On the EDge: Will 2016 be most historic presidential race?

2016 presidential race
Stock image, St. George News

OPINION – Looking at the list of hopefuls who have announced their intention to run for the presidency in 2016, I don’t think any one of them, from either side, will emerge as the winner.

The next president is still out there somewhere, undeclared, I think.

The early money, of course, pinned it down to Republican Jeb Bush facing off against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

I don’t think that will happen. Both seem to be struggling with voters and both are combating some major image problems.

I seriously doubt there are many voters who would like to see a third Bush occupy the White House, and Clinton, despite all the hoopla, is far from a shoo-in because I think it was easier for voters to elect a man with African-American heritage than a woman. I mean, the only roots deeper than racism in the U.S. are those that sprout sexism.

Besides, a matchup between Bush and Clinton would result in one of two things. Either voters would be so turned off by the prospect of another Clinton or Bush that they would avoid the polls in droves, or it would pave the way for at least one – and possibly two – candidates to run under a different banner.

There are, undoubtedly, numbers crunchers in the Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and – hold your breath – Sarah Palin camps looking at that very angle.

If ever there was a time when a nascent party could actually steal the election, this is it.

There has been much fragmentation since the last time we gathered to vote for president. There are many in the Democratic Party who view Hillary Clinton as too conservative for their tastes and those who think Sanders stands too far to the left.

On the Republican side, while Donald Trump seems to be drawing large support from those who dwell in the lower income, less-educated demographic, he is seriously at odds with the mainstream party. The problem with the Republicans is that there are so many in the race already that by the time they get around to the convention, the bloodletting will be so bad they may not be able to recover.

While I do have a favorite among the crowd – I like Sanders and his progressive stance – his age and liberal philosophy make him a tough sell across the board.

However, if it comes down to Clinton and Bush facing off, the whole thing goes topsy-turvy and a seriously new, complex, and confusing chapter of U.S. history could be written because of that outdated, ridiculous thing we call the Electoral College.

It takes 270 Electoral College votes to secure the Presidency. A third-party candidate would have to win a couple of key states – California, New York, Texas and Florida, are the biggies – to do any real damage and prevent a mainstreamer from reaching the majority. That would then, of course, send the election to the House of Representatives, unless the third-party candidate was able to strike a deal with either of the other candidates and turn his or her delegates over before the Electoral College convenes on Dec. 19, 2016.

I can only imagine the intensity of those negotiations.

I would hate to see the consequences if the election is placed in the hands of the House.

That’s why the archaic, preposterously elitist practice of the Electoral College should be abolished. Remember how Ross Perot won nearly 20 percent of the popular vote in 1992, but failed to garner even one Electoral College vote?

Perot was a fairly popular candidate with a certain segment of voters, leading all polls at one point during the campaign before wigging out and revealing a rather paranoid, delusional side that cut his popularity in half.

He tried again in 1996, but floundered.

His success in 1992 was a simple case of the voters being dissatisfied with the status quo. Perot grabbed the attention of the populist vote and rode it. Had he not melted down near the end of the campaign, he could have been a real factor.

We find ourselves in the same situation today.

Very few voters are satisfied with the way things are going, which is why a guy like Trump, with no political experience, has gained a lot of attention. It will be interesting to see if Trump has the determination to mount a third-party candidacy should the party leaders, who do not like him, prevail and successfully guide the mainstream GOP in another direction.

Sanders, as an Independent from Vermont who aligns himself with the Democrats, has already bolted the two-party system, so if he decided to go solo, it would be no surprise.

There’s a lot of race yet to be run, a lot of mud just waiting to be slung.

But this just could be the most interesting and historic Presidential race in the nation’s history.

That is unless some dark horse candidate emerges from the woodwork and sweeps voters off their feet.

Right now, none of the folks who have already tossed their hat in the ring seem capable of doing so.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.



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  • Lastdays July 28, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Just before the 2008 election, Obama announced “In 5 days i will fundamentally change America” I was shocked by that statement and wondered what he meant by that. The only possible answer was that he was prepared to start ignoring the Constitution, stomp all over the role of the president and what powers he has and eventually morph his victory into a King or Dictator type of situation. But I figured that wasn’t possible with the good men and women we have in the Senate and Congress who took Oath’s to uphold the laws we have in this country. But I was wrong.
    So, the most historic thing about this election is whether or not a DamOcrap will win or a RupublaHuh. Lets say Hillary wins. Everything Obama has accomplished and then some will be kicked into high gear towards total destruction of everything this country stood for at one time. If one of the 16 others win, there is a very slight possibility things may be different, but I think there will be no difference. Both parties are pretty much the same anymore.
    Final thoughts, prepare for chaos of an unknown level and duration when people in this nation finally wake up and realize whats going on. Who wins in the end is anybody’s guess.

  • BIG GUY July 28, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Interesting political analysis deserving of a few comments. I think Ed’s take on the Republicans was fair and insightful. His partisanship made his discussion of the Democrats less objective. Here’s why.
    First, Ed joins most progressives when he implicitly accuses anyone who opposes Hilary as sexist, just as anyone who opposes Obama is accused of being a racist. Hogwash! Many are disgusted with Hilary’s unethical (and most likely illegal) behavior. She appears to have no firm convictions but says and does anything her handlers tell her. Her tenure as Secretary of State resulted in not one accomplishment she can name. If elected, she will be the least distinguished person entering office since Warren G. Harding. (Since Ed was candid about his preference, I’ll declare mine: I would nominate Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson in either order.)
    Second, Ed fears the possibility of the election being decided in the House of Representatives. Could that be because this country’s voters have rebuked progressive policies and priorities? After seeing what a monolithic, far left Democrat agenda looked like in 2009-10, Republicans have reflected the voters’ preferences by increasing House majorities in the last three elections.

    • BIG GUY July 28, 2015 at 9:08 am

      P.S. The most historic presidential election in our history was Lincoln’s election in 1860 followed by his reelection in 1864. This one will be well down the list.
      And in claiming Hilary would be the least distinguished person elected, I overlooked someone with far fewer credentials than even Warren G. Harding: Barack Obama, he who voted “present” 98 times as an Illinois state legislator and who promised to “reach across the aisle” with the “most transparent presidency ever.” His only credentials: he was articulate and a black which allowed Democrats to salve their “white guilt” at the expense of the country.

  • NotSoFast July 28, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Hey Ed,
    Do we expect to see you at the advertised Bernie Sanders gathering tomorrow in St. George? Don’t forget your red flag and traffic stopping horn. (Dark sun glasses a must also).
    You wrote a interesting and thoughtful article on the possible 2016 election outcome. A follow up commentary on the blessing of the Iran nuke deal and who know, there might be a Nobel prize or something in it for ya.

    • native born new mexican July 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Funny Funny notsofast!

  • fun bag July 28, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Bill Clinton V2.0 -or- King Bush III. Great choices huh?…

  • fun bag July 28, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I remember the good ol’ days of king Bush II when any upstanding illegal alien could go in a bank and get a $400,000 mortgage with no money down to “buy” a house valued at 3x what it was worth. When will them good ol’ days come back? And big bank bailout? I sure miss those too. We need strong and dumb republican leadership to continue to do stupid things and give welfare packages to big banks and wallstreet tycoons. This is what america is about. No more BAmie communist socialism. Who needs healthcare anyways? you can always go to one of them voodoo witch doctors on the cheap, right?

  • otto July 28, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    A third-party candidate only could have to win A state to send an election to Congress. In 2000, Bush won with 271 electoral votes .

    To abolish the Electoral College would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

    Instead, by state laws, without changing anything in the Constitution, the National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.

    A survey of Utah voters showed 70% overall support for the idea that the President of the United States should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter equally in every presidential election.

    The bill has passed a total of 33 legislative chambers in 22 states.
    The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes—61% of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it.

    see http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  • sagemoon July 28, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Yes, the electoral college needs to go away. I will not vote for the republican or democrat presidential candidate. It’s time a third party be acknowledged.

  • anybody home July 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    2008 was the most historic election, Ed. Barack Obama broke through the dark glass race ceiling in American politics and everyone knows that. Those who continue to chide him for “not doing anything” are the very people who supported those in Congress who blocked his every move and made it near impossible for him to follow through on what he had hoped to accomplish. It was not about issues. It was about race. One can only imagine the n-jokes in the backrooms of the Senate and House during the past 8 years.

    To have southern congressman shout, during the President’s first State of the Union speech, “You lie!” is historic enough for my money.

    There’s nothing historic about 2016 except perhaps the level of degradation among the Republican candidates who seem to be willing to match Donald Trump rant for rant in their game of “How Low Can You Go?”

    • BIG GUY July 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      ANYBODY HOME, only those who judge people by the color of their skin, as you apparently do, would think 2008 was historic. In my book, those who do are called racists. In my book, 2008 was marked by electing someone disastrously out of step with American values, an opinion validated by the record-breaking trouncing liberals took in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He was reelected with the help of the IRS and a Republican candidate seen as somewhat out of step with average voters.
      I know you’ll take exception, but like oh so many progressives, you see the world as filled with class victims, all of whom need special treatment by the government: women, blacks, Hispanics, LGBT, etc. I’ll stick with the phrase on our coins: E Pluribus Unum.

      • anybody home July 28, 2015 at 2:33 pm

        Well, there’s a turn I’ve never heard – that those of us who supported Obama – and still do – are the ones who judge people by the color of their skin. Man, you are able to pull anything through your off-kilter looking glass. I am completely lost by your last sentence in the first paragraph – IRS? Republican candidate? Are you talking about Romney – Utah’s favorite son? As for the second paragraph, it’s just nonsense. The day the tables are turned and big white guys are discriminated against in a serious way, you’ll change your tune. You are the very kind of person who discriminates against the rest and sleeps well at night in your “blame the victim” mentality.

        • BIG GUY July 28, 2015 at 7:18 pm

          ANYBODY HOME, there you go again. Anybody who ignores a person’s race and instead evaluates them by their words and actions is a racist in your eyes. You and most progressives are fixated on race and call anyone who isn’t a racist. You turn values upside down.
          Apparently you have missed the scandal surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, a far more serious abuse of government power than NSA metadata collection. You need to get your news now and then from somewhere other than MSNBC and the Nation.

    • Lastdays July 28, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Everyone can pile on if you want, but I struggle a bit with the first black president thing. Here’s a guy who had a black father and was given birth by a white woman. He becomes the president and now the black 1/2 of his racial makeup has now trumped the white half of his biological makeup. And he spends way too much time complaining about racism when his black half has already snuffed out the white half of his genetics. That history of him is never talked about of acknowledged by anyone. How can he keep complaining about race when he’s already won that battle? His black half has locked the white half in the basement and won’t let him out. If it’s true he had a white mother and a black father than it could also be true he is just another white president instead of the first black president. Just presenting the facts, go ahead and pile on.

      • AnnieMated July 28, 2015 at 5:29 pm

        He has black skin. That makes him black. What part of that do you struggle with?

      • Curtis July 30, 2015 at 9:20 am

        He considers himself black

  • fun bag July 28, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    2016 will be the year that Obama tries to take away all the guns!!! Better hide them guns real good!!!

  • DB July 28, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Sad to say, but I think the Republicans are going to self-destruct and Clinton will be our next Prez. That is my opinion, not my wish. Now that we have our first black president, why not put a female in the office, some will say.

    And Ed, I agree with you regarding the Electoral College. Unfortunately, we have a congress that can’t agree on what to have for lunch, let alone come up with a constitutional amendment.

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