2016 Race for President Underway

Mills Custom Wood Floors

George Wenschhof

Obviously, the Republican Party was a big winner nationally as they picked up seats in the House, reaching a level not held by a political party since 1928 and won 9 seats to reach a majority in the U.S. Senate.

In spite of the Republicans holding a majority, don’t look for any major changes as President Obama holds the veto pen and will use it on issues with major differences in policy.

The challenge for Republicans in Congress, with extreme right wing factions battling moderates within their Party, will be showing they can be productive and effectively lead over the next two years.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the front runner for the Democratic Party nomination for president and former Governor of Florida Geb Bush is the frontrunner for the Republicans.

Look for Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to excite progressives, but neither will be able to dislodge Clinton from winning the nomination should she decide to run.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley(D) is one the losers from the 2014 midterm elections when his Lt. Governor Anthony Brown(D) lost to Larry Hogan(R) is a state where Democrats hold a 2-1 voter registration advantage.

His hopes for running for president or earning a vice president running slot with Clinton dashed with Hogan’s victory, in part, being attributed to the O’Malley administration record.

O’Malley now has to hope that 78 year old Maryland U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski decides to retire and her seat becomes open in the 2016 election.  Don’t be surprised if this happens.

Although O’Malley may have some negatives, he would be a very strong candidate for Senate.  His secret weapon is his attorney brother Peter, who is arguably one of the best political operatives in Maryland.

Serving in the senate would provide O’Malley with the platform to further his desire to become president.

Looking at possible candidates to run with Clinton, should she be the Democratic Party nominee, I would first zero in on Joaquin Castro, a representative from Texas.

I met him at the 2013 Maryland Democratic Gala where he gave an electrifying speech.  Perhaps a ticket with a woman and a Hispanic would be too bold in 2016, but it would be powerful.

Republicans will have a multitude of candidates for president with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Ron Paul(Minn.), Senator Marco Rubio(Fla.), Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Governor Chris Christie(N.J.) among those receiving support.

But the heavyweight elephant in the room remains former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  His family political machine will dominate over the other candidates.

However, do not be surprised if former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney enters the fray.  His announcement could come late after sizing up the field and seeing the support split among the other candidates.

Romney really does desire to be president and multiple recent polls show him leading Bush by 8-11 points.

A Clinton-Bush or Clinton-Romney race promises to be close and would be fun to follow.

The unknowns that often occur during the nearly two years of presidential campaigning are foreign policy incidents of magnitude, natural disasters, or domestic issues that catch the voter’s attention.  How the candidates respond to these issues will impact the vote.

What is disheartening is presidential campaigns are now a $1 Billion proposition, which clearly illustrates the need for campaign finance reform.

In addition, the income disparity that has widened in the U.S. must be addressed.  The dismantling of the too large to fail banks and other monopolies that have been allowed to grow and flourish must also be a focus of a presidential campaign.

Finally, establishing nonpartisan redistricting in every state is a priority and should be done, even if a constitutional amendment is needed. The present gerrymandering undertaken by the political party in power in each state, where politicians choose their voters instead of the voters choosing their politicians has lead to the dysfunctional government that exists today in Washington.

Restoring faith in democracy should be the focus in the 2016 presidential campaign. A good start will be establishing nonpartisan nationwide redistricting, enacting effective campaign finance reform, and breaking up the monopolies that have been allowed to openly operate across the country.

Providing realistic opportunities for the many less fortunate instead of protecting the assets of the few wealthiest is a direction that would be welcomed in America and is needed to protect the basic tenants of democracy.

Stay tuned.

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