The Republican Field: Gitcher Second Updated Program Here


Back in May of 2015, WC posted a then-complete list of the 18 or so candidates for the republican nomination for president. WC updated the list in mid-September. After an Iowa caucus and a New Hampshire primary, it’s time to update that list. So as a service to his readers, WC provides the following updated handy guide Republican candidates.1

In alphabetical order. Earlier changes are in red. New changes in blue. Names of withdrawn candidate in strike-through face. Don’t blame WC that this is a long post.

Jeb Bush Continuing to fade. Still a Bush. Two-term Florida governor, has the benefits and liabilities of being a Bush. Possibly too liberal insufficiently conservative for the GOP primary process. Badly muffed first challenge to his brother’s record. Struggling to draw attention away from the Donald. Indifferent success. 
Ben Carson Just 2% in New Hampshire. Prognosis: doomed. Retired neurosurgeon, the only African American Republican candidate. Has never run for office, but readily serves political red meat. On race relations, “I actually believe that things were better before this president was elected,” he said Nov. 25, 2014. Describes the ACA is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” Hard to take this one seriously. Surprising initial success but fading; candidacy probably doomed.
Chris Christie Vindictiveness fails to sell in New Hampshire. Announces suspension of his presidential campaign. Don’t call us; we’ll call you. Second term governor of New Jersey. And one vindictive son of a bitch. Bridge-gate scandal just won’t go away; recent indictments will test staff and former staff loyalty. Suffered more self-inflicted injuries when he cuddled up to the Great Satan, President Obama, following superstorm Sandy. Presents as a charismatic, blunt-talking governor; acts like a fat bully. May be too moderate for GOP primary process. Currently polling in the low single digits.
Ted Cruz Vindictiveness with bonus Christianist posturing also fails to sell in New Hampshire. Tea Party darling fading. Junior senator from Texas, elected in 2012, top tea party politician. Wants to rewrite the tax code, abolish the IRS, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. In September 2013, he filibustered the Senate for 1 hours in support of defunding the ACA. Was also a leading cause of the 16-day government shutdown a month later. Dual citizenship of U.S. and Canada. Ivy League type who pretends otherwise. Trying to close down the federal government over Planned Parenthood, feeding his Teabaggger constituents while alienating a large majority of voters. Won in Iowa; remains to be seen if he has credibility away from the Religious Right.
Carly Fiorina Zombie campaign. Miniscule showing in N.H. It’s over. Carly is looking for a grave to crawl in to. Seriously fading. Needs to place second in New Hampshire to stay alive. Primary credential is gender. Failed and fired CEO of Hewlett Packard. Failed candidate for Senate from California. Advisor to John McCain’s failed presidential campaign. Currently buffing conservative credentials by serving on the board of directors of the American Conservative Union Foundation. Possibly posturing for vice-president. Thought it was significant that she defeated The Donald in the second debate. 
Lindsay Graham Serial presidential failure. Multi-term South Carolina senator and super-hawk who wants U.S. to invade Iran. A close ally of John McCain, the GOP’s failed 2008 presidential nominee, who has long been talking up “Graham 2016.” South Carolina holds the first Southern primary; Graham may see his home state as the launch point for a successful run. Meanwhile, he has announced if he is President anyone thinking of thinking about joining Al Qaeda or ISIL he’s “not gonna call the judge, [he’s] gonna call the drone. And we will kill you. Four months later: Lindsay who?
Mike Huckabee Too Christianist for Iowa; WC didn’t think that was possible. He’s done. Former governor of Arkansas, Southern Baptist miniter and Fox News talk-show host. Another candidate aimed at the evangelical right of the GOP. Washed out in the 2012 campaign when couldn’t raise money from his narrow base. Has “readied himself for the current run by attending a series of ‘Pastors and Pew’ events run by David Lane, an Evangelical leader who urges his followers to take a more active role in the political process,” per Christian Science Monitor reporter Peter Grier. Poster child for the right wing Christianists. Deeply confused about the U.S. Constitution. Announced President Obama only “pretends” to be a Christian.
Bobby Jindal Unless you are The Donald, apparently delusional thinking doesn’t work. Who knew? The one who sounds like Mr. Rogers. Second term governor of Louisiana. Since Louisiana has an ongoing budget crisis, running to $1.6 billion, and low job approval among his constituents, he’s not gong to run on his home record. Has a gift for putting his foot in his mouth: a son of Indian immigrants, he claimed London, England has Muslim “no-go” zones. Four months later: still sounds like Mr. Rogers. Polls in single digits. Announced plan to “fire all 535 members of Congress.” Bobby who?
John Kasich The newest Anybody-but-Trump candidate. No longer “Who?” but “How do you pronounce that?” Two-term governor of Ohio and 18-year member of U.S. House. Primary credential is that he might carry Ohio, a bellwether state. Moderate for a 21st Century Republican; expanded Medicaid in Ohio. Was a 2000 candidate for President; faced name recognition problems. Nothing has changed. Would actually be a plausible candidate if the primary process was sensible. John who? Reportedly running out of campaign funds.
Peter King Who? 12-term house member from New York. A House member is the ultimate long shot for the presidency. Platform is to fight Rand Paul’s isolationism. “We have to go back to being the party of national defense,” he said Aug. 5, 2013, at a backyard barbecue in New Hampshire. Even for a House member, a real long shot. Never officially declared after everyone ignored flag and flagpole.
George Pataki Who? Three term New York governor, out of politics since 2006. Career politician running as a Washington outsider. Meh. Never officially declared after everyone ignored flag and flagpole.
Rand Paul Isolationist junior senator from Kentucky, inherited his father, Ron Paul’s political franchise. Leading voice for libertarianism within the GOP. A headline-grabber, filibustering against drones and floating a SCOTUS challenge to NSA seizure of phone records. Not so good on follow through. Flirts with tea party. Occasionally dismayed by GOP anti-science stands. Not, as they say, distinguishing himself as a candidate.
Rick Perry Withdrew. Four-time Texas governor, famous for the all-time most embarrassing debate gaffé ever when he could not remember which three federal agencies he would shut down. Be ready to hear that gaffé over and over. Boasts of creating lots and lots of minimum wage jobs in Texas. Likely to be even more reactionary when not conked on pain meds. Can the country survive another cowboy from Texas?
Marco Rubio Flunks Debate 101. Flunks two primary elections. This is the mainstream Republicans’ best hope? How do you pronounce “Kasich” again? Junior senator from Florida. Somewhat wonkish, prone to serious policy speeches. Famously flip-flopped on immigration, first leading the charge on immigration reform, now supports piecemeal, minimal reform, annoying both conservatives and pro-reform GOPers. Joined tea partyers in supporting the government shutdown to try to force defunding of the ACA. Climate change denier, even though, you know, Florida. Willing to say anything to distinguish himself from The Donald. Increasingly shrill.
Rick Santorum Won Iowa in 2012; flyspeck results in 2016. Stick a fork in him. Former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, the candidate for the religious right. Appeals to evangelical Christians who liked his arch-conservative Catholicism. The candidate for those who want a theocracy. Might do well in primaries but likely little general election appeal. May just be running to buff his image. Competing with Huckabee for the right wing Christianist vote. And the Michele Bachmann Idiocy Award.
The Donald Continues to lead the Republican Party into intellectual and moral bankruptcy. All buff and no body. Real estate magnate, “reality television” star and serial bankrupt Donald Trump toys with running for president every four years to buff his public reputation, or perhaps just because he craves attention. You can’t take Mr. Comb Over seriously. But an appallingly significant number of Republicans apparently do. Leads the pack, for a given definition of “leads.”
Scott Walker Withdrew. Inexplicably popular governor of Wisconsin, famous for anti-union positions and surviving a recall. GOP has seized on recall survival as an election credential. Dark horse candidate with strong appeal to conservative primary voters. Went from First to Last at record pace.

WC will continue to revisit this list as the Republican primary process proceeds, as often as he can stomach it.


  1. WC announces here that he is not a Republican candidate for President. 
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