“I like to define public opinion as what people think other people think,” said EMU alumnus Joseph Sobran.
According to the polls, here’s what people think other people think: Republicans are split between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney – if splitting the vote was an Olympic sport, the Republicans would win gold, silver and bronze and the Democrats would get honorable mention – while Democrats are squarely behind Hillary Clinton.
Given the choice between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, I think of the words of Hillary Clinton: “What difference does it make?” If you’re a Democrat, my advice is not to put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re a Republican, my advice is to stop putting each egg in its own basket. If you’re an independent, in the words of Bill Clinton, “I feel your pain.”
“I’m Spartacus!” Spartacus was about to yell to the Roman general who bade him step forward in the 1960 classic Spartacus. “I’m Spartacus!” yelled one of Spartacus’s men, refusing to let Spartacus give himself up. “I’m Spartacus!” yelled a third man, and another and another until every one of Spartacus’s comrades was stepping forward as Spartacus. This is how I see the Republicans.
“I’m the 2016 Republican candidate!” yelled Florida Governor Jeb Bush. “I’m the 2016 Republican candidate!” yelled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “I’m the 2016 Republican candidate!” yelled South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham - all three of whom have formed Political Action Committees. Twenty-two other Republicans have publicly expressed interest in a 2016 run, among which are eleven Governors and five members of Congress.
Against the Republican’s twenty-two possible candidates, the Democrats have come up with only five - former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez and two Governors. In other words, the Democrats have Hillary Clinton and a few possible Vice Presidential picks.
As baffling as the Republicans are with their plethora of candidates, the Democrats are suffering from the opposite problem - an absence of any serious or national candidates. To date, the only Democrat to have formed a Political Action Committee has been Virginia Senator Jim Webb, by no means a national figure. Jeff Boss of New Jersey, Vermin Supreme of Massachusetts and Robert Wells of Georgia have filed as candidates with the Federal Election Commission. If you haven't heard of Boss, Supreme or Wells, join the club.
It’s still a long ways off and nothing is written in stone but I see only two names on the political horizon: Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. If Bush gets the nomination, it’s entirely possible that the Republicans will split their own vote – it’s the nature of the beast - or that a Libertarian will split it for them. Hillary Clinton strikes me as the only serious Democratic candidate, but if Clinton doesn’t run, I don’t see anyone else who can run and win.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: in the land of the blind, the one-eye is king. Come November 2016, I'll be voting for one-eye.