So every presidential election cycle we here at jeffpearlman.com (translation: me here at jeffpearlman.com) like to post our power rankings of who will likely be our next commander in chief.
Hence, on the heels of New Hampshire, here’s what we’ve got …
• 1. Hillary Clinton: Look, unless she’s indicted (a long shot, if we’re all being honest) she’ll be the Democratic nominee. She’ll have tons of money, a popular ex-president husband, a powerful last name and experience (people who say she’s “unqualified” are on crack. She’s a former senator, former Secretary of State, former first lady. Corrupt? The point can be made. Unqualified? No). I also think—should Donald Trump or Ted Cruz be the GOP nominee—you’ll have a fair number of socially liberal Republicans quietly supporting her. Not because she’s liked—but because the other option is scary.
• 2. Donald Trump: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Trump has to be considered the GOP leader. Can he really build a wall and have Mexico pay for it? No. Can he ban Muslims from entering? No. Can he round up the illegals? No. But people love the bluster. Would he beat Hillary in a head to head? I don’t think so—but stranger things have happened.
• 3. Marco Rubio: God, he’s a terrible candidate. Everything people don’t like in politicians. Plastic, wooden, repeats lines 800 times, very little spur of the moment. It’s funny—Republicans warned against an inexperienced senator when Barack Obama ran … and here’s an inexperienced senator. Rubio’s pluses are big (important state, handsome and young, inspiring back story, might draw Hispanic vote), but in many ways he’s the modern Paul Tsongas as a campaigner. Just … yawn.
• 4. Michael Bloomberg: Former New York City mayor is considering a run. He’d draw some Dems, some Republicans. He also has shitloads of money; Bloomberg makes Trump look poor. Now, can he win a general? Not likely. But if something happens to Hillary, or the GOP winds up with Cruz … who knows?
• 5. Bernie Sanders: He won New Hampshire in a landslide, but we all expected that. I like Sanders’ integrity and idealism. But he needs a Hillary indictment to wind up as the Democratic nominee. And that seems unlikely.
• 6. Ted Cruz: Unless you believe America is a Christian nation governed by Christian principles, Cruz seems insane. And while we do have a whole bunch of Jesus lovers, we don’t have enough Jesus lovers for Cruz to play in a general.
• 7. Joe Biden: I know … I know—he’s not in. But, again, if Hillary is indicted, I could see him stepping in as some sort of hero. Super unlikely.
• 8. Jeb Bush: I’ve never seen a guy feel better about a fourth-place finish as Bush did in New Hampshire. He seems like a nice guy who just sucks at this presidential campaigning thing. And nobody thinks his brother was a good commander in chief. That hardly helps.
• 9. John Kasich: My favorite of the Republicans, but everything he had was loaded into New Hampshire. He’s about to get squashed.
• 10. Ellis Valentine: Probably had the strongest outfield throwing arm in modern Major League history.
• 11. Ben Carson: Man, he had a really strong 10 days a bunch of months ago.
• 12. Erik Estrada: Guy was just so cool.
• 13. Jim Gilmore: The greatest political headline of the season, courtesy of USA Today: ABOUT 10 SHOW UP TO JIM GILMORE’S N.H. PRIMARY PARTY
• 14. Chris Christie: Yes, he’s out of the race. But after two days in New Jersey, I’m pretty sure he’ll be back.
• 15. Every member of Menudo: Just because they’re Menudo.