By McCale Periven Crew
Image Courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov
With the 2014 midterm only just over, Republican candidates have already started announcing their intentions to run for president in 2016. There are already seven Republicans who have formed exploratory committees with another 17 publicly expressing interest in throwing their hats in the ring. The Democrats only have two who have made actual moves towards declaring their candidacy with four or five others expected to make a move in the near future.
The Republicans started off the process when former Governor Jeb Bush publicly announced that he was considering a run for president in December. This early move set off a chain reaction with other hopefuls scrambling to do the same. When asked about it, Dr. Kevin Rogers, the director of policy and public affairs for Action NC and a former campaign manager, said, “it’s fun to wait for late comers but the big names, like Jeb Bush, are already in.” Many were surprised by the left turn the Republican economic rhetoric took at the Republican gathering in Iowa, focusing on income inequality and stagnating wages. Rogers said some of that is likely to shift because that message will be hard to square with their base, but he affirms that they will need to shift their message to try to win over more voters.
The Democrats have yet to make as serious a move as the Republicans. While she has not officially made a move, most expect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make another go at the presidency in 2016. Dr. David McClennan, a visiting professor of political science at Meredith College, asserted that “the longer Hilary waits the more she puts the Democrats in an awkward spot.” According to McClennan, as long as Hilary hasn’t officially declared her candidacy it will keep other possible candidates out because she will be hard to defeat, and as he put it: “Clinton has that air of inevitability.”
This shift could become the norm in the near future. “We are almost in an era of perpetual campaigns,” said McLennan. Even before they have announced their candidacy they are working on the race, traveling around to see if there is enough interest to warrant a run. But by declaring themselves early many of the Republican hopefuls will keep out other candidates. Rogers believed that this early it is impossible to tell what the issues and platforms will be for either side. As he put it, “[they] are saying what needs to be said right now to get donors and to form a consensus to move forward.” When asked whether there was a clear frontrunner for either side both McLennan and Rogers agreed that it’s just too early to tell. They said Clinton is the likely Democratic candidate because she is polling so far ahead of any other possible contenders, but for the Republicans there are too many things that could change the result between now and the primary.