For 2016 Presidential Race, Look for Hillary Clinton vs. Rick Santorum

These Guesses Follow a Predictable Pattern

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | As soon as Barack Obama was re-elected on Nov. 6, speculation quickly turned to who might run in 2016. Hillary Clinton and Rick Santorum are two names frequently tossed around as likely choices.

Why Santorum runs

Santorum's primary victory in 2016 would follow a typical pattern in American politics, at least in recent history. The candidate who gets second place in his or her party's contested primary in one year typically wins the nomination the next time a primary is contended without an incumbent.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., came in a distant second to George W. Bush in 2000 for the GOP nomination. Eight years later, McCain was the chosen candidate to take on Obama. Mitt Romney came in second to McCain in 2008. In the 2012 race, Romney was the frontrunner in 2012 after earning name recognition in 2008. The pattern holds even farther back for Republicans. Bob Dole was the nominee in 1992 but was the runner up in 1988 to George H.W. Bush.

Santorum compared himself to Ronald Reagan in 1976 when he told The Weekly Standard he was "open" to a run in 2016. The piece, published Nov. 26, quoted the former senator from Pennsylvania when he called American politics a "fight... [for] the soul of the Republican Party...."

Why Clinton runs

The 2008 election was historic when two female candidates dominated the field--Clinton and Sarah Palin. Clinton was the runner up to Obama while Palin was on McCain's failed ticket. Victory in the Democratic primary is hers for the taking due to the runner-up status in 2008. As a trailblazer, Clinton can easily be the first female candidate for president.

A New York Times piece from Dec. 11 claims Clinton will be a "formidable" opponent in 2016 because of her years in the public eye, her many connections to donors and the lessons she learned in the 2008 primary season.

Clinton asserted to ABC News she doesn't "believe" she will run for nationwide office again. She'll be 69 years old when the election happens, which is something going against her. However, Obama was coy about running for president as late as a May 2006 article in Time magazine. Two years later, he was the Democratic nominee.

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