Tuesday, May 5, 2015

With the addition...

...of Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson yesterday and Mike Huckabee today, the field of Republican candidates for president just doubled, to six. If you include Jeb Bush and Scott Walker the number will grow to eight. Add in some combination of Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, John Kasich, John Bolton, George Pataki and -- what the heck -- Donald Trump (puff, puff) and you're well over a dozen. (Question: How big of a stage will you need for that first debate?)

Where am I going with this? Since all of the candidates basically agree on the issues: cut spending, slash taxes on the rich job creators, repeal Obamacare, blah, blah, blah, how on earth will they distinguish themselves in such a crowded field?

And the answer must surely be: Say something outrageous to get attention. And that outrageous thing will almost surely be to the right of any other candidate.

So what? you might be thinking. But if someone says something outrageous and extreme and it vaults them into contention it could force the frontrunner to the right as well. (Think Mitt Romney and immigration in 2012.) And that means by the time the party settles on its candidate, the standard-bearer could very well be too far out of the mainstream to win a general election.

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