So, it seems a little early to talk about this. We just finished an election with Obama winning another 4 years. It shows how pathetic Romney was that he couldn't beat a sitting president with a struggling economy and high unemployment. And the Republican nominee couldn't attack Obama on his most vulnerable issue (Obamacare), because Romney enacted the equivalent in Massachusetts.
While 2016 is far away, it will probably be less than 2 years when we start to hear about exploratory committees and listening tours. Assuming Obama doesn't nominate himself to be dictator, we will have several candidates from both major parties.
It doesn't seem to matter much who is elected president. Whatever the person says on the campaign trail, usually means nothing once they are in office. Most of the candidates are vetted thoroughly and they will go along with the establishment, once in office. If they split with the establishment, then they end up like JFK.
I do think we will see a difference in candidates in 2016, if in rhetoric only. The Republicans have been putting up Republicans who don't exactly fit in with the so-called conservative base and it hasn't worked out too well in the presidential elections. While I am sure there will be many different types of candidates running for the Republican nomination the next time around, I can actually envision a Tea Party favorite getting the nod.
There are two particular names that stand out to me. They are Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.
Rubio is a great talker. He is a lawyer and knows how to come off sounding good. He is extremely articulate. When it comes to economic issues, he comes across as favoring free markets and smaller government. I have no idea if this is an act or not, but we do know what happens when people get into a position of greater power. Of course, outside of economics, Rubio has been terrible on foreign policy and civil liberty issues.
Rand Paul is also a good talker. Perhaps he is not quite as suave as Rubio, but still pretty good. He also appeals to the conservative, small government types. He is mixed with support from libertarians. Personally, I could not support him, unless something drastic were to change. He is too political. I cannot trust him the way I trust his father. I don't know if Rand Paul would be principled enough to stand up for liberty if he were elected president.
I am also afraid of the Reagan syndrome with both Rubio and Paul. They are good talkers and they sound great to the libertarian when they are talking about smaller government and personal responsibility. This was Reagan. But when Reagan was in office he was not good for liberty. Perhaps he wasn't as terrible as Obama, but at least Obama has strong opposition from the conservative and libertarian side. Reagan somehow got a pass. He was good when it came to lowering marginal income tax rates. But he also raised other taxes. And the spending and deficits went up significantly under Reagan.
I could see Paul or Rubio getting into office and the left having a field day. They would be talking about unrestrained capitalism, while the policies would still be big government. And who knows what the economy will look like in 4 years.
It seems that Americans have a certain threshold for big government. After 4 years of Carter, with high inflation, high interest rates, and high unemployment, Americans wanted a smaller government message. I think after 8 years of Obama, and probably a disastrous economy, Americans will be ready to hear that message again. I wish it would be someone like Ron Paul, but unfortunately, it is more likely to be someone like Rand Paul or Marco Rubio.