Four years ago this week, I posted the following piece explaining what we could expect from the 2016 race. Just sayin’. Original post is available at this link.
Republicans are an orderly bunch. For all the excitement generated by the 2012 nominating race, we pretty much know how it ends. Unless there is a political disruption so large as to challenge the Party’s continuing viability, Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee.
Why Romney? There are lots of great personal and policy reasons, but those don’t determine the outcome. He’ll be the nominee because he’s the guy who finished second last time. Except in races where the previous second-place finisher declined to run this is a pattern that stretches back unbroken for generations.
Why does it work that way? This preference tends to produce a nominee with the stamina, the experience, the fund-raising heft, and the general gravitas to represent the Party for the long haul. It means that a GOP nominee has years of vetting and seasoning before he takes the big stage.
Look at the Democrats’ experiences with Obama, Carter, and McGovern, and you get a sense for why the GOP leans in this direction. Better yet, look at the lone recent exception to Republican Party’s second-place rule, George W. Bush, and the wisdom of the process shines through.
Surveying the 2012 field leads to a terrible realization: with Pawlenty out and Huntsman oblivious to what he’s walked into, there is no credible adult competing for the slot of ‘next in line.’ Daniels and Christie still aren’t answering the phone. The well has run dry.
The triumph of the fundamentalist/Neo-Confederate axis inside the Party is apparent in this startling checkmate. Even if we get a solid nominee this time, the presumptive frontrunner for the GOP nomination in the next cycle is pretty much guaranteed to be a loon.
Apart from Romney there is not a single candidate in serious contention who even pretends to have any interest in the reality-based community. With their warnings about government injections being forced on little girls, FEMA re-education camps, secession, the tyranny of paper money, the Islamic takeover the of the US, and the ‘weaknesses’ of the theory of evolution, where are we going to look next time for a candidate who isn’t a cartoon character?
If you think this year’s nominating field is ugly…