I'm guessing that many readers are glad that we are past the political campaign season that culminated in last month's election. Are you glad the signs are down and the TV ads promoting or trashing candidates are over for a time?
I have some news for you. The race for the presidency in 2016 is already heating up. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has written her book and held her book tour, which is a typical precursor to running for the highest office in the land.
She has spent the last year campaigning for fellow Democratic candidates all around the country. In theory, this will endear her to Democratic primary super delegates, hard core caucus goers and consistent primary voters as well.
Her path to the nomination would seem almost inevitable. Except that this was the same story line that was developed in the early days of the 2008 campaign season. Along came a different U.S. Senator, Barack H. Obama, also connected with the state of Illinois. The coronation scenario turned into one of the more hotly contested primary races that we've observed in some time.
That 2008 primary illustrated the tendency Democrats have in favoring a fresh face over a front runner. Consider the examples of then Gov. James E. Carter in 1976 and then Gov. William J. Clinton in 1992.
Surely someone will emerge on the Democratic side to challenge Clinton for the nomination. Somehow I do not see the Cinderella slipper fitting too well on Gov. Martin O'Malley.
There is, however, a lot of buzz buzzing about the potential of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-N.H. to make a run for the White House. The Washington Post, for example, had a story that addressed these potential rivals among other topics on Dec. 16 headlined, "Democrats divided on their path to 2016."
The story noted that, "Last week, the liberal group Moveon.org also announced that it would put at least $1 million into an effort to draft Warren, who has repeatedly said she does not intend to run for president." Warren is known for a strident populist message that could potentially serve as a striking contrast to Clinton.
In general terms Republicans tend to nominate a front runner who seems like it is his turn next. Some examples would be then Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988 and Sen. Robert Dole in 1996.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is making rumbling about making a run in 2016. One would think we'd have a certain amount of Bush family fatigue in our electorate. On the other hand, I'm sure there is still a network of donors and supporters that could be assembled without too much effort.
In terms of current GOP senators who may end up mounting a run for the presidency, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul would have a certain amount of appeal, especially among those oriented toward tea party goals.
However, it seems more likely to me that the next Republican nominee will emerge from the ranks of currently serving governors. There are several potential candidates I can see gaining traction.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is known for his take no prisoners rhetorical style and had quite a strong run as head of the Republican Governor's Association this recent election cycle. Gov. Bobby Jindal, La. and Texas Gov. Rick Perry both have established pro-business records that might attract a following in a primary battle.
Two other former members of Congress that get mentioned as potential national candidates are Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Indiana Gov. Michael Pence. Both men have established records as reformers in their respective states.
I'm personally a fan of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. He's been tested in three elections in the last four years, including a recall election. He has won all three in ordinarily blue leaning Wisconsin. His record shows that he can turn a budget deficit into a surplus and that he can reform systems in education that afford local school boards greater autonomy in their operations.
In my view the country can do better than a choice between Bush and Clinton.
Michael Zimmer writes from Eldersburg. His column appears on Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.