A lot of the stuff that we’re worrying about now we don’t have to, and frankly it won’t matter anyway if we do worry about those things or not. But there are some things that do need to be addressed.
- If you are really concerned that the Republican nomination in 2016 will go to a moderate, then you need to make sure that Ken Cuccinelli wins the Virginia gubernatorial election. Jim Geraghty explains why: the executive summary is that the establishment will conclude that if Terry McAuliffe can actually beat Ken, then they’ll assume that no, a conservative can’t win in 2016. That’s a hard obstacle to overcome, given that…
- The question is not whether Chris Christie will win the New Jersey gubernatorial election; it is how many Republican candidates he brings along with him. Right now the lack of a viable Democratic gubernatorial candidate (particularly in terms of fund raising) is causing a bit of quiet panic among New Jersey Democrats; downticket races are at risk. If Christie’s win is matched by Republican gains in the legislature, he will be given the credit for that; if the Republicans flip one or both houses of the New Jersey legislature then Christie will suddenly start looming over the 2016 field. And that’s because of…
- Winning isn’t everything, but losing isn’t anything. The first question that the party will be asking about any candidate for 2016 will be What has he or she won lately? This is natural for a political party that has lost two Presidential elections in a row; it’s not always the smart thing to ask*, but it will be the thing asked next go-round. And the question that should be asked?
- How does the GOP want to win? Unlike a lot of people on my side, I have rather rosy expectations about the 2016 elections**; what I have been thinking of is just how we want to go about winning. Everybody’s got their own opinion on how to fix the country, not to mention the party. What we don’t maybe have yet are people thinking about they need, what they want, and what they can concede for the sake of concessions elsewhere. It’s probably not a bad idea to start prioritizing your personal wish list, honestly.
And that’s pretty much it. Kind of dull; but the best politics are, hopefully.
*On the one hand, the Democrats didn’t need to ask that in 2008. On the other hand, how much of 2008 hinged on McCain, the sudden meltdown of the economy, or whether the Moon was in Pluto will be an interesting question for political scientists for decades to come. On the gripping hand, it turns out that the Democrats should have asked that question.
**I always do, of course: but the people who laugh at me for thinking that in 2006, 2008, and 2012 are carefully forgetting that they were laughing at me just as thoroughly in 2002, 2004, and 2010.