Republicans vs. Democrats, 2016 edition: Who has the stronger bench?

Published: Thursday, March 21 2013 8:51 a.m. MDT

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., last week, young GOP up-and-comers took to the stage to begin building their credentials before 2016, while the Republican National Committee recently released a postmortem report recommending changes to the party ahead of the next presidential election.

With Republicans scrambling for agreement on hot-button issues like gay marriage and immigration, Democrats could be feeling pretty confident in looking toward 2016. However, vice.com writer James Poulos warned that Democrats can laugh now, but 2016 "will break you."

"Obama has left the Democrats no political heir," Poulos said. "Republicans, by contrast, have an embarrassment of riches."

Do Republicans really have an embarrassment of riches, and will Democrats have someone to turn to?

Here's a look at the benches of both parties — Republicans and Democrats — and the rumored candidates who might step forward to run in 2016.

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m.g. scott

In 2008 the Democrat Party had essentially two people (Obama and Clinton) who ran through the primary cycle. It was a much more civilized debate between them than what the Republicans have done these last two election cycles. The Republicans have put up a bunch of people and allowed them all to stay to the bitter end. Thus, the Republicans come off as a bunch of winers while the Democrats have looked more mature. In 2016 I hope that the Republicans learn from the Democrat example and pick two candidates early and let them debate during the last months of the primaries. For the good of the Party I hope that the Republicans who know they are never going to win will just get out early and not let their egos make them continue.

Cedar City, UT

Judging by the GOP's message changes and variation of "principles" the last couple of months, it is impossible to know what platform the Republicans will put forward. Will they support gay marriage, amnesty, abortion, Defense cuts? We simply don't know. So it is not possible to weigh their strength of bench. Times they are a-changing!

Cedar Hills, UT

Joe Biden for president!!!! Might as well put this country out of its misery. Honestly I highly doubt America will ever elect anything but a socialist going forward. Like France America is doomed because the people have lost their way...their values...their freedoms, their ambition...their faith in God. America isn't even a shadow of what it used to be. The only thing to consider going forward is trying to protect your own family - get out of debt best you can and live simpler. Build a foundation of faith in your family to weather the approaching hurricanes. I suspect more and more people will be leaving NY , Michigan, California and other socialist stink-pots and moving to Texas, Utah and other Oasis states where they can survive as a family a little longer.

I would LOVE to see Senator (and Doctor) RAND PAUL for president but this country is too corrupt and frankly too ignorant to elect this great senator. He would be a great leader no question.

Mark B
Eureka, CA

Ah, yes. Those long ago days when we weren't "ignorant", and listened to wise men like Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater and Strom Thurmond. I tell ya, sonny. It's tough gettin' old.


Re: Mark B

As opposed to the current crop of Democrats by the names of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi who have run up all this debt? Yes, I do think the majority of American voters were "ignorant" (or as we more kindly are putting it, the "low information voter") to have re-elected that bunch. Pay day is coming, and it will cost us some 20 trillion dollars.

Cedar City, UT

While I agree the long-held principles of morality seem to be under attack, I believe this is the way we have always shifted and flexed as a society.

Having been raised in the South, I remember the 3 bathrooms at Penney's: Men, Women, Negro. And the tolerance for abuse in schools. And the covered-up domestic abuse that we now know was widespread.

So the "good old days" are a fantasy we all think about. These are the good days. Better than the past.

Cedar Hills, UT

re:Mark B

No Mark I was referring to perhaps the 1980's when America actually valued a good man with values and common sense such as Ronald Reagan. Reagan would have ZERO chance in getting elected today ...the 'drive by' media would butcher him and the Obama bums who do most of the voting in states such as NY and California would laugh him away.

More than half of America is value-less, clue-less, moral-less, and would rather get a cell phone in mail from their government for free than have to work to earn one!


You actually think today's progressive - socialist - Marxist majority is better than ...say the 1980's or the 1940's? You would be well to open your history book. Barack Obama couldn't even have gotten through the democratic primaries in the 1980's!! Of course racism and slavery were bad but that isn't what we are talking about here. America survived both slavery and the KKK but it won't survive socialism. Take a look at Greece, France, and most of the rest of Europe and see what is ahead for America.

Sugar City, ID

If ever a 3rd party was needed it is now.

Hayden, ID

One man can save America: Dr. Ben Carson.

Mark B
Eureka, CA

Pat is right about Reagan's chances in an election today, but for the wrong reason. Today's GOP would never nominate someone as willing to work with the other side as Reagan was. In the years since, Old Rushbo has taught the dittoheads to hate not just the Democrats, but the moderates as well. If you disagree, ask yourself just WHO invented the term "drive-by media". It wasn't Pat. It was Rush. They shouldn't be surprised when the GOP comes up with unelectable candidates.

Farmington, UT

Three and a half years away......why not just wait and see and not speculate?

How did speculation mask itself as news, anyway?

Phillip M Hotchkiss
Malta, Mt

I agree with Mountanman.I think Patriot would also because by his statements. they share the same value .Dr. Carson for sure

Far East USA, SC

"One man can save America: Dr. Ben Carson."

I would certainly give him a good look. He is an independent.

But, Mtnman, be careful what you wish for.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Carson said he opposed the invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the topic of gay marriage, Carson said he doesn’t believe “anyone from any group has the right to redefine a major pillar of society.” But, he added, “any two consenting adults have the right to formalize a relationship between them.”
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The big question is this. Will the GOP have evolved enough to give people like Dr Carson the latitude to have opinions and views that have some differences with the party base?

Looks like the GOP has kicked Chris Christie to the sidelines for speaking his honest mind.

Time will tell.

one day...
South Jordan, UT

Wow, a lot of people talking here about socialism, for sure you know everything about it! You will never live under a Socialist gobernment, I know that you watch too much Rambo movies or the Fox channel but honestly...stop talking nonsense! Many services in Utah fall under that same category...social services...many!
Cedar Hills, UT
My friend you should go back and live the times of the cold war, clearly...today...you are a litlle bit lost.
No Rep or Dem will make this country better, they are corrupted, they only work for themselves and their own benefit (and we pay) we need more parties, fresh faces and ideas!

Salt Lake City, Utah


So you are telling me that the country was out debt during the Bush years?

Durham, NC

"More than half of America is value-less, clue-less, moral-less, and would rather get a cell phone in mail from their government for free than have to work to earn one!"

Such comments show such an amazing level of arrogance. It is dissappointing that somehow this person believes they are because of party affiliation, better than half of the country. This person has stated over and over again he believes people like him are intellectually superior to over half this country.

I am not sure where they get their self impossed moral superiority. The disdain shown... claiming that half this country doesn't believe in working for what they get, makes one concerned for what "conservative" values really means.

As a former Republican, it surely doesn't represent how I see my fellow Americans. But then again, that is probably why I am not longer a Republican.

Salt Lake City, UT

Although I am supportive of candidates who went to the best school in the nation, Yale, (i.e. Carson and Clinton), I have no doubt that Clinton would win that contest. I'm just glad there are no BYU alums on the bench. Whew...

omni scent
taylorsville, UT

"More then half of America is value-less, clue-less, moral-less, and would rather get a cell phone in the mail from their government for free then have to work to earn one!"
If that's what you really think of the majority of America, maybe you shouldn't use the name "Patriot".
But just so you know: "Lifeline", the government program giving free or low-cost phones started in 1984 under Ronald Reagan.

HS Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

A lot of people on this blog are more opinionated than informed. Spending as a percent of GDP today is similar to that under Reagan. Also, don't forget Iran-Contra which pales in comparison to the Fast and Furious scandal. Oh yeah, and don't forget him lobbying for the Brady Bill and stricter gun control. Reagan could not win in today's GOP as he was a decent man with liberal views on gun control and spending. Today's GOP is controlled by corporate America and the religous right. Two factions that's views and interests rip the binds that hold this great country together. Fortunately for America our youth see's the greed and selfishness of these two factions and opposes politicans who are connected with them.

Cedar City, UT

I think the bottom line on the discussion about taxation is:
1. What was your gross income from all sources as shown on your tax return?
2. How mush is your tax, as shown on your tax return?

These 2 numbers are all we need to see. My numbers show my family has paid 4-7% of gross consistently over the last 35 years. I am certain you and almost all Americans pay a very small amount and yet we demand the best military, highway system, social services, health care, public lands and all the other wonderful things about America.

It is time we quit whining and acknowledge we are spoiled, compared to the rest of humanity.

Counter Intelligence
Salt Lake City, UT

"Today's GOP would never nominate someone as willing to work with the other side as Reagan was."
Ah Yes - Obama and Harry Reid are soooooo open to working with others. That is why Obama went on an ideological jihad to claim sequestion would kill America - despite the fact that it was his own idea. His real motive is to destroy a Republican House, precisely so he WONT have to work with anyone and can have unfettered access to power during his last two years.

Contrary to the whole ‘Reagan couldn’t get elected’ meme that is a passive/aggressively distributed in order to divert attention from the hard left’s own extremism: Reagan would enjoy very good support amongst Republicans if he were alive today

Hillary’s chances are largely dependent on Obama’s performance in his last two years; which are very likely to be in the range of Bush’s last two years. Most people are tired of the Bush/Clinton cycle and if Obama is a drag on her campaign her numbers won’t hold. After that, the Republican field is stronger. Biden has NO chance.

Durham, NC

"Contrary to the whole ‘Reagan couldn’t get elected’ meme that is a passive/aggressively distributed in order to divert attention from the hard left’s own extremism: Reagan would enjoy very good support amongst Republicans if he were alive today"

really. You realize that he emergency room turned medical clinic was a Reagan creation. You actually think that those like McCain that are indignant that 4 Americans were killed in Libya would just over look the two attacks on the US embassy complex killing over 400 Americans.... that would be over looked? Or the fact that under Reagan the budget deficit ballooned 3x while he was president? Or that his administration was under investigation for selling drugs in latin American to fund the Contra's and the Taliban.... these would be overlooked by the Teabilly crowd.

We'll if that is the case..... I wonder what their problem with OBama is.... could it be...... nah...

South Jordan, UT

There really isn't a whole lot of difference in the parties. On paper, yes, there are vast differences. But, in reality, they are both dominated by elitist millionaires who have stayed on far, far too long.

They are primarily good at one thing: saying and doing what it takes to stay in office.

Silly Rabbit
Small Town, USA, UT

who cares.... it will be nothing but the same, it does not matter Rep or Dem the are mostly the same............

Salt Lake City, UT

@ Y_Is_For_Yale
"I'm just glad there are no BYU alums on the bench. Whew..."

What is that even supposed to mean? lol.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

I really hope the repubs give us a ticket of Palin and Bauchman. That would totally be a winner.

Salt Lake City, UT

Reagan tripled the deficit (but you only care about democratic deficits even if the wars/bush tax cuts/recession is responsible for 90% of the deficit) and was the one who starte the phone program you mock (it wasn't cell phones back then, but he started the program nonetheless, W. Bush started the cell phone vesion of it).

Rock Springs, WY

Mountain Man I'm with you. One with common sense, only has to listen to his national prayer speech. But then we are talking about the American people. As one Russian said in 1964 America will be destroyed from within. When asked why he replied they are so gullible. There are only 2 or 3 people I will even consider voting for in 2016. Ben Carson, Rand Paul, and maybe Rubio. If the republicans run a Christie or another mccain clone. I will be one of thoes three million republicans who didn't vote in 2012.

Durham, NC

wYo8 - you could have still voted. It is called a write in, and your vote would have been registered, and you voice heard. But by not voting, nothing what so ever was accomplished - nothing.

Portland, OR

The Democratic bench for 2016 is impressive. It includes, in addition to Hillary Clinton, Gov. Andew Cuomo, Gov. Deval Patrick, former governor and ambassador Gary Locke, former governor and attorney general Christine Gregoire, Gov. Martin O'Malley, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, etc. Never has a party offered a more diverse and competent selection.

Meanwhile, both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are already attracting attention with ludicrous statements as they begin campaigning for 2016. Rand Paul's stridency and lack of support for civil rights doom any effort. Marco Rubio is just a token, and has nominal support from Hispanics, or anyone other than the Republican base. Meanwhile, the Republicans themselves are attacking Chris Christie.

The Democrats won the popular vote in five of the six most recent national elections. They are headed for six out of seven.

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