Oh how I loathe politics. Nonetheless, sometime in 2013 I started writing up a node previewing who I thought might run in 2016. All names are given by last political office held.

I put the Libertarian Party potentials first, because there is no law making the US a two party system (even if it is rigged to behave like one), and my probables for this were former Governor Gary Johnson (last time's nominee) and Senator Rand Paul.

Then the Democrats: I lead with the possibility that Barack Obama would in fact find or forge some way to seek a third term. After that, my list went to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (running), Vice President Joe Biden (opted out), Governor Andrew Cuomo (backing Hillary), Governor Martin O'Malley (running, but barely registering in the polls). Running (or also-ran) but not on my list: Senator Jim Webb, Governor Lincoln Chaffee, or Senator Bernie Sanders.

Now the Republicans: My lead guesses were Governors Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and (lastly) Scott Walker (all running), and John Huntsman and Sarah Palin (not running); Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul (if not running as a Libertarian), Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum; and Congressmen Newt Gingrich, Peter King (of Iowa, who was not so much a projection since he had already declared by then, but never gained traction), and Paul Ryan. Despite my large number of GOP potentials, I didn't pick all seventeen major candidates who did in fact declare. I certainly didn't think of Governors George Pataki or Jim Gilmore. (And, actually, until about a week ago, I was not aware that Rick Santorum actually was running this time.)

Interestingly, everybody I listed for either party was a previous elective office-holder. I did not seriously contemplate the possibility of political outsider Donald Trump running, and the names Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina meant nothing to me at all. Yet here we are -- Donald Trump has come from nowhere in the polls to seize command of the entire election season -- seemingly by sheer force of will!! What other GOP contender, or even Dem contender, has the ability to accomplish that? (And don't tell me Bernie Sanders -- he may share the novel trait of coming off as honestly speaking his mind, but it hasn't got him any national leads yet.) Once in a generation or two there is a man like a Ronald Reagan, with a knack for playing to the crowd, with a powerful enough charisma and command to dominate any room he walks into. And Donald Trump is this GOP generation's Ronald Reagan. I am reminded, though, of projections at this time in 2007, when it was forecast that the 2008 election would be a contest between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, so it just goes to show how unpredictable these things can be.

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