Handicapping the Presidential Field


With the official announcement from the formerly “dead broke” Hillary Clinton that she has decided to accepter, decided to seekthe Democratic presidential nomination, the 2016 presidential election has begun in earnest.  Here, then, is a brief rundown of the various charlatans and sociopaths vying for the White House.

The Republicans

Jeb Bush

A true blue blood with loads of cash.  The clear front-runner, in other words.

Scott Walker

A celebrated union-buster with a hate of organized labor so pure it has led Walker to equate Wisconsin pro-union protesters with ISIS and declare Reagan’s breaking of the PATCO strike a foreign policy accomplishment.  Of course, a hate of workers is all Walker has to offer.  But don’t confuse that for a weakness.  As one “impressed” South Carolina Republican was recently left to gush of his interaction with the one-trick pony Walker: “We talked football for five minutes. Politics never came up.”  Look, then, for the worker-hating, football-loving Walker to mount the most serious challenge to the annotating of Bush III.

Rick Santorum

A failed Senator with a longstanding dream of one day parlaying a fantastical bid for the White House into his very own Fox News show.  Unfortunately for Santorum, he once again faces stiff competition in this regards.  Look for Santorum to come up short on his dream once again, only to return for one more try come 2020.

Bobby Jindal

A governor with an utterly failed economic agenda, who now spends his time warning America’s beleaguered Christians about the perils of impending Muslim colonization.  Jindal’s delusional ambition notwithstanding, a plush gig as a pundit permitting the governor the opportunity to freely espouse all his favorite Islamaphobic canards remains the most likely outcome of any 2016 run .

Ben Carson

A man with the homophobic bona fides necessary to win over the Republican primary voter.  Alas, Carson’s appeal begins and ends there.  But it can only help the Republican Party’s “minority outreach” to have an actual minority up on the debate stage, so expect Carson to stick around at least through the first debate.

Chris Christie

A man who has built his national brand by publicly berating and bullying public school teachers, while simultaneously indulging an insatiable appetite for publicly financed luxury.  The man is the American elite personified.  The problem for Christie, of course, is that such unvarnished personifications of the American elite often struggle to win the “hearts and minds” of the rabble.  Just ask Mitt Romney.

Ted Cruz

A wannabe televangelist and Harvard Law graduate who married a Goldman Sachs managing director and is currently a sitting U.S. Senator.  So clearly Cruz is Middle America’s favorite anti-establishment crusader.  Of course, for frauds of Cruz’s ilk (see Mike Huckabee), the grand prize isn’t the White House, but a financial payout. So look for Cruz to battle it out with Santorum before ultimately securing a lucrative contract with Fox News.

Rand Paul

A principled “libertarian,” swiftly shedding his deeply held principles as he goes.  Look for Paul’s faux libertarianism to hoodwink enough young, rich, white males (i.e., “libertarians”) to sustain his campaign well near the party’s national convention.  Just don’t look for Paul’s charade to muster enough support to actually secure the nomination.

Rick Perry

The very same idiot who ran in 2012, albeit this time the simpleton is betting he’ll be able to fool the Republican electorate by donning a pair of designer glasses.  He is worth watching early, as his grasp of the superficiality of running for president is no doubt a formidable asset.

Lindsey Graham

The hard-hitting foreign policy heavyweight of the Republican field.  The always somber Graham has decided to use his role as a stock Sunday morning talk show guest to flirt with a long shot candidacy for no other reason than to press the point that if we don’t “man up” and start dropping some more bombs on the Middle East “barbarians” du jour, we are all going to “get killed here at home.”  With such measured hot takes, look for Graham to make any short list of potential Secretaries of State in any future Republican administration.

Marco Rubio

A war hawk’s war hawks with a pretty haircut.  Look for the inexperienced Rubio to beef up his credentials by advocating the bombing of at least two more countries by the time of the Iowa caucuses.  And if if Rubio proves himself adept at framing such savagery as somehow being humanitarian endeavors undertaken to “protect civilians,” look for Rubio to market himself to the nation’s moneyed elite (á la an Illinois Senator from years past) as the best face to graft on American imperialism.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee has a new book out.  He’s decided to sell that book by “running for president.”

Carly Fiorina

The former chief executive of HP responsible for sacking over 18,000 employees during her over 5 year run as the head of the company.  That said, given a chance to stand next to the war-mongering, blood-stained Hillary Clinton, the American electorate may actually come to warm to the cut-throat Fiorina.  And again, it can’t hurt the aesthetics of the party to have a woman up on the debate stage, so expect Fiorina to make it at least as far as the first Republican debate.

The Democrats

Hillary Clinton

A true blue blood with loads of cash.  The clear front-runner, in other words.

Bernie Sanders

sham “socialist,” pro-Israel hawk.  Look for Sanders to play Kucinich in the 2016 primary should he launch a campaign; that is, look for Sanders to work on drawing the outer edges of American liberalism back into the Democratic fold before inevitably dropping out of the race and endorsing Clinton.

Martin O’Malley

The former governor of Maryland is positioning himself as the party’s “populist” alternative to Clinton.  Of course, there is no alternative to Clinton within the neoliberal Democratic Party.  But it will certainly look better if Hillary has someone to actually “debate.”  Plus, who knows, maybe O’Malley has a little Kucinich in him as well.

Third Parties

Third parties are irrelevant in American politics.  The dwindling few who still turn out to vote are to steadfastly ignore all matters related to economic and foreign policy, and instead carefully wade through the culture war milieu to select their preferred lesser evil major party candidate.

Early Prediction

The blue bloods prevail in both parties, setting up a dynastic struggle for power befitting American democracy.

Ben Schreiner is a writer living in Oregon.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com.

Ben Schreiner is the author of A People’s Dictionary to the ‘Exceptional Nation’.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com or via his blog.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine



zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner