It might be 11 months until the first voting in the opening
event of the U.S. 2016 presidential election, but there can
be little doubt that the “on” button has been pressed for this
highest profile quadrennial contest.
Mitt Romney’s decision not to run again has set a great deal
into motion. Jeb Bush, as a result, is now the consensus
Following the recent Citizens United unofficial debate in Des
Moines, we now also have the first informal “flavor of the
news cycle,” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Mr. Walker
stole the show among the potential candidates (I personally
thought that non-candidate New Gingrich gave the most
important speech) with a shirt-sleeved talk that exceeded
media expectations. The governor recently won a hard-fought
re-election after initiating a series of controversial but
much-applauded (by conservatives) executive actions in the
Badger State. He is, of course, a very long way from the
nomination (and hasn’t even formally announced), but he
now clearly merits elevation to the first tier of GOP prospects,
joining Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.
He will not be the last main flavor of the news cycle in 2015.
This process has a certain similarity to a team pitching rotation
in major league baseball. Each starting hurler gets to pitch every
four or five days. In this case, most of the serious GOP hopefuls
will do something unusual to obtain media attention, and
following that, they will temporarily lead in the polls. This
pattern will be repeated routinely, especially after the first
formal debates begin in the autumn, and subsequently after
each debate --- unless, of course, one frontrunning candidate
catches on early and the contest becomes more or less moot.
Look for New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie already in the
first tier, to become the flavor of the news cycle later, after the
debates (in which he will probably shine) begin. If he decides
to run, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also an excellent speaker,
could become the flavor of the news cycle after winning an
early primary. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul could also reach
high flavor if his supporters succeed in placing him upward in
an early primary or caucus. And who knows if non-politician
Dr. Ben Carson might not catch some quick wind among
voters in the cycle. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee,
former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania
U.S. Senator Rick Santorum already have been favorite flavors
of the news cycle in 2011-12, but it will be difficult for them to
repeat this success in 2016 --- with the public and the media
clamoring, as they always do, for new faces and sensations.
Be also prepared for a surprise flavor of the news cycle, after
someone now not expected to run, gets into the race and steals
attention away, at least for a while, from the frontrunners.
Remember Herman Cain?
Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.