In the pre-primary early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, the race is becoming clear even though none of the potential candidates have announced there are intending to run. At this time former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the top choice for the Democratic Presidential nomination, while Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (1999-2007) is shaping up as the top choice for Republicans and major donors. They are also receiving early endorsements for their runs; Jeb Bush has the support of two former presidents his father Former President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993) and his brother Former President George W. Bush (2001-2009). While Hillary Clinton just picked up an early endorsement from Democratic Virginia Senator Tim Kaine on Saturday, May 3, 2013. Hillary Clinton is leading by a large margin all potential Democrats in the field, and Jeb Bush is leading the Republican pack, and is the favorite of Democratic donors. However, even with a dream Clinton Bush match-up; Hillary Clinton is beating Jeb Bush in the polls even in his home state of Florida.
Former President George W. Bush has previously commented about thinking that his brother Jeb should run for president, and he said so again during an interview with CNN's Jack Tapper taped at his ranch in Crawford, Texas that aired on Thursday, May 1, 2014. The former president expressed that he hopes his brother runs, telling Tapper that; "I hope Jeb runs. I think he would be a great president." Bush first stated that he thought his brother would "be a great president" in November 2013 during an appearance on NBC's Tonight show.
What might be surprising is that Jeb Bush has not talked to his brother about his intentions, from Former President Bush's remarks he is making deductions about Jeb's pre-announcement campaigning as the rest of public and media have; "I have no clue what's on his mind and we will talk when he's ready. I notice he is moving around the country quite a bit." Bush admitted his brother did not talk with him about his plans for 2016, and gave a shout-out to his brother to call him for campaign advice, the former president revealed; "I really have not talked to Jeb about the presidency. It's hard for people to believe. Hey Jeb, if you need some advice, give me a call."
Apparently it is the opinion of most the Bush family men that Jeb run for President, and his father former president George H. W. Bush just as enthusiastically supports the prospects of another President Bush as his brother the 43rd president. According to younger brother Neil on an April 25, 2014 appearance with CNN's Gloria Borger, Neil gave their father Former President George H. W. Bush's endorsement of a potential Jeb run, saying "If you ask Dad the same question, 'Should Jeb run?,' he'd say yes." Borger asked if Neil if he personally asked the question, he responded "I've heard him answer that question."
Jeb's Mother former First Lady Barbara Bush has already expressed her reservations about having another Bush man run for the presidency in spring 2013 she told NBC News that "we've had enough Bushes." She followed up on this comment in January 2014 speaking out against political dynasties including the Kennedy's, Clinton's and her family the Bushes. Bush told C-SPAN in an interview for their "First Ladies" series which aired on January 20; "If we can't find more than two or three families to run for office, that's silly, because there are great governors and great eligible people to run. And I think that the Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes - there are just more families than that. And I'm not arrogant enough to think that we alone are raising." However, Bush maintained that Jeb is the "best qualified person," she was however, concerned; "I hope he won't because I think he'll get all my enemies, all his brother's … and there are other families." Concluding she stated; "I refuse to accept that this great country isn't raising other wonderful people."
She seemed more open to the idea saying about political dynasties however, in a March 5, 2014 interview with Steve Doocy on Fox & Friends quoting Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit, saying that Goodwin "points out that in 1700, there were only three families. So maybe it's OK." Continuing about Jeb's specific position, the former first lady said; "Maybe Jeb's given all he should give, because he's worked awfully hard for a long time." She also admitted that "he is the best qualified person in the country, there's no question about it."
According NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released just this past Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Americans overwhelmingly at 69 percent agree with Former First Lady Bush's original comment against dynasties, with 50 percent believing the comment should apply to the Bushes and Clintons. In February Jeb Bush already admitted that famous last names are an obstacle both he and Clinton would have to deal with if they would both run in 2016. Speaking to the Long Island Association, Bush stated; "I get the point. It's something that, if I run, I would have to overcome that. And so will Hillary, by the way. Let's keep the same standards for everybody."
Hillary Clinton has also already gotten some important pre-campaign endorsements already besides her husband, Former President Bill Clinton (1993-2001), from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA and the "16 Democratic women" in Senate have sent Clinton a "letter urging her to run " according to Politico.
Recently Clinton has received an endorsement from Caroline Kennedy, the current Ambassador to Japan and the daughter of President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963). In an interview with ABC News in Tokyo during to President Barack Obama's Asia trip, on Thursday, April 24 Kennedy gave Clinton an early endorsement saying she would endorse her "If she runs." Continuing Kennedy clarified; "I know it sounds like a cliché, but two years is a really long time in politics. I'm sure she's looking forward to being a grandmother, I know she's got to decide soon. So, so you know I hope so."
Clinton receive her most recent endorsement on Saturday, May 3, 2014 from Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who endorsed Clinton at the Democratic Women's Council's breakfast in early primary state South Carolina in Columbia and hosted super PAC Ready for Hillary. At the breakfast event Sen. Kaine expressed; "I'm doing my bit now to encourage Hillary Clinton to run. I'm encouraging my constituents in Virginia and also encourage all of you to do the same thing by joining the Ready for Hillary movement that already has 2 million supporters."
According to the remarks he delivered, Kaine declared; "Secretary Hillary Clinton is the best person to be our 45th President for many reasons. She is a classic American optimist with the background and experiences necessary to lead this country in a very complicated world." Continuing, he explained why he supports her; "She has a deep history of engagement in domestic policy issues - the economy and jobs, education, the equal status of all, children and family programs - that started long before she came to Washington. … She understands the challenges facing Americans from all walks of life and has the compassion and skill necessary to help improve our everyday lives."
Kaine believes because of Clinton's extensive experience and the challenges the country faces, she is the best person for the position. Kaine concluded; "Our country will have no shortage of challenges to tackle in the future. … And the very list of challenges on the table tells us who the next president should be," Kaine finished his endorsement, by urging Clinton to run for president; "That's why I stand with you today to encourage Hillary Clinton to run, to pledge my support for her candidacy if she does and to ask you to make that same pledge."
After his speech Kaine took to Twitter to second his endorsement; "Today I encouraged Hillary Clinton to run for president & pledged my support for her candidacy if she does." Additionally he wrote an op-ed in POLITICO Magazine entitled "What is Hillary Clinton afraid of?" supporting a Hillary Clinton candidacy and discussing the challenges a women presidential candidate and president might face. In 2008, Kaine supported Clinton's rival for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, Barack Obama who went on to win the presidency. Kaine is also being considered as a possible Vice Presidential candidate choice for the Democratic ticket in 2016.
Both Bush and Clinton have stated this past April that they are considering a potential run, an important step beyond the coyness and media speculation that surrounded both of them. In the past few months both have heightened their public profiles with speaking engagements all over the country on the most pressing issues including the economy, immigration reform and education and for Clinton frequent foreign policy remarks on the crisis in Ukraine and Russia military interference in Ukraine's sovereignty.
After all the speculation Bush finally admitted his intentions while he was speaking a New York Catholic Charities fundraiser the Union League luncheon on Wednesday April 23. There Bush declared "I'm thinking about running for president." The crowd according to Politico "went wild" Bush responded "Would you call and tell my mom?" referring to Former First Lady Barbara Bush's opposition to his running. Earlier in the month on Tuesday, April 8 Hillary Clinton admitted to what is the most widely known, and what she has artfully evaded answering for months that she is considering another presidential run. Clinton told a crowd to the Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco; "I am thinking about it, but I am going to continue to think about it for a while," making clear she is not deciding in the immediate future. Neither of them however, intends to make any official announcements until after the midterm elections, and maybe even early 2015 at the latest.
Although they might be their party's favorite neither comes without political baggage. For Clinton the former Secretary of State under President Obama the controversy continues surrounding her response to the September 2012 Benghazi, Libya terrorist attacks on the U.S. Consulate there. Clinton also faces scrutiny from her husband's presidency, the various scandals and particularly the Monica Lewinsky affair and subsequent impeachment. Although, she was not involved in most of the issues, recently released Clinton Presidential documents show Hillary had a central role in the scandal's management. Clinton would also face concerns about her age, she would be 69 if elected and would be the second oldest president ever elected after Ronald Reagan who was a couple of months older in 1980 when he won. However, there was recent backlash about criticizing her age after her daughter Chelsea Clinton announced in April that she is having her first child, which would make Clinton a grandmother when running for president. This age criticism has been called sexism, and is being overly, because she is a woman.
For Bush, his position on certain issues rumples feathers even with the Republican Party. Education is a priority for Bush, but he supports the unpopular Common Core educational standards, while his recent remarks in support of immigration reform also caused a stir. Bush recently explained; "Why would I back down from it? It's the right thing to do…we've got to be an inclusive party." Of course he has the fact that he would be the third President Bush against him, although as time moves further from his brother, George W. Bush's presidency, the better, George W's post-presidential approval rating has improved, and criticism less harsh. Bush believes that his famous last name would be an "obstacle", but one he and Hillary Clinton each who have to surmount in a potential 2016 run.
Hillary Clinton is the clear favorite among American voters for both the Democratic Presidential Nomination and the presidency, while Jeb Bush leads among the Republican Party as their favorite for the nomination. According to a new Quinnipiac University Poll released on Thursday, May 1, 2014 Clinton leads Bush by nine percentage points, 49 to 41 in his home state of Florida. Peter Brown the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll observed about the results; "With former Gov. Jeb Bush making noises about a possible 2016 candidacy, his support among Republicans in the Sunshine State appears to be solidifying. He still trails Hillary Clinton in a general election matchup, but he is the only potential GOP nominee who gets within single digits of her. For a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy in Florida, November 2016 can't get here soon enough. Not only does she out point the entire field of potential Democratic wannabes for the party nomination put together, but her favorability numbers among all voters is near 60 percent."
Hillary Clinton beat the entire pack of potential Democratic candidates by a large margin with 64 percent of potential voter support, trailing in second place is Vice President Joe Biden with 11 percent. Biden is considering another run at the Democratic presidential nomination and does not seemed unfazed by Hillary Clinton. Listed at third is Senator Elizabeth Warren at 6 percent, although Warren has already stated she has no intention of running in 2016. Clinton has obtained an early lead in a majority of polls; her early wide margin lead has deterred most Democrats from considering a run in 2016.
According to the poll among the potential Republican candidates, Bush has 27 percent of support with Sen. Rand Paul, KY a far second at 14 percent, then Sen. Marco Rubio, FL at 11 percent, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at 7 percent, and all tying with 6 percent each was Sen. Ted Cruz, TX., former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate and Rep. Paul Ryan, WI. Prior to Jeb Bush's interest, consideration in running and rise in the polls Christie had been the Republican favorite however; the George Washington Bridge Scandal has tainted his rising star, Republican donors prefer Bush to support if he runs rather than Christie. Meanwhile not listed was 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney who according to CBS News' Bob Schieffer might run again in 2016 if Bush chooses not to.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 demonstrates that the trends from the Quinnipiac University Poll can be seen nationwide. In a potential 2016 match-up Clinton leads Bush 53 to 41 percent, Still Clinton has an advantage with support from women, youth and minorities. Meanwhile, when asked about a favorable view of each family, the Clintons had 66 percent to the Bushes' 54 percent.
In this Washington Post poll, Bush did not have the clear lead among Republicans as he did in his home state. Here he tied with Sen. Rand Paul, KY with 14 percent, Mike Huckabee a close third with 13 percent, Rep. Paul Ryan followed with 11 percent, and rounding up the potential candidates with more than 10 percent support was Christie with 10 percent. The poll divided Republicans and Huckabee was the top choice among those who are "very conservative," receiving 21 percent of support there Bush does not fare well receiving only 7 percent, he is more popular among moderate and liberal Republicans. Still Bush does not lead among the moderate Republicans, Rep Ryan received that designate with 17 percent of support. Despite these numbers the Republican establishment believes that Bush is the only Republican to go up against the almost beatable Hillary Clinton.
- Quinnipiac University Poll Finds: Jeb Bush Is Top Dog In Florida 2016 GOP Pack, But Clinton On Top, Despite Bad Obama Grades, May 1, 2014
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are US, Canadian & Israeli politics.