The 2016 Republican Primary has no shortage of candidates who have declared their presidential candidacies or hinted that they may run. What most of them have in common is that they will never be president.
Donald Trump, TV personality and real estate mogul, made a political name for himself when he decided to perpetuate the conspiracy that President Obama is not American-born. While this strategy may play well to the far-right, tinfoil-hat-wearing crowd, it's something that makes Trump look like a fool to everyone else. Even Trump knows he could never be taken seriously as a presidential contender.
Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, has zero political experience. Instead, she's counting on her business acumen to thrust her toward the Republican nomination. The only problem is the fact that her record at HP is nothing short of terrible. Stocks tumbled 64 percent during her tenure and 30,000 people lost their jobs. Fiorina was eventually forced to resign, which caused HP stocks to soar.
Dr. Ben Carson
Don't be fooled by the title next to his name. When it comes to presidential politics, Dr. Ben Carson, retired brain surgeon, is about as wacky as they come. It sort of makes you wonder if he's done any work on himself -- or, if he hasn't, then maybe he should. Calling homosexuality a choice, equating liberals to Nazis and comparing the Affordable Care Act to slavery are all things that send Carson's crazy meter off the charts.
Bobby Jindal is one of the most unpopular governors in the country. His deep cuts to education and health care in Louisiana have sent his approval ratings -- and presidential chances -- spiraling. He recently wrote an editorial in the New York Times declaring his passionate opposition to gay marriage, putting him squarely on the wrong side of history. According to a recent survey, even Hillary Clinton would beat him in solid red Louisiana. Ouch.
Rick Perry's 2012 presidential campaign was a disaster. He spent time atop primary polls that year, but poor debate performances made sure those leads were short-lived. Perry isn't fond of Social Security (he called it a Ponzi scheme) and he opposes abortion, even in the case of rape and incest. As governor of Texas, he refused to expand Medicaid to over a million people who were uninsured.
Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator, loves to talk about making the government smaller but tirelessly advocates for policies that would put Uncle Sam in your bedroom. He aligns himself with the normal Republican positions on social issues, but takes it even further by opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest, and he supports a ban on contraception. Santorum's appeal is strictly limited to far-right, religious voters.
Mike Huckabee is another Republican governor hoping that his sequel is better than the original. In 2008, Huckabee came off as a likable guy who had the potential for crossover support. Since losing that campaign, he has used his platform on FOX News Channel to ramp up his conservative rhetoric and lose any bipartisan appeal he may have had. Not even Chuck Norris, his biggest supporter, can put Huckabee in the White House.
The rise and fall of Chris Christie has been fascinating to watch. Not only was he overwhelmingly re-elected as governor of New Jersey, but he was on a clear trajectory to being a heavyweight -- no pun intended -- presidential contender in 2016. Unfortunately for Christie, his bully-the-critics routine got old, and his ties to the "Bridgegate" scandal have thrown a wrench in his plans in a way that looks unrecoverable.
Ted Cruz is one of the worst senators this country has ever seen. His main goal when he went to Congress was to burn the place down, not get anything constructive done. He even shut down the government because he didn't care for the Affordable Care Act. When he announced his campaign, social media quickly made him a laughingstock. The worst part isn’t that some people believe what comes out of Cruz's mouth – but that he actually believes it, too.
Rand Paul was the guy who had the best opportunity to shake things up for Republicans. Some of his ideas -- reducing bloated defense spending, addressing mass incarceration, staying out of people's private lives -- had potential for widespread appeal. But he has walked back or abandoned many of these positions in order to pander to the crazies who vote in GOP primaries. The old Rand Paul may have had a shot; the new one doesn't stand a chance.