Three (early) communications predictions for the 2016 race

It's never too early for presidential election predictions.

Prediction #1: Hillary Clinton will go around, above, and past the media.
Prediction #1: Hillary Clinton will go around, above, and past the media.

It’s never too early for presidential election predictions, even just months after the midterm races wrapped up as a resounding victory for the Republicans. Here are three predictions as candidates begin to position themselves for Iowa and New Hampshire.

1: Hillary Clinton goes around, above, and past the media. As of press time, the Democratic frontrunner had only answered an astounding seven questions from the media since entering the fray. That’s fewer than two questions per week.

The strategy is bound to continue to draw howls from the media, but don’t expect her to switch course unless there’s a sea change – an unlikely surprise candidate or a scandal on the level of emailgate – that requires an explanation.

There’s a good reason the former first lady isn’t courting the press: she doesn’t have to. For one, she has no serious challenger. (Sorry, Sen. Bernie Sanders.) But she also seems to have taken a page from the Obama administration’s book. In recent times, the White House has preferred tools ranging from interviews with YouTube stars to an appearance on Between Two Ferns to the mild-by-comparison West Wing Week to reach the public, with the occasional interview sprinkled in.

2. Rand makes a play for the youth vote. He’s answered questions on Snapchat, wrote an op-ed for PolicyMic, and even visited South by Southwest. Expect Sen. Rand Paul to take his libertarian views on a road less traveled by Republican candidates, drawing distinctions with himself and a previous generation of standard-bearers such as Mitt Romney. If the GOP stays true to its routine of nominating a seasoned candidate when it’s "his time," the strategy could eventually pay dividends for Paul.

3. Fiorina surprises. Expect the GOP faithful to flirt with a number of candidates before settling on a winner. All of the GOP candidates have weaknesses in their party’s eyes.

My bet is that former HP CEO Carly Fiorina gets a long look from voters. She has private-sector experience and has also come a long way from 2008, when the McCain campaign put her on time out for saying neither he nor Obama could run a major corporation. If she continues to surprise like she did with the clever ChuckTodd.org stunt on Meet the Press, expect primary voters to give her serious consideration that could put her on the VP shortlist. 

Frank Washkuch is news editor of PRWeek. He can be contacted at frank.washkuch@prweek.com.

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