It’s spring, and the water must be fine, because everybody’s jumping in. Carly Fiorina leaped in Monday with Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee will follow Tuesday. Republicans have never had such diversity.
There’s two Cuban-Americans who speak fluent Spanish, a Baptist preacher who speaks fluent old-time values, a black man and a white woman, and “a big mule” from the Republican establishment with more than his big toe in the water. There’s more to come, including an Indian-American governor. They all appear to be comfortable in their “gender,” and if Bruce Jenner, a newly discovered transgender conservative, Republican and Christian can be persuaded to run the party would have left no stone unturned. It’s a year like no other just ahead.
Once upon a time a presidential candidate with no experience would have been relegated to the cheap seats, told he could watch if he kept quiet. Presidential candidates were expected to get their experience as a governor, or marinated in the U.S. Senate, and only then to present themselves as worthy to be considered a likely candidate for president. The presidency had never been a position for on-the-job training.
But nobody is laughing at Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina. They’re the longest of long shots, but they expect to be taken seriously. Only yesterday the idea of a black president was the stuff of pipe dreams, and now there’s a credible black candidate setting out to succeed a black president. Is this a great country, or what?
“In terms of style and rhetoric,” says Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist, tells Fox News, “[Huckabee]’s at his best talking to white working-class voters who feel left behind by Washington and shut out by the economy.” These are just the voters once locked up by the Democrats. The world is turned upside down.