The Summer of 2016 Baby Steps

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Since America is bored without a presidential campaign, various likely 2016 candidates have begun the elegant I'm-not-running-but-I'd-be-great-if-I-did dance. One of these people could be your next president, and you heard it here first.


Joe Biden
How we know he's thinking about running: We were tipped off that he might be running by a) his repeated mentions that he might run and b) the front page article in the Wall Street Journal which argues that his "allies have concluded he can win," even if Hillary Clinton wins. (See below.)

"He's the vice president of the United States of America! When you're the sitting vice president and you're running against anybody, you still have a chance," said one person close to Mr. Biden.

(Presumably not a person named "Bo Jiden.")

Will he actually run? Probably. Biden ran for president in 1988 (losing to Dukakis), and in 2008 (losing to Obama, obviously). While he's not due to run again until 2028, he's no stranger to uphill battles. And with an existing infrastructure in place (albeit one that will likely be pulled in multiple directions), Biden will have some momentum once 2015 rolls around.

Which offers a tantalizing prospect: Biden roaming the country, the center of attention, while Obama tries to do things over his last two years.

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Hillary Clinton
How we know she's thinking about running: It is Hillary Clinton. Also, a de facto campaign organization exists for her already. The Clinton team is pushing back on criticism of its non-profit. Hillary and Bill will campaign in Arkansas next year.

Will she actually run? Yes.


Andrew Cuomo
How we know he's thinking about running: Because "Cuomo" is Italian for "considering a White House bid." Andrew's father, Mario, was frequently mentioned as a potential candidate. And then there was BuzzFeed's look of a possible bid.

Will he actually run? It seems unlikely if Clinton runs.


Martin O'Malley
How we know he's thinking about running: Our colleagues at the National Journal profiled him extensively in June. And people have been talking about him running for much longer.

Will he actually run? He will probably talk about it a little bit and then, if Hillary Clinton runs, not actually go through with it. After all, if you correctly identified O'Malley as the governor of Maryland, you are in the minority of Americans.


Scott Brown
How we know he's thinking about running: He went to Iowa and, apparently, that's the only reason for anyone to go to Iowa. Oh, also he said he was exploring the idea.

Will he actually run? Probably. There's not much disincentive for the less-than-half-term senator to do so, and the qualities that (briefly) endeared him to voters in heavily-Democratic Massachusetts — his rugged good looks, his pickup truck — might endear him to the Midwest, too. Republican politicians form Massachusetts have won the nomination before.

Chris Christie
How we know he's thinking about running: Last week, Christie vetoed a gun control measure he'd supported previously — a switch that will endear him to Republican primary voters. There is also the whole radical weight loss surgery thing.

Christie is currently running for reelection as governor of New Jersey. As The New York Times pointed out on Sunday, that campaign is also letting Christie establish a deeper fundraising base and giving him a chance to stay in the news.

Will he actually run? Yes. Christie, the "hottest politician in America," is a likely front-runner coming out of the gates. These things change, of course, but his brand of authoritarian individualism plays well.

Ted Cruz
How we know he's thinking about running: He released his birth certificate. He wanted to curtail growing questions about his eligibility by proving that he is a natural-born citizen — a prerequisite for the presidency, and not the sort of thing you do if you don't plan on running for president.

Will he actually run? Cruz is still new to Washington, but has gone out of his way to build an identity as a staunch conservative on Capitol Hill. A lot could change before the primary process gets underway, but Cruz has begun building the sort of identity that a 2016 candidate would want.

Peter King
How we know he's thinking about running: He said so.

Will he actually run? No.




How we know he's thinking about running:
Due to this:

Dixville Notch is traditionally the first voting location on Election Day.

Will he actually run? Just as soon as Peter King does.

Rand Paul
How we know he's thinking about running: Paul went to Iowa last month, which is a good hint. But his vocal and vibrant opposition to other candidates — most prominently, Chris Christie — is meant to further position him as the outsider Republican. Which his last name certainly helps to reinforce.

Will he actually run? Yes. It's a tradition that a Paul runs for President in the 21st century. And, unlike his father, Rand actually has a shot at winning a few states.

Marco Rubio
How we know he's thinking about running: Rubio has been tying himself in knots, trying to find the best political position on immigration reform. (Most recently, levying threats against the House.) Rubio was mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick by Romney.

Will he actually run? A few years ago, Rubio seemed like a dream pick for the Republicans: a Hispanic who could help carry Florida. The realities of governing tend to put a bit of tarnish on any shine, though, and Rubio's been around longer than Cruz and is more interesting in governing than Paul. He'll still run, but he's not the golden boy anymore.

Donald Trump
How we know he's thinking about running: This is all he talks about because he is lonely. He even went to Iowa to talk about it, people nodded at him, it was all very nice. Trump says he spent a million dollars on research, which isn't true. Or, if it is, it's illegal.

Will he actually run? No, ha ha ha. No. Nope. You may recall that Trump said he was going to run in 2012 until he decided that "business is [his] greatest passion." Or maybe because NBC asked him not to run. Anyway, Donald Trump likes to be in the news and for people to treat him seriously. So this will last a few more months.

Scott Walker

How we know he's thinking about running: Walker appeared on Morning Joe on Monday to criticize DC Republicans. This is what you do if you're a Midwestern governor looking to establish your outsider credentials.

Will he actually run? Probably. Walker became a conservative folk hero with his clamp-down on labor unions in 2011. He could help the party take the state, and still has enough support in Wisconsin to have beaten a recall attempt.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.