Welcome to the first edition of PoliticalDerby.com’s 2016 Power Rankings, the original tracking service of the race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant and are compiled by our Editors using wire reports, polls, campaign staffer scuttlebutt and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet


Paul Ryan may have topped Marco Rubio (he’s Latino) in the Veep-Stakes, but after a brilliant convention speech, Rubio (he speaks Spanish) is the clear favorite in the early stages of the 2016 GOP race. Republicans know they must appeal to a broader voting base and nominating Rubio (not white) would be a historic step in that direction. The race could be his to lose, something Republicans are quite good at lately.


The Big Man of New Jersey ticked off Team Romney after slow dancing with President Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In some eyes, Christie has grown from a darling of the right to just another Northeastern moderate who will get his plate cleaned in a general election. Still, the salty-tongued Christie has many admirers and he’ll rock the boat in 2016.


Ryan did nothing to embarrass himself as Romney’s running mate, unlike the last Republican VP candidate. He remains popular in Tea Party circles as one of the most respected fiscal conservatives on the Hill. But running mates on losing presidential tickets have had little political luck in modern American politics, with only FDR overcoming his loss on the 1920 Democratic ticket to later win the White House. If the boyish congressman thinks the field will hand it to him in 2016, then he should stick to running sub 3-hour marathons. 

Jindal is a dream candidate for the Republican Party. He’s a brilliant conservative Southern governor with a jambalaya-sized knowledge of today’s pressing policy issues. But when the party needs snap, crackle and pop, Jindal’s personality is more Shredded Wheat. So while he might be perfect on paper, voters don’t select resumes. They select people.
Those who mistake Rand for Ron are not paying attention. Rand is smoother, more game to compromise and more a team player than his father ever was. Can Rand take the next step in the evolution of the movement his father started? Can he break through the Ron Paul 10% ceiling? Discount the new leader of the Paul brand at your own peril.


  • Anonymous

    Agree with almost all of the comments I have read except for the Alan West thingy.

    My personal rankings…wish list

    1. Rubio – Most articulate conservative voice out there.

    2. Jindal – A man of substance but I do agree with Wright that resume means nothing anymore. That is sad because this guy is a sharp capable leader.

    3.Rand Paul – Unlike “Dr. Paul”, Rand has yet to do anything or say anything that would place him in Kookville. He is a serious person but the Senate is a hard place to get elected from….unless you are a one term African American Community Organizer from Chicago, of course.

    4. Paul Ryan – A brilliant intellect but simply not enough gravitas to carry a Presidential run.

    5. Christi – I moved Christie down to five. I think his style gets old and tiresome fairly quick and his “bear hug” of Obama a week before the election was absurd and will not be forgotten, like Newt sitting on the couch with Nancy.

    PLEASE, GOP!!! Please do not run another Pizza mogul, radio dj, or any other complete novice. We need to run serious people that will elevate the party and not eliminate it.

    • Anonymous

      We need to stop running RINO moderates that are only Liberal-lite.

      • Anonymous


        Can I get a good “lesser of two evils” cliche as well. Its been about 6 minutes since I heard that one. It never gets old.

        • Anonymous

          Tired of hearing the truth eh? Obviously it hasn’t worked out for the GOP doing the same thing over and over again.

  • German Observer

    I think I was the first to cry for the Power-Rankings, and now as they are there, i can live with them quite well. Seems plausible to me, though – contrarary to my suggestion you left out Ron Paul (one Paul is not enough) and Donald Trump.

    Sooner or later we will se Santorum, maybe Heramnn Cain and certainly Jeb Bush on the list. But for the moment its finde I Think.

    What will influence the order of the rankings is, how the discussion about the reasons for the Republican defeat of last Tuesday turns out. And i am realyl really surprised, that this discussion does not really take place on PD. Are you guys still licking your wounds or are you too busy with wearing in your new socks?

    So, what is the main reason, why the Republicans failed overall in the presidential race, the Senate races and the house-races?

    Just back luck as Sandy came around?

    Was the message okay, but the messenger to weak and the campaign mismanaged?

    Do you have to work on the message?

    Message okay, messanger okay, but superior candidate on the other side?

    Message okay, messanger okay, opposing candidate roughly even, but superior campaign and electoral engeneering (GOTV etc.) on the other side?

    Or was it finally just these nasty liberal mainstream-media?

    What do the Rs have to work on, what has to change to be competitive again?

    • Anonymous

      A: Herman Cain killed any chance he had to run again when he pussied out when the heat came on.

      B: I look at the massive voter fraud and the fact that they re-elected someone like Obama and that tells me there isn’t much hope left for this country. There are more people latched onto the government hind teat then there are that want to save the country.

      To quote one of my favorite movies, “Game over man, Game Over!”

    • dw

      The GOP powers that be just keep moving the party more to the left, to the point that the party has become Democrat-Lite. IMHO, the voters who would typically vote Republican, don’t like what they see in the GOP, and I think the lower turnout reflects that opinion.

      If the GOP is going to distinguish itself from the Democrat Party and Libertarian Party, they need to stick to the following and present 1-3 year plans for accomplishing these goals in plain, simple terms:

      1. Reduce size of Federal Government and move responsibility for social programs and education to the States

      2. Dramatically and quickly reduce spending at the Federal level

      3. Replace the IRS with the FairTax (or a similar plan)

      4. Overhaul immigration so that the path to citizenship is not so long and costly, and impose severe penalties on both illegal aliens and employers who hire them

      5. Clearly articulate social conservative values and what impact, if any, those values will have on how they serve the People.

      • Steve M.

        I think your first three are the issues that the GOP needs to hammer home (I think the FairTax is a loser, but a “simpler tax code” is a winner — politically, I have no comment on whether the plan works, just a comment on it politically). I think 4 & 5 go off the rails.
        Imposing “severe penalties on illegal aliens” is not the road to gettting the GOP elected. The GOP needs to overhaul its immigration stance and come up with a path to citizenship. Once they get past this issue, many immigrants and Hispanics become much more conservative.
        I don’t think social issues are a winner for the GOP either. I think the tide has turned against conservaties on most popular social subjects and it’s not a winning proposition to push very hard. Marriage equality is a foregone conclusion (I think and hope) and most other issues end up killing the female vote.

        • Anonymous

          I agree that gay marriage is foregone conclusion. I do not believe that is the case with abortion. The GOP, and over half the country, is Pro-Life. The GOP is and at its heart should remain the abolitionist party and continue to fight for the protection of human rights and the basic fundamental right to exist. Technology, more than any anti-abortion rhetoric has done more to change the hearts and minds on abortion than anything else. With 3D imagery people with an IQ of a three year old can now see with their own lives what a human life looks like in the womb.

          Those who continue to deny what is an obvious reality will lose this argument over time.

          • Steve M.

            Brian, I am with you on the Pro-Life thing. But I don’t think it’s a winning issue for the GOP. That’s not to say drop it from the platform … but don’t campaign on it (see Santorum, Rick). There are far more effective and likely ways to reduce the number of abortions than making it illegal. Increased access to low-cost contraceptives, increased access to free or low-cost pre-natal care & education. Full, no hassel adoption services. All things that both sides can support. I love for a candidate to try to make these arguments instead of shouting about the other side hating women (or hating babies — depending on who the other side is). I think of all people, Hillary actually did a good job of this in the Senate and Bob Casey is an excellent example now. As is (and will be in the Senate) Joe Donnelly.
            I don’t think carrying a torch for banning abortion is a winning argument … I don’t think that means it should no longer be on the agenda … just not a go-to issue.

            • Anonymous

              I agree with much of what you say.

        • dw

          I understand your point, Steve. But, without the social issues, what would make the GOP different from the Libertarian party?

  • Alaina

    I would support any of those guys, except Christie. I like Christie, but I’m sick of moderates…

    Any thoughts on Scott Walker or Bob McDonnell? How about Rob Portman or Kelly Ayotte?

  • Anonymous

    Drop Christie completely. Substitute with Mike Pence.

    • Alaina

      Pence just got elected to Gov… I doubt he’ll run until 2020…. Although I would absolutely love it if he did.

  • Anonymous

    What about Allen West?

    I would drop Christie to 6th, move Ryan to 2nd Rand up to 3rd and insert West at 4th.

    • David Kaiser, Editor

      The guy may lose his House seat after one term, and you want to put him at 4th?

      • Anonymous

        Troy’s got a thing for West for some reason, despite the fact he seems diametrically opposed to what Troy claims to stand for. *shrug* He wouldn’t have a shot anyways, his rhetoric is way too hardline. He makes GWB look like a pussy.

        • Anonymous

          West is a joke. I have no idea why Troy thinks this guy should be within a thousand miles of a presidential ticket.

          • Anonymous

            We know how well the candidate you picked did. West would have won.

            • Anonymous

              Sure, Troy. OK. The guy that just lost his own small congressional district would have defeated the incumbent president.

              Did they also legalize weed in Nevada?

            • David Kaiser, Editor

              The electoral track record of the candidates you support speaks for itself.

      • Anonymous

        I have little faith in the recount but it wasn’t West that lost the election, it was stolen.

        • Anonymous

          Romney didn’t lose, either. The election was “stolen”.

          • Anonymous

            There is evidence to support that theory too.

    • Steve M.

      Nothing would make me happier than for Republicans to fall into the trap of “we’re not supporting candidates who are conservative enough” and “elect more people like Allen West.” That’s the way to ensure that whoever the Democrats nominate could waltz into the White House in 2016.