10 Moments From 2014 Likely to Influence 2016 Presidential Campaign
Posted on December 26, 2014(This originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank)
Amid all the year-end roundups and look-aheads, what were the moments in 2014 likely to have the biggest impact on the 2016 presidential election?
Here are my 10 picks:
1. Not ready for Hillary. The former first lady’s book tour was a bomb, foreshadowing a lackluster start to her second campaign for the White House.
2. In for Mitch. Rand Paul‘s aggressive support of his in-state colleague, Sen. Mitch McConnell, during the midterm campaign made him a friend for life, and the incoming Senate majority leader has said Mr. Paul can count on his support for the White House.
3. Bridgegate. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went from the 2016 Republican front-runner status to the back of the pack as news emerged of the politically motivatedclosing of lanes to access the George Washington Bridge, resulting in days of gridlock for some New Jersey residents.
4. Thad Cochran beats Chris McDaniel. The comeback victory by the senior senator from Mississippi marked the end of the tea party as a potent political force in American politics.
5. Ferguson riots. When protests and looting followed the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in a St. Louis suburb, and then a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved, the narrative got away from the White House and racial polarization returned to the political stage in a way that will prove detrimental to the Democratic Party.
6. Republicans capture the Senate. The GOP can now prove its ability to govern as it puts the Obama administration on the defensive through increased oversight.
7. Immigration is taken off the table.By issuing his executive order, President Barack Obama removed any need for congressional Republicans to do anything about immigration policy besides complain.
8. Cruzing for a bruising. The junior senator from Texas has alienated almost every one of his colleagues unnecessarily and gets blamed by his colleagues for allowing dozens of the president’s nominees to get confirmed.
9. Warren rises. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she isn’t running, but she galvanized the left to oppose an obscure provision in the Dodd-Frank regulations that had the blessing of outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
10. The restoration begins. Jeb Bush announces that he may throw his hat in the ring and the establishment closes ranks behind him.