“Dark Horses”

Des Moines Register Poll On Presidential Race Of 2016

The Des Moines Register, the leading newspaper in Iowa, has started to poll on who is favored in the Iowa Caucuses, the first vote of a presidential election year, always held in January, which can catapult a candidate all the way to the Presidency, as it did for Barack Obama on January 3, 2008.

Of course, polling this early is no real indicator of what will happen in two years, and in fact, being an early leader is a hex, and usually means that someone else will end up winning the Iowa Caucuses and have the edge to be the Presidential nominee of a political party.

But, if for nothing other than political discussion and debate, the poll shows Hillary Clinton in the lead, with only Joe Biden being competitive with her in any fashion. The other names listed, really “dark horses”, are Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and, surprising to some, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, both of whom have shown interest in running, with Schweitzer being much more open about it.

On the Republican side, five have a positive rating of more than 50 percent, including in order, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (VP running mate of Mitt Romney in 2012), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (now a Fox News talk show host), Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and tied for fifth, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Under 50 percent are Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

It is interesting that the front runners are people who have lost their last race, while the also rans are newer people, many of whom have an extremist image, although really, all of the ten listed are extremists on the right, with the exception of Christie and Bush.

And Hillary Clinton has enough support for now that she would seemingly have an edge over any and all Republicans, and remember that Barack Obama carried Iowa twice in a state that, despite its strong right wing evangelical image, votes Democratic for President in recent elections, and is likely to do the same in 2016, whether it is Hillary or Joe Biden or some newer candidate for the Democrats.

The “Dark Horses” Of The Republican Presidential Race: Ron Paul And Herman Cain

It is still nearly three months to the first voting in the Iowa Caucuses on January 3, followed by the vote in the New Hampshire Primary, the Nevada Caucuses, the South Carolina Primary, and the Florida Primary, all within the month of January!

The Republican Presidential race has gone from one favored candidate to another, including Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney, with three other well known candidates floundering–Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich.

Meanwhile, two other candidates–Ron Paul and Herman Cain–ignored by the mainstream media and many political experts–are suddenly surging and drawing attention, and makes one wonder could either of them actually win the GOP Presidential nomination to oppose President Barack Obama in November 2012?

Paul has certainly been gaining more support, and his views on social and foreign policy issues resonate with many more voters than when he ran four years ago.

Herman Cain, who is African American and the CEO of Godfather Pizza, has been an even bigger surprise to many, and seems to arouse support in an emotional manner.

Today, at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC, a group of social conservatives, Ron Paul won 37 percent of the straw vote, with Cain second with 23 percent, way ahead of the other candidates.

Can this really happen–either one being the next nominee of the Republican Party? It seems highly unlikely, but after Barack Obama winning the Democratic nomination and the Presidency in 2008, who can be so sure that it could not happen in the Republican Party, and in the right (or wrong) circumstances lead to one of them in the White House in 2012?

The Lack Of Reliability of September Third Year Presidential Polls: Wesley Clark And Rudy Guiliani!

The tendency to believe presidential election polls in the fall of the third year of a Presidential term comes back, as we enter September, with Rick Perry having a growing lead over Mitt Romney for the Republican Presidential nomination.

In 2004, former Army General Wesley Clark was leading polls for the Democratic nomination, and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean was seen as the favorite by the end of the year, but Senator John Kerry won the nomination.

In 2008, former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani led in September for the Republican nomination, with Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee in second place, but Senator John McCain was the nominee.

So it is not yet smart to assume that Perry or Romney have the Republican nomination for 2012 guaranteed!

With both John Kerry and John McCain being “dark horses” at this point in 2004 and 2008, keep your attention on former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman as the “dark horse” of the race, with excellent credentials and centrist tendencies, but extremely low poll ratings.

If Huntsman emerges, it will be a John, but with a different spelling as Jon, who will have been the surprise of the Presidential campaign for the third straight election!

But also realize that both John Kerry and John McCain lost their races to George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and the odds of Huntsman to become President, while better on paper than any other Republican candidate, have to be seen as a long shot!

Is A Republican “Dark Horse” To Emerge In 2012 Presidential Race?

“Dark Horses”, candidates who are not thought of seriously and come from behind to win or be major factors in a political race, are a part of America’s political culture!

We have had several “dark horse” Presidential nominees of a major party, and four have become President, all Democrats–James K. Polk in 1844, Franklin Pierce in 1852, Woodrow Wilson in 1912, and Jimmy Carter in 1976!

Wendell Willkie, the 1940 GOP nominee for President, was also a “dark horse”, but lost the race to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

However, we had “dark horses” who excited the races in both parties in the past two presidential election cycles before flopping–Howard Dean in 2004 for the Democrats, and Mike Huckabee in 2008 for the Republicans!

So therefore, there are a few potential candidates for “dark horse” for the GOP for 2012! The candidates being talked about are primarily Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and Haley Barbour.

But the names to watch for 2012 might include:

Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana, who has charisma, good looks, strong conservative and Tea Party credentials, and has had a leadership position in the House as Conference Chairman of the GOP.

Senator elect Marco Rubio of Florida, who is often called the Cuban Barack Obama in reverse, and is young, charismatic, good looking, has fervent support from conservatives and Tea Party people, and represents the largest state in population of any GOP potential candidate who is seen as a possible nominee.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, who is charismatic, handsome, strong conservative, seen as best bet for any Senator seen as a possibility in a primarily competition among Governors and former Governors.

Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who is handsome, charismatic, and started the victory wave against the Democrats when he won the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy, but will have trouble being elected for a full term in Democratic dominated Massachusetts, so might run for President instead, although probably too moderate for the Republican base.

Could any of these four seriously become the Presidential nominee? Well, we have only had one Congressman go directly to the White House (James Garfield), and he was assassinated after only a few months in the Presidency! Both Rubio and Brown will have had very brief experience on the national level by 2012, similar however to Barack Obama!

Thune will have had eight years in the Senate, along with six previous years in the House of Representatives, so will be, by far, the most experienced nationally of any of these “dark horse” possibilities by 2012!

If one had to prognosticate who among these might have the best chance to emerge, were they to run, the best bet is that it would be John Thune, so it will be interesting to watch and see what happens to this group of potential candidates! Stay tuned! 🙂