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Who has time for 2016?

Sandman's Musing | Monday, November 11, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, make your way to the starting line, the race for president is about to begin.
What’s that? It’s only 2013?
Amid the babble of political pundits and potential candidates, it’s easy to forget we’re three years away from the next presidential election.
There’s no shortage of hypotheticals surrounding 2016. But honestly, who has the time for it all?
Who has the time to consider the implications of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s reelection? Who cares what the reelection of a Republican governor in a liberal state means for his presidential prospects?
Who has the time to consider whether a conservative in New Jersey is “a conservative in the rest of the country,” as Governor Rick Perry of Texas questioned this past weekend?
Speaking of Perry, much has been said recently regarding his all but guaranteed second try at the presidency. Sure, Perry crashed and burned in his run for the White House in 2012, but in a party with a considerable number of deeply convicted conservatives, who out there is going to challenge him in 2016?
Well, I guess there is that other conservative from the Lone Star State with presidential aspirations of his own, Sen. Ted Cruz. Who knows, maybe right-wing voters would opt for the rising star over the familiar face.
Wouldn’t that be something – two Texas conservatives with wide popular appeal in their own state going head to head in a primary contest?
But seriously, who has the time to ponder such things?
Still, if you’re going to talk about potential Republican nominees, don’t forget former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Though he’s stayed out of the spotlight lately, Bush’s name alone sparks its own conversations of American political dynasties, as well as more talk about the direction of the GOP.
Bush’s focus on immigration and education reform would be a welcome redirection towards hard policy for a party with a tendency to be sidetracked by social issues.
Expected GOP contenders also include Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. You can be sure to find a litany of “what if” 2016 scenarios surrounding these two rising stars of the Republican Party as well. Each of them has strong views on public policy but plenty of detractors to make their respective roads to the White House a bit bumpier.
The most intriguing storyline for the Republican Party in the next presidential election, the enthusiasts will tell you, is the apparent choice those on the right face between a “true conservative” and a more moderate candidate to represent the GOP.
In short, what kind of candidate will it take for the Republicans to win again?
But honestly, why get wrapped up in all the chatter? It’s really best just to stay away.
Of course I should mention Republicans only make up half of the 2016 conversation. Democrats face a choice as well.
Do they nominate Hillary Clinton, who was ordained the 2016 Democratic front-runner nearly four years ago? After electing the first African American president in history, will Democrats make history again by electing the first female president?
Will Hillary run at all? After more than two decades in the national spotlight, does the flame of her political ambitions still burn bright, or will Democrats be forced to nominate a different candidate in Hillary’s absence?
What would a different candidate look like? Will Democrats opt for an old political pro or an unfamiliar, untested greenhorn like they did in 2008? 
How will the Democratic nominee handle criticisms from Republicans on the failed health care rollout, the Benghazi attack and NSA leaks under the Obama administration?
These are just some of the questions 2016 cheerleaders, political junkies and talking heads are asking.
No, there is no shortage of hypotheticals for what will happen in 2016. As for me though, I prefer not to give the subject much thought.
After all, who has the time for it?

John Sandberg lives in Fisher Hall and is a senior studying political science. He can be reached at jsandbe1@nd.edu
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.