A Quick And Easy Rundown Of The 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates

Rob Gunther
Rob Gunther

Look, it’s still really early. And as I’m writing this, there are already something like two dozen Republican candidates all vying for their party’s nomination. Nobody’s expecting you to be familiar with everyone in the field. But 2016 will be here sooner than you think, and you might as well at least get yourself acquainted with who’s who.

I’ve got your back. Here’s a quick rundown on everyone currently in the race. Bear with me here, because like I said, it’s a big pool of super qualified politicians. Here’s the list, ranked in order of importance, from most important, to least important.

George Pataki

I’m just going to go ahead and call it right here: former New York Governor George Pataki will definitely be our next President of the United States. It’s basically all but assured. I can only assume that the only reason anyone else is still officially in the race is just to have a shot at getting picked as Pataki’s VP.

He’s a certifiable Republican star. He’s the most recent New York State governor to not have been mired in at least some sort of political scandal. And sure, he’s been out of office for a while now, but Pataki has stayed active in his post-gubernatorial decade and a half. He finished as the second runner-up in Season 3 of Dancing With The Stars. And people thought he couldn’t dance! George Pataki is going to win, I promise.

Bobby Jindal

If only there were some way for another politician to split the presidency with George Pataki, I’d say that Bobby Jindal would be the perfect candidate to fill that role. The current governor of Louisiana, Jindal is probably most famous for the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech in 2009. Back then, Obama’s star power was at its “Yes we can!” peak, and Jindal was widely considered the next-gen Republican answer.

Unfortunately, he came across as a huge dweeb, and America spent the next two nights watching the guy who played Kenneth on 30 Rock make fun of Jindal’s corny persona. After that, the young governor mostly disappeared from public view, biding his time for 2016. Bobby Jindal has been really busy since 2009. He’s done a lot of important stuff. I’m trying to think of something off the top of my head, but it’s like there are just so many big accomplishments, I can’t really seem to pick just one. Well, whatever, just trust me on this one. Bobby Jindal is going to make a great President.

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina means business. She’s the 2016 Republican business candidate. “I’m a businesswoman!” she tells eager crowds at campaign rallies. There are always at least a couple of business candidates every four years. Herman Cain was pro-business. Before that it was Steve Forbes. Even Mitt Romney made his name in the business world. Now we have Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of HP.

If you’re looking for a political outsider, Fiorina is your candidate. That’s right, she’s never held political office before. She almost won a seat in the Senate, but she lost. But that’s OK, because haven’t we had enough of the same old Washington nonsense? How can we expect the same people who created the problems to fix the problems? Did I mention business? Because we need someone to run this country like a business. Business, business, business.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee means religion. That is, Mike Huckabee means his religion, America’s religion, real religion – evangelical Christianity. Look, gay marriage is rapidly becoming the law of the land, Americans are quickly broadening their definition of social acceptance, and as the previous generation’s old-fashioned values fade ever more quickly from the political mainstream, now is probably one of the last election cycles where you’ll be able to run for President as a major party candidate while publicly saying stuff like, “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!”

OK, maybe Huckabee didn’t say that exactly, but he did recently say something about transgender people along the lines of, “I wish I could have identified as a woman when I was in high school, that way I could have used their locker room and really enjoyed the view.” I’m telling you, if this is your kind of candidate, I’d get on the Huckabee bandwagon while you can, because shit like this isn’t going to be acceptable political discourse in the near-future.

Rick Santorum

I mentioned Huckabee so I might as well talk about Rick Santorum while I’m here. Basically, everything that I said about Huckabee above applies to Santorum, with one notable difference: Rick Santorum is Catholic. Although he did recently tell the Pope to mind his own business when it comes to climate change.

Whatever, I don’t want to waste any more time on Santorum. He recently had a campaign event in Iowa where only one person showed up. One! That’s pathetic! I’m an absolute nobody, but I promise you that if I traveled to Iowa on a whim, I could guarantee you I’d at least convince three or four people to show up for me. It’s not that hard! Just walk around town, hand out some free t-shirts, promise a free raffle to win an iPhone or something like that … bam! That’s like twenty people right there. So even though he was the runner-up in the 2012 GOP field, I doubt we have to worry about a serious Santorum campaign this time around.

Rick Perry

Man, I thought this was going to be an easy piece to write, but there are way too many Republican candidates. Rick Perry? He’s the guy who in 2012 famously couldn’t name all three federal agencies he vowed to shut down on his first day in office. I think he almost fell asleep once on stage during one of the debates. Hey, I’m not blaming him, I mean, running for President is probably really hard work.

But Perry is ready this time. He got a brand new pair of glasses. He couldn’t see! Do you know how exhausting it is trying to squint really hard to read everything? That all but cuts your energy in half. So if you think he’s still as dumb as he was four years ago, I urge you to take a second look. Rick Perry is focused on 2016.

Ted Cruz

OK, I had originally said that this list was going to be ranked from most important to least important, but that was really just so I could list George Pataki first and then that would be the joke, like haha, George Pataki, that guy has no shot, that’s hilarious. Then I went with it, like Bobby Jindal doesn’t really have a shot either, so that kind of went with my whole setup. But now I’m something like a quarter of the way down, and I’ve basically given up on trying to maintain anything close to a serious ranking. It’s actually taking me most of my mental energy just to name everyone currently in the running.

Which brings me to Ted Cruz. He’s from Texas. He was born in Canada, but whatever, that’s closer than Kenya, am I right? If you hate big government, Cruz is your guy. If you love the Tea Party, Cruz is your guy. If you love the real America, again, Ted Cruz. He wants to make America free again, or something like that. I don’t know, liberty, freedom, constitution, America, patriot, blah, blah, blah, Ted Cruz.

Marco Rubio

This is kind of interesting, Marco Rubio originally wanted to be a star football player. Was that kind of interesting? I don’t know, now that I’m reading it back to myself, I guess it’s not that interesting. Who doesn’t grow up wanting to be a pro athlete? I personally always wanted to be an NHL forward. And while I haven’t entirely ruled it out as within the realm of possibility, I haven’t really skated in years, and so realistically I guess it’s just not going to happen. What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, Marco Rubio. Freedom, liberty, tea party, constitution, blah, blah, blah. Like Bobby Jindal, Rubio had his own post-State of the Union gaffe. He was delivering the Republican response, and you know what he did? He got thirsty and so he had to take a drink of water from a water bottle. Ha! What an idiot!

Ben Carson

Who better to run for President than a famous neurosurgeon? I have no idea. That’s kind of a cheap way to introduce any sort of political outsider. As long as the person running for office isn’t a professional politician, you can basically copy and paste that first sentence for anybody. Who better to run for President than … a celebrity chef! A paleontologist! A Formula One racecar driver!

I guess it would be really cool if we did have a President who had a super niche skill like top-notch neurosurgeon. I can already see it being sold as a big budget Hollywood movie. Maybe there’s a terrorist attack at the White House. Maybe the President of China is visiting Washington while the attack goes down, and now he’s trapped in the White House with President Carson, but unbeknownst to anybody, the President of China has to get back to China immediately because he’s scheduled to undergo some really intense brain surgery, and it’s really time sensitive, and President Carson says something like, “You’re all out of time, Mr. President. But you’re in luck, because I’m not just President of the USA, I’m also a neurosurgeon.” And then the whole movie is Ben Carson doing some crazy improv high-stakes brain surgery. I’d watch it.

Donald Trump

I don’t really feel like talking about Donald Trump. Just watch The Daily Show, whatever they have to say about Donald Trump is going to be much funnier than anything I could come up with.

Chris Christie

I think that whatever shot Chris Christie had at being President evaporated once it became clear that his inner circle had more to do with “Bridge-gate” than they were letting on. And good thing too, because Chris Christie would have been a terrible President.

He’s a classic bully, and nothing more. Every once in a while a bully like Christie will make it pretty far politically, but they always wind up doing something stupid that reveals their ineligibility for higher public office. I just don’t get the appeal. It’s like, when Christie starts yelling at his constituents on the Jersey Shore, some people applaud, they want to see a bully President. It’s like they can’t imagine themselves on the receiving end of the bullying. Whatever, like I said, he has no shot.

Lindsey Graham

Come on, Lindsey Graham is running for President? I get it, it’s a wide open field, but for real, Lindsey Graham? Do people in South Carolina even know who Lindsey Graham is? I swear, I just looked it up on Wikipedia, I promise, I exited this Word document, I opened up a new tab on my web browser and I typed in “Lindsey Graham.” And I’ve already forgotten everything that I just read about Lindsey Graham.

John Kasich

Here’s a guy who used to fill in as host of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News when Bill O’Reilly was on vacation. I, for one, think that a stint as guest host of a cable news program should automatically disqualify you for higher office, but the people of Ohio don’t share that sentiment, seeing as how they voted this guy in as Governor.

What would a John Kasich presidency be all about? I have no idea. He’s not going to be President either, I promise.

Rand Paul

I’m almost done here, I’m in the home stretch of Republican candidates for President. We’re already up to Rand Paul. Did you know that Rand is short for Randy? I don’t understand why Paul decided to go for the abbreviated nickname. Sure, Rand does sound a little more serious than Randy, but come on dude, that’s your name. You’ve got to own it.

I’m a guy who believes in the whole “don’t trust a guy with two first names” rule, so unfortunately, Senator Paul will not be getting my vote for President.

Scott Walker

Vote for Scott Walker if you hate unions. Vote for Scott Walker if you want to see workers making less money. Vote for Scott Walker because you don’t believe in public universities. Vote for Scott Walker if you want even more of America’s money to go to the top one percent.

Oh shit, I’m sorry, I was on a soapbox there for a second. I’m down, I’m good, my bad.

Jeb Bush

And saving the best for last, we have Jeb! Bush. Look, I get it, you’re your own man, you’re not to be defined by the legacy of your family name, whatever. But your dad was President, and so was your brother. In what reality would a legitimate democracy actually choose to give Jeb Bush the Presidency?

And yeah, it’s not fair to characterize the failures of your brother’s disastrous Presidency as Bush family traits, but let’s just take a quick stroll down recent-memory lane: the failure to see 9/11 coming, the decision to invade Iraq, the tax cuts for the rich, the bumbling response to Katrina, the near-collapse of the global economy in 2008 … I get it, that was George W, and you’re Jeb!, a completely different person. I’m just saying that, maybe let’s try a different political dynasty, just to be safe. It’s like, if one of the bulls on the farm comes down with mad-cow disease, maybe his brother and sister are safe to eat too. But I’m not even eating hamburgers for a while, much less beef from the same ranch as the mad-cow bull.

That makes sense, right? Whoops? How did I get back on that soapbox? I’m really sorry. I’m sure Jeb! would make a great President. Yeah, you should totally vote for Jeb! You should totally vote for any of these candidates. Because with a GOP field like this, we’re in good hands. They got this. I’m ready for 2016. TC mark

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