GOP 2016: Who is Poised for Success?

By Victoria Venable

Elm Staff Writer

In our typical American fashion, the country has become obsessed with the race for the White House. Before his term is over, the country has gotten bored-or maybe disenchanted-with President Barack Obama and is ready to hear from the new man or woman.

We have had debates. We have indulged in the media’s analysis. We have quoted the polls. We are ready for [insert candidate of choice], but who will it be for the Grand Old Party? Should we be convinced by the national polls that are pointing excited fingers at Donald Trump?

In a crowded sea of Republican presidential candidates, Victoria Venable points to Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorna as the two candidates most likely to succeed and help their party as it moves into the future.
In a crowded sea of Republican presidential candidates, Victoria Venable points to Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorna as the two candidates most likely to succeed and help their party as it moves into the future.

I’m not convinced, and I’m not alone in my skepticism. Political scientists and commentators are baffled by the phenomena that is Trump-fever. People have been calling the 2016 election an anti-establishment election for months now. We see that candidates outside the Washington-Machine who aren’t tainted with past campaigns, insider secrets, and political scandal-are catching the attention of American voters. America is looking for an outsider. We have seen this before. Like a loyal golden retriever, the American public comes back to the names with experience, policy knowledge, and structure platforms. Even with this America  still wants the expertise of an insider.

So, for the next few months we will let Trump act as our drunk uncle, letting out his unfiltered complaints about establishment politics. We will entertain his wild ideas about national walls and China, but at the end of the day, we will be turning to a candidate that has formulated policy goals, a platform that realistically speaks to the people, and the experience to make it all happen. Conservative Political Action Committee annual convention in Washington, DC, America - 10 Feb 2012

Where will that leave the GOP in its search for a candidate? When the party is looking for a combination of insider and outsider politicians, I think that that is exactly what it will get. The best potential ticket combination? It is unconventional insider Marco Rubio and politically minded and conscious outsider Carly Fiorina.

Rubio, a Florida senator, is banking on the image of “a Senator with experience but not from the Senate,” according to The Washington Post. In countless interviews, including one with The New York Times, Rubio refers to himself as a senator who came into the political scene because he didn’t like where the country was going and wanted to change it. Although it is hard to look at a US senator who has been in elected positions for the last 15 years and say that he is not a career politician, Sen. Rubio has one thing going for him in this “anti-establishment” race: he does not look like a career politician. At a time when the GOP is in desperate need for younger, more diverse voters, Rubio could bring new support and influence to the party.

As for polls, Rubio has been on the upswing, with 7.6 percent in the Huffington Post average of national polls. The Wall Street Journal points to foreign policy as Rubio’s strongest strength but highlights his contested immigration policy as a potential GOP-deal breaker. Many are also questioning his economic literacy as a junior senator. Perhaps, Rubio is in need of a high-performing, business-minded running mate who could appeal to another demographic like women? This is where Fiorina comes in.

Fiorina has been making a name for herself in the business and technology sector for the last 30 years. She was the first woman to head a Fortune 500 company, and she plans to run on her reputation and credibility from her years at Hewlett-Packard. As NBC News and several other outlets have pointed out, Fiorina has very little chance of being the GOP nomination as she currently has no powerful backings from donors or party leaders. However, she could easily fit into the shoes of a vice president. Many believe that Fiorina’s gender could help create GOP support, making her a credible female voice, and articulating conservative criticisms of Clinton.

After the second GOP debate, media outlets were buzzing about Fiorina’s performance. Her leadership experience and “outside of Washington” persona is reminiscent of Eisenhower and seems to fit the needs of the current electorate for a candidate. Pairing this ‘outsider’ with Rubio could be the 2008 Obama ticket of the GOP in 2016.

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