Paul Ryan was on Meet the Press this morning. Although he’s an ideal candidate for 2016, he’s at a pretty formative stage in terms of whether or not he’ll be considered to be a serious contender for the Republican Party in four years.
When asked about his prospects in 2016, he told David Gregory that’d he’d “decide later”. Ryan stands as the very early frontrunner, in so much that you can be a frontrunner in a race that is nonexistent. Other potential candidates include Florida senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Ryan actually has a pretty good perspective on what the Republican candidate needs to do. Without saying anything about policy, Ryan said that the party needed to expand their appeal.
It remains to be seen whether or not Paul Ryan can broaden the appeal of the party. His next two years will dictate whether or not he can position himself as a transformative force in the Republican Party. First, he needs to detach himself from the Romney campaign. Although the campaign pushed him to the national stage, Romney proved to be more divise force than working to unify the Republican Party. Second, and more importantly, Ryan needs to find a happy medium in which he incorporates the perspectives and viewpoints of most Americans into the Republican platform, rather than attempt to convince people that the Republican Party has better ideas.
On the Democratic ticket, especially in light of the end of her tenure online casino bonus as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is seen to be the strong frontrunner. Clinton has been less coy about her role in 2016, sometimes outright denying that she’s considering a 2016 bid. The Benghazi hearings and her popularity have had many pundits and commentators talking that she will run in the next election. Her closest challenger is current Vice-President Joe Biden. Like Ryan, the next two years are important for a potential Clinton run. While she’ll undoubtedly step out of the public eye for a few months, she needs to maintain some sort of a public presence, even if it is low-key. One of the early criticisms is that Clinton would be 69 years old upon her inauguration in 2017. She would be the second oldest president to take the oath of office, only behind Ronald Reagan. Completely disappearing from the public eye would only intensify this criticism.
A Clinton-Ryan race would be incredibly interesting. Other than the clear dichotomy between a 69-year old woman running against a 45-year old man, there are other distinctions between the two. Clinton would represent a party that has held the presidency for eight years, but also as an incredibly experienced politician as First Lady, senator, presidential candidate, and Secretary of State. Ryan would presumably represent a party that has had trouble articulating a successful agenda, as a relatively young (yet also experienced) politician with transformative ideas about how the presidency can improve this country. Should be a pretty interesting campaign…