Paul Ryan Is the Odds-On Favorite to Win the Republican Nomination in 2016


There’s been a lot of blathering about who the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is, and so far I’ve resisted taking part. But I guess I’m kind of curious: Is there much of a case to be made for anyone other than Paul Ryan?

On the substantive side, Ryan sure seems like he’s setting himself up for a run. There’s his steady series of “unheralded” anti-poverty outreach trips that always manage to be just heralded enough to get sympathetic press coverage. He brokered a budget deal with Patty Murray that was businesslike and low-drama but didn’t alienate the tea party crowd too badly. Today, in a hearing about the CBO’s report on Obamacare, he acknowledged that the report didn’t say that employers would be cutting jobs—points for intellectual honesty!—while also calling Obamacare a “poverty trap”—points for demagoguery! This is all stuff that seems very delicately calculated to stay in the good graces of the tea party base while building up plenty of policy substance cred that will keep him attractive to moderate voters.

On the flip side, who are his big competitors? Chris Christie is toast. Marco Rubio is inexperienced to begin with, and then muffed his chance for statesmanlike glory when he staked his reputation on immigration reform and came up empty. Jeb Bush can’t even get his mother’s endorsement. Scott Walker is getting buzz, but he strikes me as having too much baggage. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are novelty candidates, not to be taken seriously. And although I used to think Bobby Jindal might have a chance, he’s had a rough past couple of years.

Maybe I’m dismissing all these guys a little too glibly. Walker and Bush are certainly serious possibilities. And I admit that Ryan doesn’t always give off a vibe that says he’s running for president. And of course, we’re still a couple of years away from 2016, anything can happen, blah blah blah.

Still, ol’ blue eyes sure looks like the favorite to me right now. Anyone want to make a case for one of the others?

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.