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“The Sunday Political Brunch” - January 26, 2014


(Providence, Rhode Island) – With current frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie perhaps mortally wounded by controversy and scandal, both parties may be searching for alternative candidates. A few weeks ago, we looked at eight potential ‘dark horse’ candidates – four in each party – that may jump in if the going gets rough. Today we look at three more possibilities –albeit probably long shots - from each party:

“New York, New York” – Empire State Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is probably a more likely option in 2020. He’s only 56 years old and will be viable for at least the next four election cycles. Time is on his side. But if fellow New Yorker Hillary Clinton looks vulnerable he may run.

“New York, New York, Part II” – Senator Kristin Gillibrand (D) New York, is considered a real up-and-comer in national politics. As a moderate Democrat – who won a House seat in a traditionally Republican district, she is seen as having broad appeal to independents. Gillibrand was appointed to succeed Hillary Clinton in the Senate, and then won the seat in her own right in 2012. She’s only 47, so her viability is probably years out. Still, if Clinton falters and Cuomo passes, Gillibrand is a possibility in delegate rich New York. Her Senate seat isn’t up until 2018, so she’ll have a free shot without losing office. She has definite VP possibilities, if Clinton is not the nominee.

“Number Two; Wants to be Number One!” – Vice President Joe Biden really wants to be President, and in some respects, feels he is owed it for his loyalty. On one hand, he’ll be 73 in 2016 and has had serious health problems (although none recently). If internal polling shows him to have a chance against Hillary Clinton, he may run. If she falters over Benghazi, Biden is most likely in.

“Manic for Hispanic” – Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) remains a strong possibility for a Presidential candidacy, or a spot as Vice President on the GOP ticket. Had Mitt Romney picked Rubio, he might be Vice President now. At 42, he will have many opportunities for higher office. He is also up for reelection to the Senate in 2016, so that makes running for another office dicey. But Republicans must clearly boost their numbers among Hispanic voters, or risk losing a national election again. With 29 Electoral College votes, he could put Florida back in the GOP win column, even if he’s second on the ticket.

“Ohio is the One!” – In 2004, Ohio proved to be the one-state winning margin for President George W. Bush. In 2008 and 2012, it remained the most critical of all the battleground states – going Democrat. No Republican has ever won the White House, without winning Ohio. So, Governor John Kasich (R) has to be considered a real threat. He also served eighteen years in the House, including as Budget Committee Chairman. Kasich defeated an incumbent Democrat to become Governor, so he’s very viable nationally, as well as to be able to carry his own state, which is a must.

“Bush Three” – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) remains a real potential threat, even if his mom Barbara has stated publicly that she doesn’t want him to run. Bush’s wife is Hispanic; his children are biracial; and, he speaks fluent Spanish. He has polled well in the Latin demographic in his wins in Florida. But he’s Marco Rubio’s mentor, so if one runs, the other won’t. Bush is a much better campaigner and public speaker than his more famous brother George. The big question remains whether he has the “fire in the belly” for a national run.

“Anyone Else?” – So, over the post month we’ve looked at sixteen candidates – eight from each party – as possible Presidents. Are there surprises out there? Are there long shots that could vault to the forefront? Anything is possible, especially when the incumbent is termed out. We will soon begin seeing potential candidates venturing to Iowa and New Hampshire to give speeches (heck, some have already), but the real honest to goodness campaign will begin as soon as the 2014 midterm elections are over in November. From where I stand, it's wide open right now in both parties. No one has a lock on the nominations, despite what polls may say right now.

What are your thoughts? Who would you like to see on the ballot for President of the United State in 2016? Just click the comment button at and drops some names!

© 2014, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

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"The Sunday Political Brunch" - January 19, 2014


(Providence, Rhode Island) – This week the nation celebrates the Martin Luther King, Jr., national holiday. There are a lot of interesting facts about the famed civil rights leader, and I have some personal reflections as we get ready for Monday’s holiday. Here we go:

“It’s All in a Name!” – Many people don’t know that King’s real first name was Michael, as was his father’s. The senior Pastor King had their names changed after visiting Germany, and being inspired by religious reformer Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation.

“Church vs. State?” – For all the hue and cry nowadays about keeping church affairs separate from government action, I just have to scratch my head. King founded an organization with other black pastors, known as the SCLC – the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The whole impetus of the organization was to use the power of the pulpit, to change public policy. Without the SCLC, and the deeply held Christian beliefs of King’s followers in the 1950s and 60s, the civil rights movement never would have succeeded. In many ways it appealed to the Judeo-Christian beliefs shared by many white American lawmakers and voters. It worked! Granted we don’t want religion to control U.S. politics, but certainly there are times when it’s a major influence.

“Education, Education, Education!” – Ok, it’s my riff on the old real estate axiom about, “Location, location, location!” But Dr. King had a profound influence on American education. He was a brilliant man, who only spent two years in high school before going off to college. He earned a Ph.D. from Boston University, thus becoming a beacon of inspiration to other black students, toiling in a separate and unequal education system. King was one of the first prominent black Americans to obtain a college degree and beyond. To many of his fellow black Americans it inspired a philosophy of, “If he can go to college, so can I.” It’s probably his most underappreciated contribution to society.

“Dream On!” – One of my favorite bits of trivia about Rev. King involves his famed, “I Have a Dream” speech. While he delivered the rousing address in 1963, the original text of the speech did not surface until 1984. After the King speech on the National Mall in Washington, DC, a young man at the front of the stage asked King as he was departing, if he could have the papers on which the speech was written. King gave the man the original copy of the speech and it must have made an impression. The young man that day was George Raveling, who later became the first African American head basketball coach at the University of Iowa, and also coached at Washington State and the University of Southern California. Raveling – now retired - still has the speech in his possession.

“Well Spoken” – As someone who teaches and coaches public speaking, I have a real appreciation for those who excel at this talent. King was the greatest public orator in my lifetime, hands down. I’ve lived during the time of some excellent political speakers – John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama - but they are all second-tier talents when compared to the speaking and motivational skills of King. He simply has no peer.

“Gone with the Wind” – One of my other favorite bits of trivia about Dr. King is that, as a child, he sang with the choir at his father’s church. When the fabled movie, “Gone With the Wind” opened in Atlanta, in 1939, King sang with his choir at the premiere!

“Holiday Origins” – The idea to honor King with a national holiday was more a bipartisan effort than some want to believe. After his assassination, the bill to create the holiday was introduced by two African American Members of Congress, Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Edward Brooke (R-MA). While it would take years to become law, it eventually passed the House of Representatives 338 to 90.

“Where Were You?” – Like the Kennedy assassinations and other historic events in my life, I remember exactly where I was when King’s death was announced. As a kid, we were one of the only families I know that had a television in the kitchen. It was often on at dinner time, because my parents were news junkies, especially my mom. We often ate late because my dad worked late, or we just ate without him. It was probably 7:30 p.m. in Milwaukee, when the network interrupted the TV show we were watching during dinner, to announce King’s murder. My mom made all of us get up from the table, kneel down on the floor and pray for his family and our country. I was almost nine years old. I remember it like it was yesterday.

What are your thoughts and remembrances? Just click the comment button at

© 2014, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: ABC News

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