As we approach the mid-summer before the 2016 election year, Americans find themselves well ahead of any previous presidential election. The Democrats likely will nominate the best ABC candidate -- Anybody But Clinton -- as they did in 2008. My money is on Biden.
Republicans have five serious candidates and five who do not realize they are not serious candidates.
First, the five with a shot at it -- in order of their chances.
1. Scott Walker. Actions speak louder than words and he did a bang up job as governor. But he needs to work on his presentation. He is a weak speaker and interview subject. However, he does stay on message.
2. John Kasich. The smoothest guy out there. While Mike Huckabee was doing cornpone with his Fox News show, Kasich used his to refine his skills and fatten his wallet. He has an exemplary record as governor. Adopting Obamacare was a misstep but a small one. His commercials just blow me away. Reagan would envy them.
3. Carly Fiorina. She is the most media savvy person running in either party. The media fawns over the Democrats and are hostile to her. She plays it to her advantage remarkably well. She goes after Hillary Clinton and has co-opted The Donald's immigration policy.
4. Marco Rubio. Slick. Good-looking. Closest to a JFK the Republicans have ever come. Can we trust him to stay conservative?
5. Ted Cruz. The darkest horse. Every time I write this guy off, he does something to extend his stay on my short list.
Now let us look at the message candidates who will shape the party's platform -- in order of their impact.
1. Donald Trump. He knows that he will not be president, OK? So what? He has money to burn. Let him. He is taking a stand against the Democratic Party. His immigration policy -- build a big, thick wall -- resonates. He knows what H. Ross Perot did. I don't think he will bolt for a third party run especially when Republicans adopt his stand. He stays on message, which also is why he has traction.
2. Rick Santorum. He gets bad press just like Trump, but he resonates. Protesting abortion and gay marriage will not alienate as many voters as the Washington press corps thinks -- and it will invigorate a long neglected voting bloc. Give him a nice time slot in Cleveland. Hope he prays in the middle of the speech. America needs him -- just not as president. We need someone to remind us that just because it is legal does not make it right.
Finally, let's look at the three who do not realize they do not have a ghost of a chance of getting the nomination -- in order of delusion.
1. Chris Christie. When he bad-mouthed the unions in 2010, he had a cameraman capturing each moment for You Tube. He was a darling until Scott Walker really took on the unions in 2011. Chris Christie has shown he is a blowhard who supports Democrats.
2. Jeb Bush. He is a Bush. We are Bushed. No. Just no.
3. Rick Perry. Four years ago he was on painkillers and sadly blew up in a debate as a presidential contender. Maybe if there were fewer alternatives this election cycle, Governor Perry would get his due. I like him and would vote for him but time has passed him by.
4. Rand Paul. He has spent his political career trying to show he is not as bad as his daddy. So far he hasn't.
5. Bobby Jindal. Failed governor of a failed state. Didn't stop Bill Clinton, but the Republican Party has standards.
The rest are only in it for the money. Dr. Ben Carson will get a Fox Business Network show out of the deal. Mike Huckabee had one. What is Lindsey Graham's point? Is he the Republican Jimmah? And finally George Pataki has arrived from 2008.
It's 2016, man.