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Jeb and Hillary Are the Wrong Candidates for 2016
National Journal ^ | May 6, 2014 | Josh Kraushaar

Posted on 05/08/2014 1:14:15 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Donors are overrating brand-name contenders and missing the vulnerability their insider credentials will carry.

Far too often, political coverage is based on the thinking of consultants and donors, and doesn't pay enough attention to what the voters are actually thinking. It's why we focus on presidential horse-race numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire, which couldn't be less predictive, and are often slow to pick up on the issues driving grassroots anger, like Common Core. It's why immigration reform rates as a top legislative priority in the minds of strategists over proposing an economic agenda to assuage voter anxieties.

And it's why pundits and donors alike are vastly overrating the prospects of two brand-name candidates for 2016—Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush—and undervaluing the reality that the current political environment is as toxic as it's ever been for lifelong politicians. At the most fundamental level, the next presidential election is shaping up to be a battle of which party can best conquer its demons—whether Republicans can improve their beaten brand, and whether Clinton (or any other Democrat) can present herself as the candidate of change, given the high level of voter dissatisfaction.

A new Pew Research Center survey, released Monday, underscored the malaise suffusing the American public, and the difficulty Clinton would face overcoming these realities as the nominee. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents said they would like the next president to "offer different policies and programs" than the Obama administration—a rate close to the 70 percent dissatisfaction level against George W. Bush at a comparable time. Even with relatively stronger numbers—only 50 percent wanted new policies in 1999—Al Gore was unable to capitalize, in part because of the public's inherent desire for change. Since World War II, there's been only one stretch where one party has won three straight elections (Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush from 1980-1992).

Clinton's challenge will be to maintain her above-water favorability ratings, despite being closely tied to an unpopular administration. As Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne writes, she needs to win over the one-eighth of voters who disapprove of President Obama but view her favorably. According to last week's ABC News/Washington Post poll, these pro-Hillary, anti-Obama voters are predominantly white (71 percent), blue-collar (47 percent whites without college degrees), and female (63 percent). They're even less likely to vote in this year's midterms than the voters making up the president's core coalition. Many of these voters have become disillusioned under the Obama administration and have been trending away from the Democratic Party. The good news for Clinton is that they're receptive to her candidacy. The bad news is that once she announces as a candidate, there's a risk that her appeal fades away with these groups as Republican attacks begin—and she's unable to match the excitement Obama generated with minorities and young voters.

Republicans also enter the next presidential election with problems and opportunities. On the positive side, their unfavorable numbers aren't predestined to persist, and choosing a compelling nominee would go a long way toward improving the party's image. The bad news is that the Grand Old Party has shown it rarely misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Their field is filled with up-and-coming prospects, from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, but the party donors are fixated on flawed bigger-name candidates like Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who all sport glaring flaws. If the 2012 Republican primary taught any lessons, it should prove that donors aren't exactly the best judge of political talent.

As accomplished as Jeb Bush is, the notion that he'd be the party's strongest contender against Clinton is fanciful—and that's if he could even manage to get out of a primary. He hasn't won an election since 2002, he's proven slow to adapt to the new media landscape and navigating the waters between establishment leadership and the tea-party grassroots. Most importantly, his last name carries significant baggage. Given the pervasive anti-insider environment, would voters elect a third member of the same family? As the nominee, he'd protect Clinton from her biggest vulnerabilities.

As I wrote last month, Bush's protégé Rubio is the candidate to watch closely given his natural political talent and ability to rack up conservative chits while also remaining in the establishment's good graces. Next Tuesday, the Florida senator is giving a speech on retirement security at the National Press Club—a smart course correction from his ill-advised focus on immigration throughout much of 2013. He's emerging as a leading GOP foreign policy voice critical of the Obama administration, an essential asset for 2016—especially if Clinton is the nominee and runs on her record as secretary of State. In this hyper-scrutinizing media and political environment, Rubio has the potential celebrity star power to match Clinton and generate Republican excitement.

But given the tea party's demand for ideological purity and the donors' preference for a known commodity, the prospect of the most electable Republican getting through the primary process—or escaping untainted—is far from guaranteed. And the prospect of a GOP Senate takeover could easily tempt a newly empowered majority to embarrass Obama with investigations and politically motivated legislation. That wouldn't be helpful to the Republican presidential nominee, especially if it's a senator like Rubio or Sen. Rand Paul. (Rubio already has hinted at the possibility of not running for reelection to the Senate, a nod to the baggage of being tied to Congress.)

Surveying the coverage of the outsize personalities dominating political headlines, it's easy to forget just how turbulent our politics have been over the last decade. After inheriting a recession, Obama has failed to turn the economy around, instead spending most of his political capital reinventing the country's health care system. Our foreign policy has veered from hawkish to dovish, with America's standing in the world suffering in both instances. With a liberal president and deeply conservative House, compromise has been in short supply.

Voters are expressing a seemingly permanent bitterness at Washington and our country's governing class. This year's midterms are likely to be the fourth of five wave elections since 2006. If 2016 is another change election, being the candidate of the past will be a burden that won't be easily overcome.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2016; commoncore; hillary; jebbush; joshkraushaar; nationaljournal

1 posted on 05/08/2014 1:14:15 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Mike Pence 2016

2 posted on 05/08/2014 1:46:22 AM PDT by Java4Jay (The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

IF there was an individual mandate for “donating” to a Presidential campaign I think I’d send mine to Rick Perry’s.

3 posted on 05/08/2014 1:48:13 AM PDT by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth.)
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To: topher


4 posted on 05/08/2014 2:29:01 AM PDT by topher (Traditional values -- especially family values -- which have been proven over time.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Actually, Jeb and Hillary are the RIGHT candidates for 2016... as long as they run on the Democratic ticket together. They make a good pair... together. As Democrats.

5 posted on 05/08/2014 3:04:24 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet


6 posted on 05/08/2014 3:56:23 AM PDT by 48th SPS
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To: samtheman

“They make a good pair... together. As Democrats.”

Hate to say it but I disagree.

The farther to the left the democraps move, the more space it makes for the Republicans to move past center towards the left.It leaves us with the choice between completely horrible and significantly horrible.

The only thing that will get the Republicans back where they belong and neuter the Rinos is if we ever got a true center democrat running. If there was a democrat that leaned away from big government, was not pro abortion, and OK on guns, they might actually draw some of the right. That would force the Republicans to actually grow a set and start being what they have promised to be.

Until that happens, the Republicans can continue to take us for granted. And the farther left the democraps move, the worse it gets.

7 posted on 05/08/2014 4:04:40 AM PDT by I cannot think of a name
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Plantagents and the Lancasters. Meanwhile, us peasants get run over in the fight.

8 posted on 05/08/2014 4:53:10 AM PDT by Makana ("Nothing can bring you peace but yourself; nothing, but the triumph of principles." -Emerson)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So another election where we get to choose to vote for the leper with most fingers remaining. Just remember leprosy is a fatal illness and the course the American Sheeples keep voting in is killing the Republic.

9 posted on 05/08/2014 4:59:39 AM PDT by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

Not quite — because it’s not just 2016. ;’)

Hillary as POTUS would mean the end of the US Constitution, IOW, even her nomination is a dealbreaker.

Thanks 2ndDivisionVet.

10 posted on 05/08/2014 9:15:16 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: equaviator

I like Rick Perry...

11 posted on 05/08/2014 11:15:00 AM PDT by GOPJ ( Are we finally going to get a smidgen of truth? - - Freeper Veto!)
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To: I cannot think of a name

My point is that Jeb is a democrat and belongs with Hillary.

12 posted on 05/08/2014 2:36:50 PM PDT by samtheman
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