J Pat Carter, Associated Press
The race for the presidency in 2016 might seem a little familiar, according to The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift.
“Looking ahead to 2016, Hillary Clinton is her party’s most likely nominee, and Jeb Bush is his party’s most credible nominee should they decide to run,” Clift wrote on Tuesday.
The Clinton and Bush surnames have held an almost uninterrupted presence in the White House for the last 34 years, with Bush’s father and brother serving as president (and vice president in the case of his father) and Clinton’s husband filling the gap between the two Bush presidencies.
Clinton also served as Secretary of State from 2008 to 2012.
According to Clift, belief that the 2016 election would be dominated by these familiar names was heightened during an education summit in Dallas earlier in the week where both candidates made an appearance.
“It’s easy to imagine Clinton and Bush debating education policy and respectfully agreeing or disagreeing,” Clift said. “Each would happily set aside questions about Benghazi or brother George’s presidency; leaving that for others to explore.”
Clift’s anticipation of a kinder, gentler election season in 2016 may be wishful thinking, however. While she predicts that the race will be between these two establishment candidates with immense policy experience, thus replacing the “down with the establishment” approach of the tea party and Occupy Wall Street with two candidates willing to “respectfully agree or disagree,” polls still indicate that the 2016 lineup is still very much in question — especially for republicans.
While most early polls have put Hillary Clinton as the only Democrat with a solid edge, the Republican ticket isn’t as set on Jeb Bush. For example, the Iowa straw poll in February crowned former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee as the frontrunner. Rand Paul, who is largely considered to represent the more anti-establishment wing of the Republican Party, took the top slot in both the Conservative Political Action Conference poll and the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.
“Things are so wide open that even 2012 nominee Romney is getting another look,” The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty and Robert Costa wrote in February. In fact last month a poll conducted in Massachusetts (where Romney was governor, as it were) placed the 2012 nominee above not only Jeb Bush, but Rand Paul and New Jersey governor Chris Christie.
“With Christie's political career on life support, the party is again casting about for a savior,” The Week’s Jon Terbush wrote in response to the Massachusetts poll. And as Clift suggests, Bush seems to be filling that void. For now at least.