July 2015: Government Affairs

Words: Dan Kamys

Presidential Politics Already Heating Up

Matt KeelenMatt Keelen

It seems like just yesterday our country was getting ready for the second term of President Barack Obama. But, with the approaching summer heat, we also find the 2016 Presidential Races starting to heat up as well. In my opinion, this race is shaping up to be one of the most interesting races in our lifetime, and I wanted to provide you with some insights before the primary debates begin in a couple of months. While most political observers and pundits have already declared former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democrat nominee, I am not sold that her current strategy of seclusion and press dodging – in the hope that controversies surrounding her term as Secretary of State will go away – will ultimately prove successful. The questions surrounding her leadership at the Department of State are numerous, and I do not believe it is a foregone conclusion that she makes it through the nominating process as the Democrat choice. Eventually, I believe we will see the other Democrat potentials, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders, begin to hammer Mrs. Clinton on Benghazi and her use of a personal email account while serving as Secretary of State. In my opinion, this will highlight an already-believed aura of secrecy that will further erode Mrs. Clinton’s polling numbers as it relates to the American citizens’ trust level in her. As shown above, the bench of potential Democrat nominees for President is rather short, and should these negative stories continue to surround Mrs. Clinton, we could see a dark horse candidate that no one is talking about come out of nowhere and make a strong run for the nomination. Potential candidates to keep an eye on include: Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. As in this race and in the partnering Republican race, don’t be surprised if a “D.C. outsider,” such as a governor or business executive, gains major traction with the electorate. While the bench on the Democrat side of the nominating process appears to be quite short, we are seeing the Republican field burst at the seams – so much so that the debate hosts are limiting debates to the top 10 candidates based on polling averages, or holding two separate debates to accommodate every candidate who is currently exploring the nomination. We are seeing current governors, past governors, current Senators, businessmen and women, and a former, very popular neurosurgeon all starting to officially declare their candidacy for President. I believe we will see a lively race that will truly test the heavyweight front runners for the Republican nomination. At the end of the day, the candidate who is able to stay on message in the midst of numerous distractions from second-tier candidates; rally his or her base while unifying Republican and independent voters across the spectrum; and establish and sustain a funding machine, which will be needed in such a crowded race, will rise to the top. After the first couple of Republican debates conclude in early-August, the field should begin to thin out, and the top candidates will begin to separate themselves. Be on the lookout for Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sen. Rand Paul to see favorable numbers as debate season kicks off, with outsiders such as Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina sure to make a splash during the debates. It should be a hot summer, both on your jobsites and in the political arena. Be sure to stay tuned and stay involved in the process of choosing our next President.
Matt Keelen is president of The Keelen Group, www.keelengroup.com. He can be reached at mkeelen@keelengroup.com.
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