As I mentioned in my other list of Republican presidential candidates, I categorized them all into two groups. The candidates featured in this list are all long-shots for the nomination and the general election. And when I say “long-shots,” I’m talking about hundreds of miles of obstacles between them and the presidency. The short version here is that none of these people will be elected president. A few of them might be able to squeeze and wiggle their way into the Republican nomination, but they have no real chances against a serious Democratic challenger in the 2016 election. They have, as the title suggests, a snowball’s chance in hell. With that being said, let’s look at the basket cases who made it on this list.
Rich, what poor bastard is up first?
Dr. Ben Carson, COME ON DOWN! Ben here is actually very interesting. Of course, when I say interesting, I really mean that I can’t decide if I just disagree with him or if I completely dislike him. It’s a surprisingly fine line. Let’s start with the basics: Dr. Ben Carson is a former neurosurgeon and a deeply conservative man. Naturally, given his occupation, health care will likely be a huge part of his policy going into the primaries. However, Carson may find it nearly impossible to push for repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the general election, given how long it’s been the law of the land.
But beyond healthcare, Ben faces a very similar challenge to the one Rand Paul faces. Carson’s big issue is healthcare, but he’ll have to shape a policy for the Middle East, the economy, government intrusion of privacy, and more. I’d be beating a dead horse if I repeated everything I said about Rand Paul in the other list, but Carson has a long way to go before he’s considered a viable candidate.
I will say that I think Ben might be able to capitalize on the “black Republican candidate” angle that Herman Cain mothballed in 2012. But that alone won’t be enough to propel him past the primaries, much less give him a reasonable chance at beating any of the Democratic candidates.
On top of the holes in his policy (or lack thereof), Carson has no experience in government. None. He’s never held public office in any form. To say he’s too inexperienced to hold the office of the president would be a gross understatement. Every other candidate in the GOP field at least has a congressional record or a governorship to point to as some indication that they know how government works and how to work within it. Carson has none of that. So not only will he be fighting to establish himself in a policy-driven environment, he’ll also have to climb over claims that he doesn’t have the slightest idea how to be president. Top that cake of challenges off with the fact that Carson has said controversial Tea Party-esque things about President Obama, and it makes for insurmountable odds.
We’ll check back in with Ben soon enough. Who’s the next nutcase on the list, Rich?
Rick Santorum, COME ON DOWN!! Can I just take a moment to express how immensely happy this makes me? Santorum announced his candidacy, which was received with very little media coverage and almost no Republican fanfare (because let’s face it: every time a GOP candidate announces they’re running, Roger Ailes takes a shot of tequila). Based on his announcement and the nonsensical speech he gave, it looks like he’ll be focusing heavily on economics this time around.
Of course, that’s probably in his best interest, since he centered his 2012 campaign on gay people and abortion, which didn’t help him in the primaries. He did put up quite a fight, and he made Mitt Romney’s campaign drag on even longer, which hurt Mitt in the general election. But this time around, Santorum is looking like old news already. With legitimate candidates like Jeb Bush and underdog George Pataki, Rick will have to really reinvent himself in order to get any attention on that stage.
With all the serious stuff out of the way, I honestly just can’t wait to see Santorum stick that shiny black shoe in his mouth when he utters some ridiculous statement that makes it obvious that his social policies are stuck in the 50’s — that is, the 1850’s. Rick is going to be one of the Republican candidates that I look to for comic relief during the early primary season. Don’t let me down, Santorum! I’m counting on your to be the commander-in-crapola!
Rich, do you have someone else for us?
Ted Cruz, COME ON DOWN! Ooohhh I’ve been waiting for this one. Ahh, Ted. Dear old, ignorant, blissfully stupid Ted. Why are you doing this to yourself? Better yet, why are you doing this to the American people? You are going to carpet-bomb the Republican primaries and pull them as far to the right as possible, making it harder for the other GOP candidates to pull back to the center in the general election.
I’m not even going to spend much time on Mr. Cruz, who happens to be the son of a Cuban immigrant. I would like to focus on that aspect of his candidacy for a moment, though. Unlike Marco Rubio, Teddy doesn’t embrace his heritage. He doesn’t speak the language or associate with Hispanic-Americans in the way that Marco does. There’s a fascinating piece coming from the Huffington Post that outlines why he won’t be able to pull the Latino card on election day. It all boils down to the fact that Cruz’s birth certificate may say he’s Cuban, but his actions, words, and stances show that he’s just as “old white man” as the next Tea Party clown.
In any case, Ted Cruz won’t get the Republican nomination. Period. He’s too crazy, and too many Americans remember him as the leader of the government shutdown in 2013, along with the now-debunked Obama birth certificate nonsense. On top of that, his father, Rafael Cruz, is even more of a nutcase. The elder Cruz has said that Obama is a terror baby, a Communist, and that gay marriage is a government conspiracy intended to destroy God so that Obama’s socialist government can “become your god.” Needless to say, there’s a whole lot of crazy wrapped up in that family, and thankfully, I don’t see undecided Republican voters letting Cruz anywhere near the nomination. But he’ll try anyway. And I will get a year of laughter/frustration out of it. We have such a complicated relationship, Ted and I.
Rich, can you think of anyone who might have as strong a chance as Ted Cruz?
Mike Huckabee, COME ON DOWN! I think someone forgot to tell Mike Huckabee that we’re electing a President of the United States, not a Pastor of the United States. This Baptist pastor and former governor of Arkansas threw his hat into the ring with an announcement video that covers all the typical election advertisement basics: American flags, a senior citizen with a worried look on her face, a smiling Huckabee talking about “why I’m a Republican,” and of course a few damning images of ISIS fighters, just for that extra kick of ‘Murica.
Sadly, I don’t see Huckabee making it past the primaries as the Republican candidate. And it all really boils down to one reason: he doesn’t appeal to young Americans or to minorities. He just doesn’t. He’s a hard conservative with a strong foothold in the evangelical community, but that alone won’t be enough to get him very far in this election. Huckabee has to reach out to younger generations, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and even college students. But with his rhetoric about “leading with moral clarity,” Mike is vaguely saying that he’s going to impose a heavily Christian doctrine on the country through the executive branch, and that’s something that is a major turn-off for people in my generation. His chances with minorities are even lower. Along with taking a hard stance on same-sex marriage, Huckabee has openly encouraged Americans to defy the Supreme Court and not sign up for Obamacare, which is a federal law at this point. He’s too concerned with individual issues to look at the big picture. I just can’t see Huckabee presenting a strong message that covers all the bases without dragging the whole discussion back to the possibility that Obama is a Muslim. For that reason, Mike isn’t going to get the Republican nomination. If there’s anything Republican voters are tired of, it’s being associated with the “party of nutjobs,” and Huckabee plays right into that stereotype.
I need some fresh blood here, Rich. Who’s next?
Lindsey Graham, COME ON DOWN!! Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, Lindsey Graham is running for president! Lindsey “Don’t Call Me Cletus” Graham, the charmer from South Carolina, is tryin’ his darndest to sit in that big fancy chair in the round office. I can only imagine how much of the White House budget he would reserve for sweet tea imports.
All joking aside, Lindsey Graham barely made it on this list. As much fun as it is to poke at his Southern accent and his good ole boy mannerisms, he is a serious political player. Graham has been a Senator for twelve years, and he’s made a big splash in Washington. He’s certainly made a name for himself in the Senate, where he was one of the 47 Senators who sent a controversial letter to the ayatollahs of Iran in the midst of a nuclear deal with President Obama.
But with all the political might he has, Graham just won’t be taken seriously as a potential president. In all likelihood, he’ll shine during the primary debates, where he’ll have to go toe-to-toe with Rand Paul on foreign policy (Paul is a strict non-interventionist, and Graham wants to be more involved in the Middle East). The South Carolina powerhouse will ultimately make the Republican Party look good, because as much as he postures and tries to act like he’s towing the party line, he’s got some serious no-nonsense policy ideas sitting in that big melon of his, and he’ll put them on the table during the primaries. At the very least, this will pull the discussion further away from Ted Cruz and the Tea Party, and give Republicans a reality check that they desperately need.
In a nutshell, Lindsey Graham is a lot like Batman: He’s the candidate that Republicans deserve, but not the one they need right now.
Hit me, Rich!
Carly Fiorina, COME ON DOWN! Holy shit, it’s a female Republican candidate! The good news here is that Carly is the only woman seeking the GOP nomination. The bad news is….. well, it’s the GOP nomination. This is the party that tried to kill the Violence Against Women Act, consistently shoots down opportunities to fix the gender wage gap, and generally treats feminism as if it’s a Satanic cult bent on destroying the world. Female Republican candidates in the past haven’t fared very well. Need I remind everyone of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin? But the difference for Fiorina will come in her policy and speaking style.
Bachmann and Palin has the unfortunate distinction of being completely insane, which nixed their opportunity to lead the Republican Party into a more women-friendly era. For Carly Fiorina, a businesswoman with no experience in public office, avoiding the “crazy lady” label should be a top priority. It’s very rare that a woman steps up to the plate for Republicans, especially on the national level, so Fiorina has to take this opportunity to establish herself (since she isn’t very well known by many voters) in the political world.
I put her on this list for a few reasons, the main one being that many Republican voters probably expect Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic candidate. I doubt the GOP base is eager to have a Hillary vs. Carly election, mostly because everyone knows Hillary would win that battle thanks to her name recognition and wide electoral base. The GOP is going to have a hard enough time reaching minorities and pulling in new Republican voters without also worrying about turning Carly into an anti-Hillary Clinton. The fact that she has no prior experience working in government doesn’t help her chances, either. But I’ll be interested to see how she manages to define her character as a female presidential candidate surrounded by (mostly) old white men.
Now then, I’ve got this terrible smell moving through the air, and it’s oddly familiar. Rich, what is that?
Rick Perry, COME ON DOWN! I knew I smelled despotism and overcompensation! The former governor of Texas is also in the race, declaring his presidency in two half-speeches, because he forgot the ending of it and had to go home to get his notes. I can’t say I’m surprised that he’s running, since he didn’t seek reelection in 2014, and of course he has nothing else to do except buy some new glasses to make himself look smarter than a box of hammers.
Aside from the fact that he’s one step above George Bush-levels of intelligence, Perry isn’t going to win for one simple reason: he wants it too much. Ever since he conceded in the 2012 primaries, he’s been bitter and butthurt (a technical term, of course). And now that he’s not holding public office, he can devote all his time to campaigning — something he’s looked forward to for quite some time. I see Rick Perry running for president in the same way I see Michael Phelps trying to win gold medals in every Olympic event: he’s been training for a long time, he knows exactly what he needs to do, and he’ll be a celebrated American hero if he pulls it off. The problem here is that, despite Perry’s excitement and “let’s do this” attitude, the presidency of the United States is not something to be won. It’s something to be earned. And unless he can propose real, reasonable ideas on the right side of the aisle, he won’t earn that chair. Period.
It looks like we’re getting close to the end of the Republican list (cue disheartening “awwww” from the audience). But don’t worry, we saved one of the best (or is it worst?) for last! So Rich, who’s our final contestant that’s never going to win anything?
Scott Walker, COME ON DOWN! I’ll say this about Scott Walker: it’s fun to watch him try to not be a complete asshole. The two-term governor of Wisconsin and strict pro-life activist somehow thinks that he’ll last five minutes on stage with the likes of Rand Paul and Jeb Bush. Oh Scott, you
imbecile joker. Along with being one of the most controversial governors in recent years (still falling behind Chris Christie), Walker has repeatedly pushed heavy abortion restrictions, and has openly supported the idea of a constitutional amendment that would give states the right to ban same-sex marriages — despite the fact that the Supreme Court is likely to expand marriage equality to the entire country any day now.
Normally a strong pro-life, anti-gay platform wouldn’t hurt any reasonable candidate that much in the Republican primaries. But given the growing public support for same-sex marriage, Walker will find himself at a disadvantage when he steps in the ring with more moderate conservatives. But barring all the complexities, for me, it all boils down to one thing: Scott Walker is just plain goofy. I can’t tell if it’s his face or just the way he speaks, but something about him just makes me wonder why his name isn’t Festus. In any case, He doesn’t bring a viable foreign policy record to the table, and his extreme views on marriage equality and abortion (especially the later) will ultimately place him in the same camp as Ted Cruz, who we all know isn’t going anywhere.
Well, that’s all she (she being Carly Fiorina) wrote! I hope you enjoyed this list of has-been’s and never-were’s! Also, make sure you check out my other list of Republican candidates. You know, the real ones that will actually make it somewhere in this election. And keep your eyes peeled for the Democratic list, coming soon!