5 Republicans Who Ran for President in 2016 and May Try Again in 2020

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Five Republicans who took a shot at the Presidency in 2016 may try for better luck in 2020. A large and promising field in 2016 didn't go quite as planned, but expect at least a couple of these rising stars to make another go at it. Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, John Kasich, and others are the least likely of the 2016 cast to make a return trip into presidential politics.

Ted Cruz

Pros - He has a huge and active fan base and is a genuine outsider and the legal career Barack Obama could have only dreamed of.

Finishing with the 2nd greatest number of pledges delegates in 2016 helps his case.

Cons - His flashy and headline-grabbing style was actually kidnapped by Donald Trump in 2016, and he never got it back. Establishment Republicans think he has no chance of winning and would work to undermine his campaign in the primary. And 2016 showed how Cruz would struggle to get to 50% of delegates. Even after being the last logical option to stop Trump, Republicans were slow to embrace him. He did well in Texas and mostly smaller caucus states, or states that chose delegates through a convention.

Rand Paul

Pros - Paul worked overtime on outreach campaigns with voting groups not typically associated with Republicans. His approach and public positioning has been very measured, and very much the opposite of his free-styling father. An that's a good thing. But...

Cons - Not being Ron Paul actually hurt, and he lost a chunk of his father's supporters to Trump.

Paul's flaws are most apparent in those occasional times where he reminds us of his dad, Ron Paul, with some of his statements. Reflecting poorly on Rand, dad also manages to drop the odd-ball comment on a regular basis, especially on foreign policy, making many fear the closeness of the apple and the tree.

He still raises some concerns with his foreign policy positions.


Marco Rubio

Pros - Perhaps the most gifted speaker on the Republican side, Rubio shines when he lays out his conservative vision for America. He is Catholic and Hispanic, two voting groups the GOP could use a voter-boost from. He toppled a popular Republican Governor in the 2010 US Senate race in Florida after being given little chance early on. He could be an acceptable candidate for both conservatives and moderates.

Cons - Everyone targeted Rubio and ignored Trump in 2016, and Rubio left midway as the 3rd best-performing candidate. His push for immigration reform proved to be a setback. An exhausting 2016 race, where he couldn't catch a break, may have him staying in the private sector.

Chris Christie

Pros - None

Cons - Chris Christie endorsed Trump. Christie has shown a willingness to attack Republicans and conservatives, but rarely goes after Democrats. Would he be willing to go after Hillary Clinton? He has tried to have it both ways on many issues, including illegal immigration and gun control. He's vindictive and not very conservative. But he will also be finishing up his second term of governor and likely have little else to do.


Scott Walker

Pros - The Wisconsin Governor is about as Reaganesque as one could want. He has one two elections in "progressive" Wisconsin, including a union-driven recall election. He's pressed and succeeded in pushing a conservative agenda in an unlikely state. He is a little more low-key than most other Republicans, but that may be exactly what voters want in 2020. Walker will be coming off two terms as Governor, and may even have started a third term, if he decides to run for re-election.

Cons - He was viewed as too "vanilla" on the campaign trail in 2016 and dropped out long before the first contest. Today, politics is more about personality and emotions than how good at a particular job any candidate would be. More people thought Mitt Romney would be a better President than Obama had been, but they voted for him based on empathy.

Nobody even cared that Trump was getting crushed in poll after poll against Hillary.