Why you should care
Because one of these (mostly) dudes could become president.
There are plenty of reasons to hate on the long primary season, but lack of entertainment is not one of them. After all, this is the time when extreme hubris gets punctured — publicly— and presidential wannabes fall like Icarus into the arms of a polity that no longer wants them. We are not, it turns out, always sympathetic to secret love children or Argentine mistresses or traffic jams orchestrated out of revenge. Speaking of: Just how long does Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor who just won some of his allies a federal indictment, think he has, anyway?
In The Presidential Wannabes Who Can’t Go Home Again, OZY looked at Christie and other aspirants to the Oval Office who are no longer home-state heroes. Christie was polling at 35 percent in Jersey, according to the data from late 2014 through early 2015 — but Bobby Jindal stood at a woeful 27 percent in Louisiana. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, though, came out looking pretty: Poll numbers during the last month of his governorship, in 2006, were at 67 percent. Read more here.
As for the Dems — well, despite Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ entrance into the campaign — it still seems that Hillary Clinton is “inevitable,” as Arianna Huffington put it when she curated our PDB last month, and that Democrats, according to her, are worse off because of it.
That’s not the only uphill battle they might face: There’s also the challenge of playing on electoral lines drawn by Republicans in statehouses. In Can Democrats Walk a Tricky, Squiggly Red Line? OZY examined the situation in North Carolina. When Republicans gained control of the North Carolina Statehouse in 2010, they promptly set about redrawing voting districts for both state races and congressional ones. The power of their pens proved enormous. Not only did it entrench Republicans in the Statehouse, it also resounded nationally. Before the 2010 redistricting, for instance, North Carolina sent seven Democrats and six Republicans to Congress; after, it sent three Democrats and 10 Republicans. The picture is much the same across the country, where Republicans hold more statehouse power than at any time since the 1920s. Read more here.
Presidential races are another thing, of course, and in them a couple of states play a totally undeserved role — among them, one of our favorite places in the nation, Iowa. OZY’s Q&A with Rand Paul’s Man in Iowa, operative Steve Grubbs, went into some of the idiosyncrasies of the Iowa caucuses. They’re an hourslong voting process in the darkest depths of the Midwestern winter. The results carry outsize influence, especially when you consider that Iowa delivers only six electoral votes, and that, over the past 40 years, only three nonincumbents who won caucuses went on to be president. Read more here.