Election 2016: Too Soon?

Believe it or not, NPR's political junkie Ken Rudin tells Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that the 2016 Presidential race has already begun.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

Well, from the future of the court to the future of the White House. NPR's political junkie Ken Rudin is here to talk about - oh, dear - the next presidential race, 2016.

KEN RUDIN, BYLINE: Well, look. I know we're going to get a lot of complaints from loyal NPR listeners saying, look, we haven't recovered from 2012 yet. Why talk about 2016? But we will have an open presidency in 2016. And the point is Marco Rubio, senator from Florida, is going to actually be in Iowa on November 17th at a birthday party for Governor Terry Branstad. So I tell you, Guy Raz, election 2016 is starting now.

RAZ: You are telling me that Marco Rubio is now thinking about this?

RUDIN: They were all - everybody's thinking about it. As a matter of fact, if Marco Rubio isn't thinking about it, there are people on Marco Rubio's behalf who have been thinking about it since election night when they saw the number of Latino voters that Mitt Romney did not get.

RAZ: OK. Let's talk about the Republicans then first. Marco Rubio you've mentioned. Who else might be a potential nominee?

RUDIN: Well, you have to start off with Paul Ryan only because he ran national. He was the vice presidential nominee. He has a national following now. The problem with Paul Ryan is whether his advocacy of a change in the way Medicare is run...

RAZ: Is going to hurt him. Yeah.

RUDIN: It could hurt him in states like Florida. And we also saw how poorly Romney did in Florida, a state that a lot of people thought the Republicans would win.

RAZ: OK. So Paul Ryan is a possibility.

RUDIN: Possibility.

RAZ: Who else?

RUDIN: Well, there's Chris Christie too. Now, of course, Chris Christie, well, he is not a true conservative in the sense that like Paul Ryan or Rand Paul or somebody like that is. He has a shot of winning of a very blue state. His embrace of President Obama during Hurricane Sandy - even though a lot of Republicans said this really ultimately hurt Mitt Romney - the point is, if Republicans want to show they have an ability to reach across party lines, look, Chris Christie showed that by hugging President Obama. But, of course, first, he has to win re-election next year, and that could be tough.

RAZ: OK. What about Jeb Bush?

RUDIN: Bush is still the four-letter word that in many Republican circles, we've had enough of the Bush dynasty. But the point is, Jeb Bush, from the beginning, has been talking about you ignore the growing Latino voting power and strength at your peril. That hurts the Republican Party, and Jeb Bush has been very aware of that.

RAZ: OK. Let's talk about the Democrats, and I've got two words for you.

(LAUGHTER)

RAZ: Or maybe you have two words for me.

RUDIN: Careful.

RAZ: What are those?

RUDIN: Well, the two words would be Hillary Clinton. Now, of course, there's no indication that she wants it, but she will leave the Obama administration after this first term. She may leave by the end of the year. And she has some time to decide what she wants to do. One would think that if she wants the nomination, it's hers for the asking, although we thought that four years ago. But she also has Bill Clinton in her corner. And that's not something to be dismissed.

RAZ: What about other Democrats? People talk about Martin O'Malley, the governor of Maryland.

RUDIN: Don't even go that far yet. Let's talk about Joe Biden. He's the sitting incumbent vice president. You usually have a leg up on the nomination. But Joe Biden, of course, will be 73 years old, and there's a lot of young folks in the Democratic Party like Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York.

RAZ: Andrew Cuomo. Yes.

RUDIN: Like Martin O'Malley, the governor of Maryland. Like Mark Warner, the senator from Virginia. So look. Hillary Clinton may have the leg up in 2016. If it's not Hillary Clinton, I would suspect it's a wide open field.

RAZ: So pretty good bench for both parties for 2016.

RUDIN: There is, absolutely. And you could ask the question, after two terms of a Democratic president, is the nation ready to switch and go to the Republican Party? But not if they keep losing female voters, not if they lose Latino voters.

RAZ: And other minorities.

RUDIN: And other minorities and young voters. A lot of young voters did not go for the Republican ticket once again. So the Republicans certainly know where they went wrong in 2012. The Democrats certainly know the opportunities they have in 2016. And we'll see what happens from then.

RAZ: That's NPR's political junkie Ken Rudin. Ken, we will talk to you in 2016.

RUDIN: No. I'll talk to you before then.

RAZ: OK. Thanks.

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