3 Reasons Why a Big Republican Field is a Good Thing in 2016

or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the 2016 Candidates


Every day, it seems, a new Republican enters the 2016 nomination race. Media reporting on announced, as well as potential candidates, like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, adds to the wall of noise and to the anxiety for Republican voters interested in winning the White House and improving the Grand Ol’ Party’s reputation. As 2016 shapes up with Governor George Pataki, Governor Rick Perry, Senator Rick Santorum and Senator Lindsey Graham among the most recent entrants to the race, I would like to share 3 reasons why my anxiety is subsiding, and if you’re a Republican, why yours should too.

Reason One: A Crowded Field Indicates an Optimistic Outlook

Especially when you consider the expenses involved with running for president, candidates must believe that he or she can conceivably win the nomination and the general election before getting involved in the race. Governor Mike Huckabee and Senator Santorum, specifically, know how much money presidential races can cost. Surely, Rand Paul has experienced this vicariously through his father’s perennial races.

Marco Rubio may face the greatest sacrifice, as Florida law precludes candidates from appearing twice on a ballot. That means that if he loses the nomination for president, he’ll also lose his senate seat.

Still, though, these men, and the throng of other candidates, choose to spend their own money, time and reputations on a bet they believe will pay off.

The Democrats, on the other hand, enjoy a particularly weak field aside from their frontrunner who enjoys name recognition and deep pockets. Even Hillary Clinton, though, exudes an air of vulnerability (rather than inevitability), and the Republican bench senses that.

Reason Two: RNC Changes Diminish the Prospect of a Protracted Intra-party Fight

The spectre of 2012 still looms in Republican minds, and we remember the crowded stage of 10 candidates (11 if you count Gary Johnson) debating “vulture capitalism,” a manned trip to Mars, and a $10,000 bet. President Barack Obama smartly looked on while Republicans did his bidding–eviscerating each other publicly so that he could sustain the attacks on the eventual nominee simply by parroting his primary opponents’.

RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus, well aware of the effect the vicious primary debates had on Governor Mitt Romney, the party nominee, has taken steps to avoid that this time around. First, the RNC shortened the primary season so that the party has more time to coalesce around a nominee. Second, instead of holding 20 debates, as we did in 2012, 9 are scheduled with no more than 3 more discussed as possibilities. Finally, Priebus plans to make better use of the thresholds needed to participate in debates. In other words, a candidate must have a certain percentage of support before he or she can grace the debate stage.

Reason Three: The Large, Diverse, Field Quells Anti-Republican Stereotypes

Though Democrats incessantly work to paint the Republican Party as one hostile to racial minorities and women, that argument continues to lose steam every time one looks at the GOP office holders and presidential field. With Republican women like Governor Susana Martinez, Governor Nikki Haley, and Senator Joni Ernst in the forefront of our party, presidential candidate Carly Fiorina appears much less like an outlier. Furthermore, Martinez and Haley share their statuses with Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio; and accomplished Neurosurgeon Ben Carson as people of color.

Compare the Republican field to the Democrat’s (all white, mostly male and mostly rich) and what the GOP offers better resembles the diversity of America.

More Republicans will enter the race, and the GOP is a richer party for it.

One comment

  1. These are great points that do ease my mind to some degree. However I think the key is your second point. 2012’s late entry and thus a blank slate when he entered, Rick Perry, proved himself to be a nasty and poisonous candidate. He started a domino effect of personal and petty attacks against fellow Republicans where one would have thought Perry was attacking a leftist Democrat. He projected both stupidity and recklessness that helped us lose in 2012. And he’s running again. What great joy for our party.

    This is why in my opinion, 9 debates are way too many. It still gives time for desperate clowns like Perry or Huckabee to launch an unfair and headline grabbing attack. I wished there was about 5-6 max. Plus I wish someone show real leadership during these debates and set the correct tone like Giuliani did in 2008, where he said something to the effect of, “I believe I am the best candidate on this debate stage. However any one of us here on this stage would make a better president than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, especially a national hero like John McCain. These are extremely impressive people that I am privileged to be on this stage with. They would serve our nation well as opposed to the destructive ideas that the Democrat Party’s candidates are all promoting.” This got a great applause and squashed any temptation by any other candidate to talk crap about any other fellow candidate. (The one exception may have been McCain vs Romney when the two were last men standing towards the end of the primary.)

    I am still very angry at most of these candidates for not having run in 2012. I want to say to them, “Where the f-??!!??? were you in 2012? Were you that scared of Obama? Did you want me to call the police since you were so scared? Maybe you need a hug? The president with such a weak first term record and eminently beatable opponent? Why re you running now? We were so desperate in 2012 that Mephistopheles-resembling Gingrich won a state or two and Mister Sweater-Vest Santorum were considered viable candidates. You opportunistic, self-serving, miscalculating sheep. You guys let the nation down when it needed you. You did not answer its call. You don’t get in the race because its best for you. You do it because that’s what’s best for the nation.” OK I’m done.

    And I do hope they severely strictly limit the candidates to about 5 ideally but 10 max. And I hope there are no Todd Akin moments either, although Walker may have started down path. In the end, I do think when you have too many candidates including toxic, easy-to-ridicule, no-chance-in-hell candidates who can only do us harm (Rick Perry, Huckabee, Cruz, Santorum, Paul, and Donald Trump), the number of people does worry me. It looks like they were all scared of Obama and are coming out of the woodworks now as part of a desperate freak-show parade. Plus this many people has the chance to dilute & exhaust & overwhelm the voter rather than concentrate on our viable quality few choices of people. I don’t want one person like the Democrats & Hillary. But I don’t want 10-20 candidates. 5-6 would be ideal. (OK, maybe 7: Rubio, Fiorina, Carson, Bush, Christie, Walker, & Jindal) That would be awesome, as then we would have these quality people who would withstand scrutiny and people could really get to know. Right now, I’m afraid of the quality people getting lost and being drowned out in an ocean of mediocrity and freak-show atmosphere. And so your article’s optimism certainly helps.

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