U.S. Democrats Have Clinton, But Race For Republican Presidential Contender Wide Open For 2016

While it may be a foregone conclusion that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the Democrats' pick for the 2016 White House race, the Republican ticket remains wide open, experts said.

To prepare for her race, Clinton is kicking off an unofficial public relations campaign with the recent release of her new book, "Hard Choices," which was followed by a nationally televised interview on Sunday. 

But Republicans have no such early starter, although most analysts and pundits at this early stage of the game point to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Still, analysts said the Republican Party's field for the 2016 nomination is far from clear, especially after the recent surprise victory of a relatively unknown Tea Party candidate over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia's Republican primary elections.

Other experts said the Republicans will be seeking a candidate to whom ordinary Americans can relate, as Clinton, a former First Lady, is often regarded to be hard to connect with ordinary Americans.

"What the Republicans are really looking for at the end of the day is a current or former governor who can say 'I'm not a bean counter for Wall Street. I'm a defender of Main Street,'" Republican strategist Ford O' Connell told Xinhua.

"You have to be able to bridge that white and blue collar divide," he said. "It will come down to who can pass what I call the 'beer litmus test' - which candidate would you rather have a beer with."

Read more from Matthew Rusling at ShanghaiDaily.com

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Analysis & Political Strategy