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I played the 2016 scenario posted on the TheorySpark website today, and while it was fun (I played as Hillary Clinton, dominated the primary, and held Mike Huckabee to a mere 29 EV's), I thought there were some odd things about that scenario. First of all, the Democratic field, Clinton, Biden, Bayh, Pelosi, Emanuel, Pryor, Warner, and Brown, is just plain lacking. Biden, Pelosi, and Brown will all be ancient in 2016 (and none of them is running!), and all of the others are kind of centrists. Moreover, I don't see Rahm Emanuel, Mark Pryor, or Evan Bayh having anything near the stature necessary to run for President. As for the Republicans, I think the field is good, though I wonder why Chris Christie is winning Louisiana and Bobby Jindal is winning New Jersey... I also don't think Michelle Bachmann is anything like a viable candidate, though I'm open to the idea that she might run anyway, and lose badly. And, well, I like making my own versions of things, so here goes.

First of all, I made a projection of who I think the Big Three officeholders in each state are likely to be by Election Season 2016. All offices remain the same as they are currently, except for the following changes:

New Governors:

AZ - Janet Napolitano (D); AR - Bill Halter (D); CA - Kamala Harris; FL - Alex Sink (D); ID - Brad Little ®; IN - Mike Pence ®; ME - Mike Michaud (D); MD - Anthony Brown (D); MA - Tim Murray (D); MS - Phil Bryant ®; MO - Peter Kindler ®; MT - Rick Hill ®; NE - Rick Sheehy ®; NJ - Cory Booker (D); NC - Pat McCrory ®

New Senators:

AZ - Gabrielle Giffords (D) replaces Jon Kyl ®; CT - Joe Courtney (D) replaces Joe Lieberman (ID); LA - Charles Boustany ® replaces Mary Landrieu (D); ME - Chellie Pingree (D) replaces Susan Collins ®, Olympia Snowe becomes an Independent caucusing with the Democrats; MA - Joseph P. Kennedy II (D) replaces Scott Brown ®; MO - Jim Talent ® replaces Claire McCaskill (D); NE - Jon Bruning ® replaces Ben Nelson (D); NV - Dean Heller ® replaces John Ensign ®; NJ - Rush Holt replaces Frank Lautenberg (D); NC - Patrick McHenry ® replaces Kay Hagan (D); SD - Kristi Noem ® replaces Tim Johnson (D); TX - Bill White (D) replaces Kay Hutchison ®; UT - Jason Chaffetz ® replaces Orrin Hatch ®; WI - Paul Ryan ® replaces Herb Kohl (D).

A few notes on these changes: Some of the replacement Governors are a little filler-ish, because it's tough to project gubernatorial candidates four years out. I think some Republican governors, like Paul LePage and Rick Scott, are over-reaches made possible only by the 2010 Tea Party enthusiasm. If someone wants to argue that Jan Brewer is likely to win re-election in 2014, I'm willing to listen. As for New Jersey... Booker '13! For the Senators, I'm stipulating Tea Party challenges against Orrin Hatch, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown, with Snowe winning as an independent. Lugar beats his Tea Party challenger. Bill White beats a Tea Party type in Texas. Herb Kohl retires, Russ Feingold doesn't run, and Paul Ryan wins. As for New Jersey... Holt's my Congressman, I like him, and he wants to be a Senator. Oh, and yeah, I have Gabby Giffords recovering in time to beat Jon Kyl in 2012. I'll start being pessimistic about this when she starts not doing spectacularly well in her recovery.

Also, my assumption about the 2012 Presidential election is that Barack Obama/Joe Biden defeats Mike Huckabee/Tim Pawlenty, 314 to 224. Other Republican primary contenders were Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Barbour, Thune, Santorum, Daniels, and Gary Johnson. The Senate goes to 52-48 after 2012 (counting Sanders and Snowe as Democrats, and Murkowski as a Republican), and then to 50-50 after 2014. The House flips back to the Democrats in 2012, but then to the Republicans in 2014, at which point Pelosi retires from leadership. Inouye is still President Pro Tempore, Reid is still Majority Leader, and McConnell is still Minority Leader in the Senate in 2016; Boehner is Speaker again, Diana DeGette is Minority Leader, and Eric Cantor is still Majority Leader.

During the 112th Congress, not a whole lot "got done." The debt ceiling crisis didn't come to fruition, health care reform didn't get repealed, etc. Lots and lots of investigations into Obama, and some impeachment charges filed, but none even seeing a vote in committee. A reasonably modest education reform bill, along the centrist/consensus lines we see emerging, does manage to pass, along with, perhaps, a little bit of very modest gun control. The Merkley/Udall/Harkin filibuster reform package gets passed through majority vote, and the practice of routine filibustering begins to recede. As the economy picks up a bit of steam, President Obama decides he can threaten to veto the Bush tax cuts, and the Republicans give in, passing a series of tax reforms that simplify the code while simultaneously making it as progressive as the Clinton-era rates. Accordingly, in the 113th Congress, with Democrats in control of everything again, they actually get to pass things even with only a very narrow majority, and they succeed in passing a climate change bill and an immigration reform bill (the latter due to the ever-increasing power of the Hispanic community). Nothing much passes during the 114th Congress, with Boehner back in control and the country doing substantially better by then than it is doing now. Also, Obama keeps his pledge to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan this summer, and finish by the end of 2014.

Now, my prospective candidates. I'm keeping in mind that the average non-incumbent President is elected at age 55, with a standard deviation of 6 years, but since the advent of full Presidential primaries the average is still 55 but the standard deviation is more like 9 years. So I'm looking to people who will be in their 50s in 2016, but also those in their forties (no one on my list is younger than about 44 at that time) or into their early 60s. Plus Hillary, as an off-by-default. Here's my thinking currently:

Democrats:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (off)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Virginia Senator Mark Warner

New Jersey Governor Cory Booker

California Governor Kamala Harris

Arizona Senator Gabrielle Giffords

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (off?)

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse? (mainly for the name...)

Republicans:

Former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Wisconsin Senator Paul Ryan

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley?

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez?

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte?

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman?

To be honest, I want more Democrats, and in particular I want more Democratic women. Having Giffords as a Presidential contender is maybe a stretch; if people think it appropriate, I could replace her with Janet Napolitano and leave Giffords as a VP contender. I'm not sure if having all three of my Republican women in the game is a good thing, Haley/Martinez/Ayotte, and if I have to pick one it'll probably be Haley. In any event, I think the Republican primary is fairly wide open, with probably Pence/Haley/Martinez/Ayotte/Huntsman in a second tier and the rest in the first tier. Rubio would play to the Hispanic states, McDonnell to the mainstream Southern states, Pawlenty I think the blue states, really, and he might be the nominal frontrunner as the previous VP nominee, Ryan the midwest, Thune the plain states, and Jindal the somewhat non-white states, I think. For the Democrats, Hillary would be the major frontrunner if she's running. Possibly to the tune of leading in every state, or something; definitely with her up in the mid-40s at least and everyone else stuck in the teens at best. If she's not running, then Cuomo the general front-runner, strongest in traditional Democratic big states against Warner in the South as the main contest. Booker, Harris, Giffords I imagine all being a slightly lower tier, I think.

Anyway, if anyone has some ideas about fleshing out the Democratic field, I'd love to hear them.

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Some fresh ideas for Democrats (most aren't that realistic, but all the same,...):

-Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia

-Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, female and from a semi-swing state

-Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington, female

-Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina, female, young and charismatic

-Governor John Hickenlooper from Colorado

Crazy ideas:

-Olympia Snowe after a party switch in 2012

-Terry MacAuliffe (???)

I don't think many people who have their own seat up in 2016 will be likely (in as much as we can know a thing like that) to risk running for the Democratic nomination as it seems more likely to be a republican pick-upn than not.

Then again, at this point in 2002 Obama was an unknown state legislator.

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- Manchin will be 69. Now, that's not totally out of consideration, but it is specifically the Reagan age, which none have come close to before or since.

- Stabenow will be 66, not far from that same mark, and I don't feel like she has much national presence.

- Cantwell would be 58, which is good, but again, I don't feel her as having a national presence, I think.

- Hagan would be 57, but I have her losing re-election in 2014. Her latest home-state approval rating was -7. Now, maybe that's not bad for a Democrat in North Carolina right now, and she's likely to improve as the climate for Democrats improves, but I'm somewhat skeptical.

- Hickenlooper (58) I actually like.

- Snowe will be 63, not out of the question, but I don't think there would be much point in her running, would there? Now, what I could theoretically do would be include some sort of centrist "unity" party, with people like Snowe, Lincoln Chafee, Lisa Murkowski, and maybe also Bloomberg as an "off"? Actually, no, Bloomberg would be 74, which is older than Reagan in 1984. Are there any other centrist independents with more stature than Snowe/Chafee/Murkowski? Maybe Scott Brown, I'm postulating a Tea Party challenge to him, but I just can't take him seriously... Unfortunately, none of these independent centrists are ever from non-small states.

- McAuliffe would be 59, a perfectly fine age. But his last political effort was a total flop, and if Warner's running, which I think is much more realistic and would be much more viable, I'm not sure there's much room for two Virginians.

Not that they're not good suggestions. I'm looking at the list, really trying to find another prominent Democratic woman, and just having trouble.

Now, one is always interested in the gadfly Kucinich/Ron Paul/Mike Gravel type of candidate, especially in the Democratic Party now where being absurdly radical isn't considered a virtue. Kucinich himself will be 70, though that's not as much of a handicap for a wholly non-viable guy like himself as it would be for a contender. Bernie Sanders would be 69.

Oh! I forgot the obvious person! Russ Feingold! (63) I don't have him being a candidate for Kohl's Senate seat in two years, but he's an obvious Presidential contender for 2016. Maybe I'll stipulate that Feingold beats Scott Walker for Governor of Wisconsin in 2014...

Also, now that I think about it, Gillibrand in addition to Cuomo isn't as crazy as it seems (two New Yorkers), because Gillibrand is upstate and Cuomo is the city, so they'd have very different constituencies. And Gillibrand, I think, does have a considerable amount of national presence.

Also, a further bit of analysis about ages of newly-elected Presidents. Newly-elected Democrats average 51 years old; newly-elected Republicans 56; newly-elected Federalists 59; newly-elected Democratic-Republicans 57; newly-elected Whigs 65.5. Moreover, newly-elected post-Civil War Democrats average just 49, while post-Depression Republicans average 61. So the fact that I find my Democrats all sort of on the young side, except Warner, Cuomo, and Clinton, is perfectly fine. Also, I think the Republican Party has broken from its past in a way that's going to have it nominating relative youngsters for a little while yet.

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Oh, also: do people think Chris Christie is in the race for 2012? If so, I assume he loses, but at the same time probably the kind of Huckabee-style loss that leaves your status increased anyway, 'cause you weren't expected to win. Should I have him in the 2016 scenario, then? Two governors of New Jersey?

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Let me see.......rising stars include:

Rafael Anchia - 48 - Democrat - Possible Candidate for Texas Governor in 2014. Member of the Texan House of Rep.

Cory Booker - 47 - Democrat - Current Mayor of Newark. Possible Candidate for New Jersey Governor 2013.

George Prescott Bush - 38 - Republican - Promising Political Figure in Texas. Not likely a candidate, however.

Eric Cantor - 53 - Republican - May be content with Congressional Leadership Position, but could be a major candidate.

Keith Ellison - 53 - Democrat - Since 2007 a Representative from Minnesota. An African American Muslim. May make the Primaries interesting.

Harold Ford Jr. - 46 - Democrat - A long time Representative of Tennessee. Promising Political IF he can get back into Washington.

Gabrielle Giffords - 46 - Democrat - In Government Since 2001, in Washington since 2007. Could become a strong political force if recovery goes well.

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin - 46 - Democrat - A Representative for South Dakota from 2004 to 2011. Could come back, possibly claim a Senate seat.

Pete Olson - 54 - A Representative from Texas since 2009. Could run for Hutchinson's seat in 2012.

Paul Ryan - 46 - Representative from Wisconsin since 1999. Political Future quite bright.

Heath Shuler - 45 - Representative from North Carolina since 2007. Could replace Pelosi as leader (if) when she leaves.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz - 50 - Representative from 2005. Before that a Congresswoman in Florida since 1993. Political Future in the Air.

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Oh, also: do people think Chris Christie is in the race for 2012? If so, I assume he loses, but at the same time probably the kind of Huckabee-style loss that leaves your status increased anyway, 'cause you weren't expected to win. Should I have him in the 2016 scenario, then? Two governors of New Jersey?

Christie does have the "it" factor, but he'd likely be viewed as too lacking in integrity. Of course, that didn't stop Bill Clinton...

And Shuler will never lead the party, he couldn't even pass Ferrotte on the Redskins Depth Chart, let alone all the up and comers in the house.

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Let me see.......rising stars include:

Rafael Anchia - 48 - Democrat - Possible Candidate for Texas Governor in 2014. Member of the Texan House of Rep.

Cory Booker - 47 - Democrat - Current Mayor of Newark. Possible Candidate for New Jersey Governor 2013.

George Prescott Bush - 38 - Republican - Promising Political Figure in Texas. Not likely a candidate, however.

Eric Cantor - 53 - Republican - May be content with Congressional Leadership Position, but could be a major candidate.

Keith Ellison - 53 - Democrat - Since 2007 a Representative from Minnesota. An African American Muslim. May make the Primaries interesting.

Harold Ford Jr. - 46 - Democrat - A long time Representative of Tennessee. Promising Political IF he can get back into Washington.

Gabrielle Giffords - 46 - Democrat - In Government Since 2001, in Washington since 2007. Could become a strong political force if recovery goes well.

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin - 46 - Democrat - A Representative for South Dakota from 2004 to 2011. Could come back, possibly claim a Senate seat.

Pete Olson - 54 - A Representative from Texas since 2009. Could run for Hutchinson's seat in 2012.

Paul Ryan - 46 - Representative from Wisconsin since 1999. Political Future quite bright.

Heath Shuler - 45 - Representative from North Carolina since 2007. Could replace Pelosi as leader (if) when she leaves.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz - 50 - Representative from 2005. Before that a Congresswoman in Florida since 1993. Political Future in the Air.

I actually believe the 2016 Dem or Rep nominee has a 50 % chance of being included in that list there, but the problem is that 4 or 5 of the other people in there will look totally bizarre when someone reads that list in 2016 or so. I think that these kinds of scenarios should be made with some moderate conservativism at the back of one's mind.

Of the people included, I think Herseth-Sandlin has the most potential though. Also it'd be nice to see some scenarios with people that are not among the usual suspects. I for example don't think you should include Biden or Clinton. 'Well, have Clinton as an Off-candidate)

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Biden is not going to be in the scenario; Hillary will be there, off by default, but the overwhelming frontrunner if she's running, which is how I think the lay of the land will actually be. Chris Christie *says* he isn't running in 2012, but I don't really believe him. Also, I have Cory Booker taking him out in 2013, which I feel like could complicate his "rising-star" status. I think I want him in my 2012 scenario, but I'm uncertain whether it's realistic that after losing that contest and losing the NJ Governorship he'd still be viable. The Udalls are surprisingly non-young, being currently 62 (Tom) and 60 (Mark). As for this list of potential "rising stars":

Anchia: I like this, actually. I hadn't heard this guy's name, but I think having Texas start moving toward its Hispanic future is going to be a part of my scenario. I meant to have Bill White, having won the Hutchison seat, as the Texas guy, but I'll look into Anchia and consider him instead. Rick Perry can't last forever.

Booker: Absolutely. He's in the scenario, and I've got him beating Christie in '13 (which he'd better do!), though I don't think I'll have him as a top-tier candidate. He's so young, he'll be the perfect age to become President in 2024, even if President Cuomo serves two terms.

George Prescott Bush: Uhhh..... I have serious doubts about the ability of anyone by that name to run for office. In any event, he's never held any political office as of today, and I don't think anyone's gone from "nothing" to "Presidential candidate" that quickly.

Eric Cantor: I may be being a little unfair in thinking that the Jewish Republican thing isn't going to happen any time soon at the Presidential level, but I also think he's probably happy as a House Leader. Also, he'd need to become a Senator to be viable, since only James Garfield has gone directly House to President.

Keith Ellison: An African-American Muslim. Honestly, 'nuff said. It'll be a long time before a Muslim is a viable Presidential candidate.

Harold Ford, Jr.: An intriguing possibility. He's moved to New York, and I don't see him having any openings in New York. If he moved back to Tennessee, Corker's up again in the 2012 cycle, and Ford could seek a rematch (though there's no indication he's interested). I doubt he'd win, though: Tennessee hasn't been getting better for Democrats, and I don't honestly think Obama's going to have very long coattails there.

Gabrielle Giffords: Already in my scenario, having beaten Jon Kyl in 2012.

Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin: Problem is, John Thune (who ran unopposed in 2010) isn't up again until 2016, and the other SD seat is held by Tim Johnson. Now, if people think it's realistic for Johnson to step down in 2014, I can see that she could run and win. I had penciled in having Kristi Noem win that seat, though. She's a reputed rising star as well, and I bet she'd beat Herseth-Sandlin.

Pete Olson: I have Bill White winning Hutchison's seat, and also I think the current Lieutenant Governor is running for that seat and would block Olson.

Paul Ryan: Agreed, and he's in the game.

Heath Shuler: Uhmmm, no. He is so massively un-serious. First of all, he is *not* becoming House Leader, being way too conservative for the median Democrat. Second, the Garfield rule: Congresspeople don't become President. Unless he wants to challenge Kay Hagan in 2014 in a primary, he's not up for a promotion any time soon.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: Hard to see how she becomes anything other than a Congresswoman between now and 2016, isn't it? Rubio just got elected, and Bill Nelson's running for re-election. She could run for Governor of Florida, which might be interesting... Actually, I might replace Alex Sink with Wasserman-Schultz as the Democrat who takes down Rick Scott. I think I like this idea.

So now I have:

Democrats:

Hillary Clinton (off)

Andrew Cuomo

Mark Warner

Russ Feingold

John Hickenlooper

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

Gabrielle Giffords

Kirsten Gillibrand

Rafael Anchia

Cory Booker

Kamala Harris

Republicans:

Tim Pawlenty

Bobby Jindal

Marco Rubio

Bob McDonnell

Chris Christie?

John Thune

Paul Ryan

Mike Pence

Nikki Haley

Jon Huntsman

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I'll definitely consider it.

Also, I hear Huckabee is thinking of not running in '12 (which would be *such* a gift to the Democrats). Does anyone think I should put him in as a potential candidate for '16? He'd be 59, but it's not necessarily clear why he'd run in '16 if he doesn't run in '12. And if I want to assume Huckabee passes on '12, who should I have winning the '12 Republican nomination? Gingrich? I sort of feel like he's been fading, but then again, if Huckabee is out Gingrich ought to consolidate Southern support, and Romney I feel will almost inevitable fade, and if it turns into a Gingrich vs. Palin contest I see Gingrich winning. Maybe I'll make that change, and have Huckabee as an off-by-default top-tier candidate for '16.

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  • 2 months later...

Hey,

I was the creator of the 2016 scenario...I will try to add some of the suggestions you made...

Here are my definite inclusions...

GOP:

Chris Christie

John Huntsman

Nikki Haley

Tim Pawlenty (off)

Jeb Bush

John Thune

DEMS:

Andruw Cuomo

Kirsten Gillibrand (probable)

Possibilities:

Chelsea Clinton

Russ Feingold

Howard Dean

Sarah Palin (she will probably be less vulnerable in 2016 if she decides to pass on 2012 run)

Gabrielle Giffords (unless she really shows signs of running for the US Senate in 2012, I don't think I'm going to include her)

Mike Pence (He seems more focused on running Indiana)

Sherrod Brown: I'm sure about this guy...he will be old...however, he is very popular in Ohio

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Hey Mahaadoxyz,

I constructed the 2016 scenario. I like the feedback...

The Democratic candidates were ones who have been speculated upon ( Biden, Clinton, Pryor) and also those who have major political ambition (Pelosi, Emanuel, Warner, Brown.

Why is Christie leading in Louisiana and Jindal in New Jersey? Christie is becoming more and more unpopular in the Garden State, ditto with Jindal and the Bayou State. Considering both are very similar, that was why.

I will considering the suggestions you made and will be releasing... PRESIDENTS 2016: Updated...in a couple days...


I played the 2016 scenario posted on the TheorySpark website today, and while it was fun (I played as Hillary Clinton, dominated the primary, and held Mike Huckabee to a mere 29 EV's), I thought there were some odd things about that scenario. First of all, the Democratic field, Clinton, Biden, Bayh, Pelosi, Emanuel, Pryor, Warner, and Brown, is just plain lacking. Biden, Pelosi, and Brown will all be ancient in 2016 (and none of them is running!), and all of the others are kind of centrists. Moreover, I don't see Rahm Emanuel, Mark Pryor, or Evan Bayh having anything near the stature necessary to run for President. As for the Republicans, I think the field is good, though I wonder why Chris Christie is winning Louisiana and Bobby Jindal is winning New Jersey... I also don't think Michelle Bachmann is anything like a viable candidate, though I'm open to the idea that she might run anyway, and lose badly. And, well, I like making my own versions of things, so here goes.

First of all, I made a projection of who I think the Big Three officeholders in each state are likely to be by Election Season 2016. All offices remain the same as they are currently, except for the following changes:

New Governors:

AZ - Janet Napolitano (D); AR - Bill Halter (D); CA - Kamala Harris; FL - Alex Sink (D); ID - Brad Little ®; IN - Mike Pence ®; ME - Mike Michaud (D); MD - Anthony Brown (D); MA - Tim Murray (D); MS - Phil Bryant ®; MO - Peter Kindler ®; MT - Rick Hill ®; NE - Rick Sheehy ®; NJ - Cory Booker (D); NC - Pat McCrory ®

New Senators:

AZ - Gabrielle Giffords (D) replaces Jon Kyl ®; CT - Joe Courtney (D) replaces Joe Lieberman (ID); LA - Charles Boustany ® replaces Mary Landrieu (D); ME - Chellie Pingree (D) replaces Susan Collins ®, Olympia Snowe becomes an Independent caucusing with the Democrats; MA - Joseph P. Kennedy II (D) replaces Scott Brown ®; MO - Jim Talent ® replaces Claire McCaskill (D); NE - Jon Bruning ® replaces Ben Nelson (D); NV - Dean Heller ® replaces John Ensign ®; NJ - Rush Holt replaces Frank Lautenberg (D); NC - Patrick McHenry ® replaces Kay Hagan (D); SD - Kristi Noem ® replaces Tim Johnson (D); TX - Bill White (D) replaces Kay Hutchison ®; UT - Jason Chaffetz ® replaces Orrin Hatch ®; WI - Paul Ryan ® replaces Herb Kohl (D).

A few notes on these changes: Some of the replacement Governors are a little filler-ish, because it's tough to project gubernatorial candidates four years out. I think some Republican governors, like Paul LePage and Rick Scott, are over-reaches made possible only by the 2010 Tea Party enthusiasm. If someone wants to argue that Jan Brewer is likely to win re-election in 2014, I'm willing to listen. As for New Jersey... Booker '13! For the Senators, I'm stipulating Tea Party challenges against Orrin Hatch, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown, with Snowe winning as an independent. Lugar beats his Tea Party challenger. Bill White beats a Tea Party type in Texas. Herb Kohl retires, Russ Feingold doesn't run, and Paul Ryan wins. As for New Jersey... Holt's my Congressman, I like him, and he wants to be a Senator. Oh, and yeah, I have Gabby Giffords recovering in time to beat Jon Kyl in 2012. I'll start being pessimistic about this when she starts not doing spectacularly well in her recovery.

Also, my assumption about the 2012 Presidential election is that Barack Obama/Joe Biden defeats Mike Huckabee/Tim Pawlenty, 314 to 224. Other Republican primary contenders were Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Barbour, Thune, Santorum, Daniels, and Gary Johnson. The Senate goes to 52-48 after 2012 (counting Sanders and Snowe as Democrats, and Murkowski as a Republican), and then to 50-50 after 2014. The House flips back to the Democrats in 2012, but then to the Republicans in 2014, at which point Pelosi retires from leadership. Inouye is still President Pro Tempore, Reid is still Majority Leader, and McConnell is still Minority Leader in the Senate in 2016; Boehner is Speaker again, Diana DeGette is Minority Leader, and Eric Cantor is still Majority Leader.

During the 112th Congress, not a whole lot "got done." The debt ceiling crisis didn't come to fruition, health care reform didn't get repealed, etc. Lots and lots of investigations into Obama, and some impeachment charges filed, but none even seeing a vote in committee. A reasonably modest education reform bill, along the centrist/consensus lines we see emerging, does manage to pass, along with, perhaps, a little bit of very modest gun control. The Merkley/Udall/Harkin filibuster reform package gets passed through majority vote, and the practice of routine filibustering begins to recede. As the economy picks up a bit of steam, President Obama decides he can threaten to veto the Bush tax cuts, and the Republicans give in, passing a series of tax reforms that simplify the code while simultaneously making it as progressive as the Clinton-era rates. Accordingly, in the 113th Congress, with Democrats in control of everything again, they actually get to pass things even with only a very narrow majority, and they succeed in passing a climate change bill and an immigration reform bill (the latter due to the ever-increasing power of the Hispanic community). Nothing much passes during the 114th Congress, with Boehner back in control and the country doing substantially better by then than it is doing now. Also, Obama keeps his pledge to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan this summer, and finish by the end of 2014.

Now, my prospective candidates. I'm keeping in mind that the average non-incumbent President is elected at age 55, with a standard deviation of 6 years, but since the advent of full Presidential primaries the average is still 55 but the standard deviation is more like 9 years. So I'm looking to people who will be in their 50s in 2016, but also those in their forties (no one on my list is younger than about 44 at that time) or into their early 60s. Plus Hillary, as an off-by-default. Here's my thinking currently:

Democrats:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (off)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Virginia Senator Mark Warner

New Jersey Governor Cory Booker

California Governor Kamala Harris

Arizona Senator Gabrielle Giffords

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (off?)

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse? (mainly for the name...)

Republicans:

Former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Wisconsin Senator Paul Ryan

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley?

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez?

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte?

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman?

To be honest, I want more Democrats, and in particular I want more Democratic women. Having Giffords as a Presidential contender is maybe a stretch; if people think it appropriate, I could replace her with Janet Napolitano and leave Giffords as a VP contender. I'm not sure if having all three of my Republican women in the game is a good thing, Haley/Martinez/Ayotte, and if I have to pick one it'll probably be Haley. In any event, I think the Republican primary is fairly wide open, with probably Pence/Haley/Martinez/Ayotte/Huntsman in a second tier and the rest in the first tier. Rubio would play to the Hispanic states, McDonnell to the mainstream Southern states, Pawlenty I think the blue states, really, and he might be the nominal frontrunner as the previous VP nominee, Ryan the midwest, Thune the plain states, and Jindal the somewhat non-white states, I think. For the Democrats, Hillary would be the major frontrunner if she's running. Possibly to the tune of leading in every state, or something; definitely with her up in the mid-40s at least and everyone else stuck in the teens at best. If she's not running, then Cuomo the general front-runner, strongest in traditional Democratic big states against Warner in the South as the main contest. Booker, Harris, Giffords I imagine all being a slightly lower tier, I think.

Anyway, if anyone has some ideas about fleshing out the Democratic field, I'd love to hear them.

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