with Iowa pastors (coralvillecourier.typepad.com)
- Undecided and unconvinced voters: ‘Other/Not sure’ currently leads GOP presidential pack, poll finds (washingtontimes.com)
- Who among the 23 potential candidates will win the GOP presidential nod? (blogs.e-rockford.com)