Everyone's Running (Jindal and Huckabee Edition)
Two more precincts are heard from: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal visits Washington talking Obamacare while "thinking" and "praying" about running for president, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is contacting donors and making sure the press knows he's considering another run.
In other words, whatever they wind up doing in 2016, as of now they're both running.
On the Huck: A while back, I looked at the evidence on candidates who skip a cycle and then re-emerge; the results weren't encouraging, though I don't think he should be ruled out as a viable nominee.
As for Jindal, I'm struggling to say anything. He's clearly a viable nominee; he certainly has conventional qualifications for the office, and doesn't appear to have any issue positions that would invite a veto from important groups of party actors. On the other hand, he seems less likely to excite Tea Partyers than, say, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Not to mention Senator Ted Cruz, though I continue to believe that he has little chance at the nomination. And Jindal is less likely to appeal to those looking for a safe November candidate than Ohio Governor John Kasich or Senator Rob Portman. Nor is it clear whether Jindal would enter the contest with a solid resource base such as Huckabee, Texas Governor Rick Perry or Senator Rand Paul would have. Still, anyone could have a good debate night or give a speech that gets good buzz. If Jindal does catch fire, such a wide-open field means it would be possible for him to reach the finals. And if he gets that far, his generic appeal that makes it hard to see him surging also means few party actors might be alarmed by him.
It feels like we're overdue for some of this deep and solid field to start dropping out. But last time. Senator John Thune didn't quit until February 2011, and Haley Barbour "explored" until April 2011. So we could still have several more months in which the field expands (or at least in which more candidates do overt things that candidates do) before it shrinks.
It will shrink, right? We aren't going to have 10 or so viable candidates, plus Paul and Cruz, plus a few "Look at Me!" contenders, at the first Republican debate, are we? One would think that there aren't enough resources to go around and that the real candidates will start responding to that before too long. The next six months or so will test that assumption.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.
To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at email@example.com
To contact the editor on this story:
Max Berley at firstname.lastname@example.org