When you look at the growing list of potential 2016 Presidential candidates the GOP is rolling out right now, one may assume that the party is lively, vigorous. It may seem that Republicans are so enthusiastic that anybody and everybody thinks he or she has a shot. There are just so many great candidates. Well, if that is your take on it, I must admit that I strongly disagree.
Right now the list includes names like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, and Rick Perry. Jeb Bush is expected to announce his intention to run at some point today. And others, like Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie are also expected to run. Jeb’s announcement today will make a dozen GOP candidates, and the list will continue to grow. This speaks to one overlooked point about the Republican Party:
They do not have one voice, one direction in which they wish to move. Instead, they are a fractured, polarized party full of infighting and disagreement. The more moderate Republicans are in a struggle to rescue their party from the clutches of far right Tea Party conservatives. This will lead to a bloody, disputed primary season that will leave the victor, whoever that may be, beaten and battered heading into the general elections. If you don’t think that’s a problem, ask John McCain or Mitt Romney how much the primaries cost them a shot at the presidency.
For six years now, Republicans have not had to have a plan, or a direction. The consensus among the party was that the main goal should be to disrupt the Presidency of Barack Obama. Their attempt to make him a one-term failure went dreadfully wrong. Their numerous attempts to shut down the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, have not worked out and in fact cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Unfortunately for them, impeding Obama’s progress was one of the only things they could agree on, and they couldn’t even do that right. In case you haven’t heard, Obama won reelection and the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. It also has a highly favorable rating, making repeal even less of a possibility despite a potential Supreme Court ruling that could derail it.
Now, before the primary season is even in full swing, we are already seeing Republican candidates attack each other. We are seeing these candidates try to pull their party into many different directions. Rand Paul is pushing his Libertarian ideology, Ted Cruz is pulling the party further to the right, and Jeb Bush is trying to pull them back toward the middle. If this keeps up, it will only hurt the last GOP candidate who is left standing when the dust clears. And it will lead to an even more fractured Republican Party. There is not one candidate who has a plan, and the voters seem to agree. The fact that there is not a legitimate front-runner, a candidate who has enough support to pull away, shows that voters are just as fractured as the candidates. Too many candidates, too many voices, is not a good thing. Especially when not one of these candidates, not one of these voices, has a clear message to deliver.