The 2012 Presidential race is well under way and the field of possible candidates is growing. President Obama has announced his candidacy and has a war chest in hand.
While he may have challengers at the Democratic convention next year to be held in Charlotte, Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City in the week beginning September 3, it is unlikely at this time that there will be other serious contenders. Incumbent presidents are expected to receive their party’s nomination. In the last 100 years, presidents who failed to be reelected include Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford (who was never elected), Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.
Political parties are not mentioned in the U. S. Constitution, but they developed as writers of the Federalist Papers predicted. Delegates to Party conventions sometimes nominate someone who is not a viable candidate. These Favorite Sons made conventions more interesting and exciting and gave “unknowns” national attention. Many of us had never heard of Bill Clinton until he gave a nominating speech – of great length – in 1988 at Atlanta.
Often we think of the Senate as the grooming ground for Presidents. Actually, only three Presidents have been elected directly from the Senate: Harding, Kennedy, and Obama. We tend to elect big city mayors, governors of large states, and winning generals. When we get to the final two candidates, we usually elect the taller. We almost always elect the man – so far all have been men – with the longer name. What people are looking for is a winner, someone who can raise the necessary money, and someone we can support because we like what they say and how they say it.
On the Republican side, there are numerous persons ready and willing to lead the party. Although many names have been suggested in the media, no consensus has been reached, and a dark horse may still be waiting in the barn.
Most mentioned include: Mitt Romney, former Governor of MA; Newt Gingrich of GA and former Speaker of the U. S. House; Donald Trump, realtor, developer, and TV actor; Mike Huckabee, former Governor of AR and former candidate for the R nomination; and, Sarah Palin, former Governor of AK for a while and Vice-Presidential candidate as John McCain’s running mate. These five leaders have many followers, political experience, organizations ready, and some baggage that will be vetted as time goes by.
Recent polls show Donald Trump the leader at this time with Mitt Romney in second place.
New faces are always welcomed and appreciated. Watch the following people. Some have not yet become household names. They are listed alphabetically with brief identification:
And whatever became of Bobby Jindal, Governor of LA or Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York?
The Republican candidate will be selected by the Party next year at the Convention in Tampa, Florida the week of August 27. This will not be done in a smoke-filled room as was frequently done in the past, and there will be considerable airing of all suggested as nominees. And one of these guys may be selected as the Vice-Presidential candidate, but none would admit that he or she would accept the offer now.
Virginia, the Mother of Presidents, might offer popular Governor Bob McDonnell or George Allen, who was believed to have had presidential ambitions some years ago. What does the new head of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, say about his choice? Any candidate must be able to raise money, and Donald Trump already has his.
And, waiting, still waiting in the wings and rarely, if ever mentioned, is Jeb Bush, younger brother of George W. Bush and son of President George H. W. Bush.