Politics! We’re getting dirty! All the candidates are still running except for Bobby Jindal, who exited the race last week. Get ready for a political season like none else in American history. There will be blood, among other side effects.
Jeb! Bush: Never has there been less of a reason to put an exclamation by someone’s name. Still. While the run to the far-right is happening for almost all presidential candidates that think they’re actually going to stay in the race until the Iowa Primaries (February 1), he couldn’t be doing it less effective. Jeb! might as well open a diner in Northern Florida and serve breakfast items, because he’s great at producing things covered in milquetoast.
Ben Carson: Now that we’re unfortunately in a post-Paris world, does Carson have what it takes to appeal to the Security Moms and Hard-Line Dads that will make damn sure that Homeland Security is first and foremost when choosing their GOP nominee? Based on the last few polls, we’re now witnessing the beginning of the decline of the once-leading Ben Carson. People are starting to become unimpressed, and that includes the reactionary sycophants that make up his core followers.
Chris Christie: There’s a pulse, and a slight electricity to his campaign after a few so-so weeks before and after the most recent debate, that of which he was relegated to the “kids’ table” because of weak poll numbers. His numbers will go up, even if that never means anything for him in the long run. He’ll have his moment.
Hillary Clinton: All indicators show that she’s going to be the Democratic nominee. She comes with baggage. So much baggage. With so many awful things happening in Europe, will her integrity ever be fully brought into question before she wraps up all the delegates?
Ted Cruz: The rise of Ted Cruz is happening. He’s a very smart person and good debater, and most patient above all. Trump and Rubio are right to be concerned. America has the right to be concerned. His policy positions are some of the furthest-Right since one Pat Buchanan ran as a Reform Party candidate back in 2000. Expect more from Cruz, and don’t tread on him, even if you vehemently disagree with everything that he is about.
Carly Fiorina: It was a quick descent. Many times, Fiorina has tried to appeal to the mass of undecided GOP voters with statements that are blatantly false. She is and won’t ever be the thinking Republican’s candidate of choice. No chance at the nomination, and I look for her to exit quietly after coming in fifth-or-worse in Iowa.
Lindsay Graham: National security is at the forefront now that ISIS is starting to play the few cards that they’ve drawn from the attention deck. Graham’s problem will always be that he’s not a national figure, and is quite boring when it comes to giving a speech of any sort. He has funny one-liners during the debates. Maybe he’ll join the writers’ room for New Girl after he shuts his campaign down.
Mike Huckabee: This Southern-Not-So-Gentleman likes food. The Daily Show destroyed him last week, and while that really won’t matter much, it was hilarious and a solid reminder how ineffective he is at rhetoric and overall leadership.
Bobby Jindal: Ineffective and out. We won’t be hearing from him until after this Election Cycle, when I’m certain he’ll be happy to be a cable news talking head on Fox News spouting his uninteresting and bad ideas.
John Kasich: So much promise, so little traction. This guy flirts with 2-3% polling numbers like they’re the unobtainable-yet-friendly person in a bar at 1:30am. While there’s no giving up for him before Iowa (and probably New Hampshire), the writing will be on the wall soon enough. They’re still fracking natural gas to power the trucks that will help build that wall.
Mike O’Malley: Sadsack, Party of One, your table has been ready for a long time, and now you’re moping as you saunter over to it. Oh, is that single flower at the table drooping too much for you? We thought it was a nice touch. O’Malley has zero inertia. I hope he gets some soon.
George Pataki: Very little media exposure amid plenty of name recognition, having been the Governor of New York for eight years. I don’t see a future for him besides that of the status of Party Elder, but even that will be one who doesn’t get listened to much.
Rand Paul: He’s a Libertarian and an Isolationist running in the modern hard-Right Republican Party. No wonder his numbers are fledgling like a dolphin’s wet flipper trying to grasp a coffee cup. The Kentucky Senator needs to strike a few effective chords, because he’s singing the wrong song.
Marco Rubio: His ascent is happening. More and more money is coming to his campaign by way of big donors and even small donors who think that Rubio is the one to beat once Trump and Carson supposedly implode. Rubio’s got lots to do in order to capture 51% of the GOP voters’ imagination, but he’s certainly got the right art supplies.
Bernie Sanders: Bernie is marking time on the ceiling that he has hit with the Democratic Party that isn’t going to end up buying what he’s selling. It was a nice effort, and while his campaign is definitely far from over, his zenith exists behind him.
Rick Santorum: Another bad campaign with no imagination. Boring, lampoon-worthy, and ineffective. If he’s still in the race five minutes after the polls close in Iowa, I’ll be quite surprised.
Donald Trump: Last alphabetically, but first in the hearts and minds of all the potential American voters right now. Republican and Democrat. He’s the one everyone talks about and compares themselves against. He’s the biggest media star since Barack Obama, and he’s beginning to pull away from every other would-be Republican contender. Cruz and Rubio are nipping at his golden heels, however.