Despite the presence of establishment favorites such as Jeb Bush, next year’s GOP presidential nomination is more likely to go to a Washington outsider than in elections past.
After eight years of Barack Obama’s extreme and detrimental policies, the grassroots of the GOP in the early primary and caucus states will seek an agent of change (see: Republicans for Hillary 2016). Eventually, a renegade Republican will emerge in this race to challenge the political elite who have driven the country into fiscal disaster, especially as Republicans will likely be opposing an establishment Democrat in Hillary Clinton.
Walker? Rubio? Huckabee? Cruz? Paul? Perry? Santorum?
Perhaps, but this may be the year for a longshot, a dark horse – someone no one would expect to pick up the GOP mantle in July 2016, due in part to the languishing economic recovery and the human toll it has taken resulting from the policies of Barack Obama.
Two of those longshots are known for their success in business, relative to the rest of the field that made reputations as governors, senators, and congressmen (or in medicine, such as Ben Carson and Rand Paul).
Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump are two such dark horses to watch.
Carly Fiorina has a powerful presence at the podium. She speaks of her family’s loss of their daughter to addiction and her experience negotiating with heads of state as the CEO of a multinational corporation.
She calls out Hillary Clinton for a lack of accomplishment and makes it clear that she will run as the unClinton. She will challenge the notion established by Democrats and the national media that Hillary Clinton, the pro-choice defender of women, is the only and obvious person to become the first woman president.
Reports show that Fiorina, who is expected to announce her candidacy on Monday, is catching the attention of the grassroots in Iowa and New Hampshire, with large, excited crowds eager to see her.
The other business leader about to enter the race is Donald Trump. Arguably the best-known candidate and one of the most recognized brands in the world, he is summarily rejected as the quadrennial faker who will never run.
Yet Trump is already hiring successful campaign leaders in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. He is drawing large crowds on the hustings and may be making more trips into the early states than any other candidate right now. Despite his non-starts in past elections, this time Donald Trump is running for real, and critics dismiss him at their own risk. He is a market disruptor - the Uber of the 2016 campaign
These business leaders will make for a far more interesting presidential campaign in 2016 thanks to their hutzpah to challenge the political establishment and conventional wisdom manufactured by the national media.
Fiorina is warm and personable with audiences, but she is also tough and unflinching in her outlook on a dangerous world and the threat that a third Obama term represents to our economy.
Trump proudly touts his status as the only self-funded and completely independent candidate in the race. He does not suffer fools in the media who make politicians crumble in the face of political correctness. He is an unapologetic critic of Obama, Clinton, and politicians in general. Trump has broad appeal to a cross-section of demographic audiences and a good story to tell about his success, despite the knee-jerk reaction of pundits dismissing his outsized personality.
Both candidates will receive plenty of scrutiny about past business dealings and their ability to build large voting blocs in the early states. All the better, as Republicans welcome such scrutiny while Democrats turn the tables when the tough questions come their way, as we have already seen from Hillary Clinton through her various recent scandals.
Other newcomers may join the race this week as well, with a Monday announcement expected from Dr. Ben Carson and a Tuesday announcement from former Arkansas Governor, and the 2008 winner of the Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee. The GOP field is becoming more broad and diverse by the week, countering claims that the party is represented only by old white men.
No doubt, a strong fiscal conservative is needed more than ever in our history. More candidates will be able to go the distance this time thanks to Super PACs. Fiorina and Trump will be among them.
Polls won’t reveal much about Fiorina and Trump right now, but don’t be fooled. This election is ripe for a buttoned-down business leader who can tell a powerful story about the bad path America is on and how private sector success should set the example for much-needed public sector downsizing.