In sports after a big championship is decided, there is an irresistible urge to do a “Way Too Early” ranking of the top contenders for next season.
Well, the Republican National Convention is in the books now and Donald Trump is the victor. So, what’s next? Who is percolating in the 2020 GOP presidential sweepstakes, which, regrettably, may spring into action sooner than we’d like.
I believe the prize of the 2016 race to the White House is a transitional presidency, a one-and-done term that reflects the passing cloud of political change that rained once-in-a-lifetime circumstances and candidates who will soon evaporate. There is certainly fractured chaos in the GOP. I know a number of people who can’t wait to wake up Nov. 9, 2016, and hit the reset button on their party in the post-Trump era.
Were Trump to win the race, there is no way he would or should be in the running for a second term. First, there is no guarantee he won’t be impeached by his own party for malfeasance — or resign due to bureaucratic boredom (it’s not as fun as it looks, Donald). Second, an incumbent Trump would be part of the establishment and thus part of the problem. Bye-bye.
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Were Clinton to win I think it would be a lot to ask of America to provide quarters for a Democrat for 16 years in a row (a second term for Hillary) — especially when Bill Clinton is part of the deal. Think of it: two terms by two Clintons; that kind of squatting/residency in our White House would never be tolerated. Bye-bye.
So, with the GOP over, it’s time for my Way Too Early ranking of 2020 candidates. I’ll take a look at the Democrats after their convention next week in Philadelphia.
1. Paul Ryan. The man to beat because his kids will be four years older. Having been a vice-presidential candidate (Mitt Romney’s 2012 ticket) and second in the line of succession to the presidency as speaker of the House, there’s only one job left.
2. Rand Paul. While you sleep the country and the GOP are becoming more libertarian. The Kentucky senator’s dry delivery needs a shot of bourbon, however.
3. Ted Cruz. Damaged goods. Being “I am not Trump” won’t work in a Trumpless race. He must overcome the perception he is a weasel draped in self-righteous faux fur. Trump should apologize to Cruz when Cruz apologizes to Sen. Mitch McConnel for calling him a liar.
4. John Kasich. Ohio’s governor got traction for honesty and being a nice guy. His credentials and experience are assets, but he runs without an edge.
5. Mike Pence. The Trump advertising prowess helps the Indiana governor for name recognition, but Pence is the same Cruz political POV with more integrity and Man-From-Glad hair.
Getting some buzz
6. Joni Ernst. This Iowa senator has been extended plum spots in front of big crowds and done well. She has veteran status, working-class credentials and poise behind the podium — even when cracking jokes about “cutting pork” around the farm.
7. Ben Sasse. The young Nebraska senator passed on Trump and passed a lot of tests en route to a Ph.D. at Yale. A former college president with constitutional cred.
8. Cory Gardner. Quick rise from the U.S. House to the U.S. Senate shows Gardner’s small-town upbringing has resonated in Colorado and the West, but his ultra-conservative views don’t include a lot of problem-solving ideas outside the conventional GOP box.
9. Next-generation Trumps.
Please, someone, tell them it is over
10. Anybody named Bush, Walker, Huckabee, Perry, Fiorina, Carson, Christie or Rubio. Hope you had fun in the debates.