Opinion & Analysis

32 and Counting - They are Running for President

June 1, 2015 7:07 pm - By: Richard V. Engle

Why are 31 men and 1 woman looking at or actively running for the GOP nomination for President of the United States of America?  Why is this Presidential sweepstakes different? Here are several reasons:

1) The GOP does not have an heir apparent.  Rick Santorum thinks there is and it is him but in politics perception is reality so therefore, he is really wrong.  Typically, the GOP nominates the person who paid their dues and it is "his turn".  That might have applied to Santorum if he played his cards just right in the intervening time, but he didn't.  It would have applied to Mitt Romney, but he is not running.  Indeed, that he held to a pretence of running for a while may be why no one else can claim to be the heir.  More about that later.

2) There is no better way to vet someone than to have the public and the press do it for you.  Thus corporations are highly inclined to have persons who performed admirably on the national stage as members of their boards of directors.  While some of the candidates are building name ID to secure reelection to an existing position, and others are seeking to garner speaking engagements and book sales, most (if not all) see the upside of Presidential defeat as a profitable and secure position on some number of corporate boards. 

3) The rules have changed.  In Tampa a number of rules changes were foisted upon the Republican Party over the objections of the Delegates and over the voiced objections of a large number of the members of the RNC itself.  Those rules changes include two new rules which I predicted then would have a broad sweeping impact on the very nature of the party including some unintended consequences.  Those rules can be labeled as "Delegate Discipline" and "Rules Flexibility".  Without getting too wonkish, I will simply state that these rules create a situation in which the nomination battle has moved from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to the home and boardrooms in which sit the previous GOP nominee.  While there is no evidence that Mitt Romney is planning on playing his cards, he has them and could at any time.  That he toyed with running again, but didn't, preserved his ability to influence the outcome of the GOP nomination battle.  Even if he has no intent to do so, and even if other candidates don't intend to do so, the reality is that those who pull the strings on a prior GOP nominee could pull the strings on the next one.  This makes those prior candidates hot commodities for corporations across the land.  Sadly, the GOP is less of a grassroots party than it used to be.

4) The obvious needs to be stated.  The next President will most likely be a Republican.  A two term President has to leave office very popular to be succeeded by a member of his own party.  Reagan did and gave us Bush.  Clinton almost did and we nearly got Gore'd.  Obama is a very different story.  While the history of American politics is a story of the unlikely, it is nonetheless very unlikely that a Democrat will follow on the heels of Mr. Obama given his lack of popularity. So, the questions is which of the candidates are really working to get the White House and which are engaged in a job search for relevance and financial gain?  I would suggest that Bush, Paul, Perry, Rubio, Santorum and Walker are as self convinced as anyone can be that they are "the guy" for 2016.  They certainly have shown that they have the "fire in the belly" for it and that they are willing to sacrifice what they have, and could have, to get where they believe they should be.  Perhaps there are others that should be added to that short list.

That said, every candidate knows the nomination is wide open.  Every candidate knows that there is life after campaigning and that such a life can be a very nice one indeed.

Here is the long list of candidates declared, exploring and considering the GOP nomination at this time: Skip Andrews, Michael Bickelmeyer, Kerry Bowers, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Dale Christensen, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, John Dummett, Bob Ehrlich, Mark Everson, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Chris Hill, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Peter King, Michael Kinlaw, Dennis Michael Lynch, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Mike Pence, Rick Perry, Michael Petyo, Marco Rubio, Brian Russell, Rick Santorum, Rick Snyder, Donald Trump, Scott Walker. 

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Meet Richard Engle

Richard Engle

Richard Engle is a Past President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies which is the nation's largest and oldest Republican support organization.

Richard was twice elected to his local city council and twice elected to the Oklahoma delegation to the Republican National Convention including serving on the National Rules Committee in 2000 where he successfully placed a minority report on the floor of the convention - the first, and most recent since Ronald Reagan did the same in 1976.

Richard is President of BellWest America. Richard and Denise, his wife of nearly 30 years, live in Oklahoma City. Denise Engle serves as Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the State of Oklahoma. Richard speaks and writes often on matters of public policy.

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