Type to search

Rick Santorum Is A 2016 Contender

Bloomberg View Memo Pad Politics

Rick Santorum Is A 2016 Contender

Share

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) — Is Rick Santorum a viable presidential candidate?

Santorum has been making audible presidential noises this week, so it’s time to consider the question. In my view, it’s a worthwhile question, and not just for the vanity of predicting what’s going to happen. Both party actors and the media need to decide how to apportion limited resources. Republicans, in particular, have a lot of viable candidates this time; should Santorum be treated as one of them? Is he a plausible nominee?

The two things I look for in candidate viability are conventional credentials and policy positions within the mainstream of the party. Santorum certainly qualifies on policy. He’s more of a foreign-policy hawk than some in the party right now, and we could get a vigorous national security debate among Republicans in this cycle. It’s possible Santorum’s side will lose, but for now I don’t think anyone would say that his positions disqualify him.

No, the question for Santorum is whether he has conventional credentials. He served two full terms in the Senate, which is more than enough to qualify. However, he was defeated for re-election in 2006. The last presidential nominee to have been defeated in his most recent election bid was Richard Nixon, and he was a two-term vice president (and was running before the modern nomination era, at any rate). But it’s not just that; I don’t believe that anyone similar has come anywhere close to winning a presidential nomination in the modern era. To me, that was why Santorum didn’t qualify as a viable candidate in 2012, though I did go back and forth on that a bit.

Ah, but it’s not 2012 any more. By 2016, Santorum will have been out office for a decade. But he isn’t really a Bateson-class candidate because he hasn’t disappeared; he ran for president and won a few primaries and caucuses in 2012. That clearly makes him a stronger candidate in the invisible primary for 2016 than he was at this stage last time around.

In fact, it’s enough to make him a viable candidate. That doesn’t mean he’s on equal footing with everyone else in the field, of course. There’s every chance that his second effort will fizzle quickly. He presumably needs to monopolize Christian conservatives to have a chance to win, and he’ll most likely have plenty of competition for that constituency. Even if he succeeds at that, there’s no guarantee at all that winning social conservatives is the key to winning Republican nominations.

But I’d say we’re not talking about Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann or Newt Gingrich here. I don’t think Santorum is likely to win, but he probably deserves to be treated as if he’s a plausible nominee.

(Jonathan Bernstein covers U.S. politics for Bloomberg View. He is co-editor of The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2012. Follow him on Twitter at @JBPlainblog.)

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Tags:

25 Comments

  1. Buford2k11 February 22, 2014

    “he probably deserves to be treated as if he’s a plausible nominee.” No…nope…never…he needs to be treated like he and his group have been treating the rest of the country…With “CONTEMPT”…He may not win, but his being in the spotlight and having pundits yacking about him IS a win for him….Maybe there will be a gop/bagger bus he can be thrown under later on…

    Reply
  2. howa4x February 22, 2014

    The major problem the GOP has is that each candidate is trying to win the same 28% of the electorate and forgetting about the other 72%. It is like the primary for the GOP has become the general election. This is where the fight of who is really a republican is being fought, and each potential candidate is trying to move further to the right than anybody else to capture the prize of the nomination. This is because the GOP base, which is what Al Qaeda is called, is made up of 14% tea party and 14% evangelicals which is emerging as the dominant part of the new republican party. Of course when they do win the nomination they have taken positions that the majority of voters reject, even moderate republicans. The GOP establishment dilemma is how to get a candidate past this right wing gauntlet where they could move to the center easily. This is why a Santorum who has taken positions that will make him appear as kryptonite to the majority of general election voters can even be considered as a potential GOP winner of primaries. This is why Romney who is really a moderate had to take extreme positions in the primary that caused him to loose in a landslide in the general. If the GOP can’t expand who they are they will be a house party strong in states with limited populations, and will one day soon disappear completely from populated blue states.

    Reply
    1. Sand_Cat February 22, 2014

      You forgot the “-intelligence” following the word “limited” in your last sentence 🙂
      Otherwise, great post.

      Reply
      1. howa4x February 22, 2014

        Thanks

        Reply
  3. Stuart February 22, 2014

    No, no no. The Republican dream ticket for 2016 is Tom Perkins and Ted Nugent.

    Reply
    1. ORAXX February 23, 2014

      That would be one of several good ones. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin would another good ticket.

      Reply
  4. Sand_Cat February 22, 2014

    So Torquemada Santorum is back, eh?
    We should always treat lunatics such as he as “viable candidates,” that is, as deadly threats to religious freedom and sanity in America to be defeated at all cost.

    Reply
  5. elw February 22, 2014

    It would be a great gift from the GOP to the Democratic Party if they do indeed choose Rick or someone else like as their candidate. But none of us should relax and think that winning is a given. The GOP has many tricks up its sleeve.

    Reply
    1. kanawah February 22, 2014

      And all of them are dirty.

      Reply
      1. elw February 22, 2014

        yep

        Reply
    2. DurdyDawg February 23, 2014

      Rick or someone else like as their candidate? Hell that’s all they have.. empty Santorum suits. They all look alike, think alike and smell alike.. GOP has no choice, either Nominate Santorum or one of his legions of clones.

      Reply
      1. elw February 23, 2014

        How true that is.

        Reply
  6. kanawah February 22, 2014

    As my dad would say, ” A bad penny just keeps coming back”. Such is the case with Rick. He just does not know when to say when.

    Reply
  7. Independent1 February 22, 2014

    I know this is off topic but it’s an article all NM posters really should see – it’s a graphic/historical lesson which demonstrates clearly that everything the GOP is about with respect to the economy is wrong – just like everything else it stands for.

    Here are some excerpts from the article: Economic Stagpression

    Ironically as we gave our businesses more and more money with lower taxes, less regulation, tax funded price supports, hand-tied their unions, and made free new technology at our taxpayers expense, despite all these perks and incentives, they invested less. So what are they doing with their money? Pick up any financial publication and read the headlines. They all will let you know.

    Rather than invest in plants and equipment, businesses are primarily using their funds to repurchase their own stocks in order to boost management earnings and ward off hostile take-overs, pay dividends to stockholders, and accumulate large cash and bond holdings. None of which help our economy.

    Raising the tax rates drives re-investment, cuts down on excessive cash. It is the only thing we know so far, that consistently works to drive re-investment. Everyone who insists on cuts and de-regulation, no matter how they spin it, is pursuing a policy that has been completely disproven by reality and fact and of course, recent history..

    Here’s the link to see more on this article which is a great lesson in anti-Reaganomics:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/20/1279063/-Economic-Stagflation-Two-Charts-I-Saw-On-Kos-The-Entire-World-Must-See?detail=email

    Reply
  8. Barbara Morgan February 23, 2014

    National Memo how come an article about Rick Santorum is on the index page under the Title that 5 Conservative Groups target Bohemer?

    Reply
  9. daniel bostdorf February 23, 2014

    Rick Santorum is hardly a serious candidate for President. His positions on all the issues are laughable. And also frightening.

    See his complete views on the issues here:

    http://www.ontheissues.org/senate/rick_santorum.htm

    I wish the author of this “article” would have read them first…

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 23, 2014

      ..

      Reply
      1. daniel bostdorf February 23, 2014

        . . . .

        Reply
        1. daniel bostdorf February 23, 2014

          . . . . .

          Reply
          1. daniel bostdorf February 23, 2014

            .. ..

            Reply
  10. ORAXX February 23, 2014

    Most American politicians pay a certain amount of lip service to religion and a show a certain respect toward religious leaders. I don’t like it but I do understand why they do it. Santorum, however, is a true believer, and makes him dangerously stupid.

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 23, 2014

      exactly…

      Reply
  11. Elliot J. Stamler February 23, 2014

    Rick Santorum will run. He is already running. He will have the wholehearted support of most (not all) of the social conservative/family values/anti-sex fascists who comprise a large part of his party–he is their red meat. That he is poison to all other voters is irrelevant to them because, and this is crucial, THEY ARE FANATICS. They’d rather lose than compromise. They are mentally paranoid and like all paranoiacs they believe there is some kind of secret majority out there who really do support their ideas if only they can come up with the right guy, enough money, and the right p.r. That they simply are wrong-that they do NOT have a majority, is not comprehensible to them..again because they are FANATICS. You do not and can not reason with fanatics-you can only defeat and then destroy them,

    Reply
  12. Benjamin Livengood February 23, 2014

    Santorum/Cruz 2016!

    Reply
  13. John Sultzbaugh February 24, 2014

    Rick Santorum is a foreign invader (from Northwestern Virginia), where it seem that many people vote according to the color of their necks! In any case we informed him in 2006 of how much support he enjoys among genuine Pennsylvanians but as a progressive Democrat, I would welcome his nomination as the Republican candidate for president in 2016. I is high time that either he or I become aware of just how many people accept his particular “philosophy.” It enjoyed its greatest influence in the latter 16th-century and is still known, 500 years later, as the Spanish Inquisition!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.