(Charleston, West Virginia) – Last week we profiled some possible Democratic Presidential candidates for 2020. A lot of their fates and fortunes depend on how well - or how poorly – the Trump White House goes. The same is true for aspiring Republicans in the event Trump serves only one-term. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:
“Marco? Polo!” – From the get-go, I thought Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) made a mistake entering the 2016 Presidential primary campaign. In my book, he was still too young and inexperienced (yes, I know, about as inexperienced as a young Senator Obama in 2008). Rubio also has an inspiring personal story similar to Obama's. My recommendation was that Rubio run for Governor in 2018. However, he broke a promise about not running for his Senate seat again in 2016 (which could be problematic down the road); yet he won. Rubio, at age 45, will be viable for the next four or five Presidential election cycles.
“Pence-ive” – The Vice President is almost always in the driver’s seat for the nomination, but it’s a double-edged sword. If Trump does well, Pence stays as VP. If Trump falters, Pence can be viewed as guilty by association. It’s hard for a VP to become President, short of the death of a Commander-in-Chief. President George H.W. Bush won by direct election in 1988, but the last person before him to succeed his boss by vote (not death) was President Martin Van Buren, way back in 1836. (By the way, both Van Buren and Bush were voted out after just one term).
“Sic ‘em, Kasich” – Governor John Kasich (R-OH) is termed-out in 2018. He still has a political future. Maybe the U.S. Senate? Who knows? And, yes, the White House is possible, if Trump falters badly. Kasich was one of those who ran like a scalded dog from Trump and never endorsed him; and, in fact, never showed up at the Republican National Conventions in Cleveland. Kasich is one who can legitimately say, “I told you so,” if Trump bombs. That could be an advantage! Kasich is 64 and likely has only one more shot at the White House.
“Cruz Cruise” – He had the second largest number of Republican delegates, and he is from the second-largest Electoral College state of Texas, with 38 votes. He’s only 45; he’s Hispanic; and, the most conservative wing of the party loves him. Cruz came through at the end by endorsing Trump, after dissing him at the Republican National Convention. Cruz has opportunities through – probably – the next five election cycles. Part of me says he’d rather be on the U.S. Supreme Court than in the White House or Senate, so keep an eye on that,
“Walking with Walker” – Does Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) try again? I met him in October, when he visited West Virginia (photo above). In the early days of the 2016 campaign, I remember Walker leading one New Hampshire campaign poll by 12 points, but his momentum never materialized in the crowded field. He had one tough debate performance and lost traction. But Wisconsin is now a critical player on the national stage, so his fortunes could change. He’s only 49, so he has at least 20 years of “shelf life” in politics.
“Oh, Susana” – I believe Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) is still viable nationally. She is termed out as Governor, but could choose to take on incumbent Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) in 2018. Governor Martinez had an unfortunate incident at a hotel party in 2015, in which some police (and others) thought she might be inebriated – an allegation never proven. Time may heal that, and U.S. Senate experience could boost her resume. She’s only 57, so she could be a Presidential or Vice Presidential contender for a few more cycles.
“Bush Back” – I have no doubts that former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) could resurface as a contender. He could enhance his resume by taking on Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in his 2018 reelection bid. Nelson has served three terms, and most U.S. Senator are most vulnerable after three terms. Bush could use some foreign policy chops if Trump is vulnerable in the 2020 primary season. Senate experience could round out his resume. Bush will be 67 in 2020.
Who would you like to see become the GOP nominee in 2020 if Trump should falter? Click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
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