The Republican TV Showdown - Donald Trump & The Others
More than a dozen Republicans have announced they are running for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
Donald Trump, the former host of "The Apprentice" has so far dominated the 2016 GOP campaign — to the chagrin of the other Republican candidates.
Mr. Trump promises to “make America great again.” As someone best known for saying "You're fired!" in a country still recovering from a debilitating recession, he could face challenges establishing his credibility. But he has never had difficulty making himself heard.
DONALD TRUMP, Real Estate mogul
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States.”
Mr. Trump could unite the most vituperative, fact-averse denouncers of President Obama (he was a champion of the "birther" camp that questioned whether the president was actually born in Hawaii); the many upwardly aspirational people who have attended his motivational speeches or purchased his business books; and at least some golfers who have played on his courses. It seems a stretch to think he will generate much support from the wealthy Republican establishment: Even in New York City, business leaders have long held Mr. Trump at arm's length.
JEB BUSH, Former governor of Florida
“I will take nothing and no one for granted. I will run with heart. I will run to win."
Mr. Bush’s support in the primary will come chiefly from right-of-center Republicans, but he will also appeal to conservatives who are concerned most about choosing a nominee who is electable. Having decisively lost two straight presidential elections, Republicans are hungry to take back the White House. Mr. Bush, with his policy fluency, fund-raising capacity, links to the Hispanic community and political base in the country’s most pivotal swing state, is seen by some in the party as most capable of winning. While some Republicans are reluctant to nominate a third Bush for president, others are fond of his family and will be more inclined to back Mr. Bush because of his lineage. A crucial question is how many other Republicans will be in his “lane.” If harder-line candidates divide the conservative vote, Mr. Bush could win states with only a plurality of voters. But he is not the only candidate hoping to win over center-right primary voters. If he fails, it will likely be, at least in part, because he was squeezed from both flanks.
Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey
“I am now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America.”
Mr. Christie’s voters are likely to come from the moderate wing of the Republican Party. While he opposes abortion rights, he has little natural connection to Christian conservatives. He is better suited to the business community and party activists who find his pugnacity appealing. A Christie voter is somebody who appreciates tough talk – but not tough talk about, say, unseating Supreme Court justices.
RAND PAUL, Kentucky senator
“It’s time for a new way, a way predicated on justice, opportunity and freedom."
Mr. Paul will try to put together a disparate coalition of voters: the libertarian faithful who supported his father, former Representative Ron Paul, in 2008 and 2012; Tea Party adherents drawn to his small-government fiscal conservatism; and some who are not even Republicans, like college students and blacks, groups he has been wooing for a year and a half. The question is whether the parts add up to a whole. Many of his father’s supporters believe that Mr. Paul has sold them out by trying too hard to appeal to mainstream Republicans. Tea Party conservatives could be peeled away by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas or Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. And getting people who have never voted Republican to do so is no small task, especially when many caucuses and primaries are open only to registered Republicans.
SCOTT WALKER, Governor of Wisconsin
“I’m running for president to fight and win for the American people.”
Mr. Walker is aiming to be the candidate who appeals to the largest portion of Republican primary voters, a reflection of the fact that he does not have a single strong base of supporters. He believes he can win votes across important blocs: establishment Republicans like state and county officials who like his record of tax cuts, pension overhauls and union busting in Wisconsin; conservatives who want a governor to become president and will be drawn to his strong support of charter schools and Israel, as well as his tough talk on national security; evangelicals who will respond to him as the son of a minister and as a supporter of amending the United States Constitution to allow states to define marriage; and Tea Party activists who share his determination to transfer as much federal power as possible to state and local governments. The risk is that when your potential political coalition is spread out, it is hard to count on any one part of it showing up to vote.
MIKE HUCKABEE, Former governor of Arkansas
"I know that there is a difference between making a speech and making government accountable to the people who pay for it."
Mr. Huckabee will begin the 2016 race with the same voter base that propelled him to a win in the Iowa caucuses in 2008: Christian conservatives. But Mr. Huckabee, a former Baptist pastor, will have considerable competition for such voters in this year’s nomination contest. That is part of the reason he is shifting his message to explicitly appeal to older, working-class conservatives, as he does in this video, in which he vows to protect Social Security and Medicare.
BEN CARSON, Former neurosurgeon
“I'm probably never going to be politically correct because I'm not a politician."
Mr. Carson, a conservative former neurosurgeon, has ardent grassroots supporters who are drawn to his scalding attacks on President Obama and the president's health care law. The question is whether frequent Fox News appearances and rousing speeches will translate into votes. Outsider candidates like Mr. Carson have enjoyed initial bursts of support in Republican primaries only to fade. Mr. Carson’s base likely will be comprised of conservative activists dissatisfied with elected officials who want to reshape Washington by electing a newcomer.
MARCO RUBIO, Florida senator
“The time has come for our generation to lead the way towards a new American century.”
Mr. Rubio will try to position himself as a next-generation conservative who can unite the Republican Party, impressing moderates while satisfying social conservatives and galvanizing the Tea Party fiscal hawks who helped elect him to the Senate in 2010. His fluent Spanish certainly will not hurt him with Hispanics. Admirers see Mr. Rubio as a charismatic speaker with an optimistic message, someone who could be a fresh ambassador for the party, exciting not just younger voters but those looking for a politician for the 21st century. But if that sounds like another politician who was elected president not long ago, the Rubio team is quick to reject any comparisons to President Obama, who remains wildly unpopular among Republican primary voters.
TED CRUZ, Texas senator
“The power of the American people as we stand up and fight for liberty knows no bounds.”
To win the Republican nomination, Mr. Cruz will have to bring together the party’s anti-establishment wing, which is made of separate-but-overlapping voter blocs, including Christian conservatives, libertarians and Tea Party voters angry with the leadership of both parties. His ultimate goal is to get into a one-on-one campaign against whoever emerges as the favorite of establishment Republicans. To do this, he must find a way to stand out in a crowded lane of conservative hopefuls. In a general election, Mr. Cruz would not attempt to win over centrist voters as much as he would try to galvanize conservatives who did not vote in recent presidential elections because they were dissatisfied with the choices.
Rick Perry, Former governor of Texas
“Leadership is not a speech on the Senate floor. It’s not what you say. It’s what you have done."
Mr. Perry’s support will come from Republicans who may find some of the party’s more establishment-oriented hopefuls too pragmatic but who are not so ideologically driven as to back candidates chiefly focused on cultural issues. Having been governor of a large state for 14 years, Mr. Perry could also find a following among voters who want a candidate with executive experience. And as an Air Force veteran, he may win over some of his fellow former service members.
Carly Fiorina, Hewlett-Packard CEO
Mrs. Clinton "has not been transparent about a whole set of things that matter."
As the only woman seeking the Republican nomination, Ms. Fiorina has sought to create a niche for herself by both attacking and comparing herself to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner. Although largely an unknown to most Republican activists – her only other campaign was a 10-point loss in the 2010 California Senate race – Ms. Fiorina’s business background and confident manner have won her applause on the Republican banquet circuit. It is unclear who will rally to her candidacy, though, as her politics are conservative but she is no culture warrior.
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator
“I want to be president to protect our nation that we all love so much from all threats foreign and domestic.”
Mr. Graham's support would probably come from voters who share his approach to politics: pragmatic on domestic issues and hawkish on foreign policy. That may not be a vast constituency, but there is a bloc of Republican primary voters who could be open to considering his candidacy: those who care, above all else, about projecting American strength abroad and who vote on such national security issues.
Rick Santorum, 2012 runner-up
“Working families don’t need another president tied to big government or big money.”
Seeking to broaden the base of social conservatives who propelled him to victory in 11 states in 2012, Rick Santorum is aiming to convince working-class voters whose incomes have stagnated that he is a different kind of Republican, one who cares about them, not just about corporations and the rich. His book “Blue Collar Conservatives,’’ published last year, is a campaign manifesto that argues many of the six million working-class Americans who sat out the 2012 election will vote Republican if the party addresses their economic troubles.
Other potential runners:
Barring a late polling surge, former New York governor George Pataki, Louisiana senator Bobby Jindal and the newest entrant, former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, will participate in a pre-debate discussion before the main event.