GOP Tribes for 2016

Candidates are inching toward the start line with winks and nods.

Unlike other countries with low barriers to entry to parliament where multiple parties are normal, in the USA, there are really only two political parties. Officially, there are other parties but they really don't play on the national stage and for that matter rarely impact state and local races.

However, within the two major parties in the USA, there are distinct tribes.

In the GOP, they can be broadly described as: establishment Republicans, national security hawks, social conservatives, and libertarian/tea-party.

Of the current crop of possible candidates, how do they fit into these tribes?

In the establishment wing of the party:
Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Chris Christie. These guys really are the big three right now. If they really enter the race, they will draw a lot of the donor dollars and media oxygen.

There are others who have enough national standing for various reasons such that I would think they garner the "establishment" label. Rick Perry being from Texas (a big red state) leaps to mind. I would say he may also draw social conservatives too. Marco Rubio was originally a tea-party backed outsider but he has gained enough national stature that I'd consider him establishment now. Scott Walker has a national profile because of three tough elections in Wisconsin. I would think because of his fights with entrenched government interests within his state, he would get some tea-party support should he run.

John Kasich would be in this group but he hasn't made as much noise (unlike the above six) to indicate he is running. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan seems to have declared pretty clearly he won't run.

National security hawks:
John Bolton, Lindsey Graham, and Peter King. I think these would run to bring national security issues to the forefront but wouldn't be likely to actually get the nomination.

Social conservatives:
Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, and Bobby Jindal. Of this group, I think Jindal might be able to draw beyond social conservative circles because of this "wonky" persona and executive experience as a governor.

Tea-party/libertarian:
Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz. These are the guys who fire up the activists. Whether they can catch on beyond the hard core is another story.

I'm not certain where Carly Florina fits in this four division classification system.


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