On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, voters in the United States will make their choice for the nation’s next president. Although the election is still two and a half years away, the informal process of selecting the next president of the United States begins long before election day.
Even now, 29 months before election day, the potential candidates for the 2016 election are beginning to take shape. President Barack Obama’s second term, which began in 2013, is only a third of the way complete, but already the political chattering class is discussing who will succeed him and become the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017.
Some suggestions for who could be the next president are serious, and some are little more than pipe dreams. At this early stage, though, the pool of candidates remains just unpredictable enough to be interesting.
Serious, experienced politicians lead the list of potential candidates, of course. There is also talk of lesser experienced candidates, like celebrities, sports figures, and other wild cards whose entry into a presidential election would be a major story in the media.
The 2016 presidential election process formally begins on February 1, 2016, with the Iowa caucuses that kick off the primary season to pick the candidates for the major political parties. Before the Iowa caucuses, the presidential candidates will be engaged in a series of debates and media battles designed to help themselves separate from the pack.
So who is likely to throw his or her hat into the ring? And among those hopeful candidates, which one has the best chance to become the next president of the United States?
Lots of speculation exists already, whether it’s online, in the print media, or on television. Some legal European futures markets are even offering odds right now on who will be the next U.S. president. Candidate options range from longshot celebrities to lifelong politicians.
Here’s a look at 10 people who could be the next president of the United States, and their approximate chances to win the 2016 election.
10. Eva Longoria — Odds: 750 to 1
Eva Longoria is a popular television and movie actress. Best known for her 180-episode stint on the ABC comedy Desperate Housewives, which ended in 2012, Longoria has appeared in a variety of other television programs and films.
Longoria, 39, was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has recently become more involved in public policy. She received her master’s degree last year from Cal State Northridge, and in 2012 she was a fundraiser and campaigner for President Obama’s reelection.
9. Donald Trump — Odds: 200 to 1
New York-native Donald Trump, 67, became famous for his successes and failures as a business investor and real-estate mogul, but in recent years he has embraced new aspects of his celebrity as a television personality and political activist.
In 2010, Trump made headlines by saying he would have liked to run for president in 2012, although his candidacy never materialized. He seems to be taking things more seriously this time around, as Trump has already spent more than $1 million researching the possibility of running in 2016.
8. Chris Matthews — Odds: 150 to 1
Chris Matthews is a 68-year-old political commentator and news anchor for the cable network MSNBC. The Philadelphia native is well-known as a member of the Democratic Party, and his election-night coverage is a mainstay during election season.
While it’s way more likely that Matthews will be reporting on the 2016 election than running in it, some have suggested he might be a viable candidate himself.
7. Arnold Schwarzenegger — Odds: 150 to 1
Unlike anyone else on this list so far, Arnold Schwarzenegger has real-life political leadership experience, having served as the governor of California from 2003 to 2011. Before he was “The Governator,” Schwarzenegger was a Hollywood movie star, acting in dozens of films, including The Terminator film series and Kindergarten Cop. Before that, Schwarzenegger was a world-famous bodybuilder.
Though he has an impressive resume, there is just one problem. Schwarzenegger, 66, was born in Austria, and is thus ineligible to serve as president according to the United States Constitution, which requires presidents to be born in the United States. The Constitution, however, can be amended, and some have suggested changing the rules to allow The Governator to run in 2016.
6. Cory Booker — Odds: 80 to 1
Cory Booker recently won a high-profile election in 2013, defeating Steve Lonegan in the campaign for the junior U.S. Senate seat from New Jersey. Booker took office on October 31 last year. Before his Senate win, Booker was the well-known mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
Booker, 45, has only been a senator for seven months, so his presidential ambitions might have to wait until 2020 or 2024. Such a quick ascendancy is not impossible, however, as Barack Obama was elected U.S. President in 2008 before completing his first U.S. Senate term.
5. Paul Ryan — Odds: 16 to 1
Paul Ryan, 44, is a U.S. Congressman from Wisconsin, and has been in office since 2011. Ryan is best known for serving as the vice presidential nominee on the 2012 Republican presidential ticket, chosen to invigorate the conservative voting base as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Romney and Ryan lost the 2012 election to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, but many think Ryan might be back in the 2016 election as the Republican presidential nominee.
4. Elizabeth Warren — Odds: 16 to 1
Elizabeth Warren, previously a consumer rights advocate and law school professor, won a closely watched Massachusetts U.S. Senate election in 2012 to become her state’s first woman senator. Warren has energized progressive circles recently with her high national media profile and message calling for finance reform and consumer protection.
Although Warren, 64, insists she is not currently running for president, many political analysts give her the strongest chance to upset Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, if Warren decides to run.
3. Chris Christie — Odds: 14 to 1
Chris Christie, the current governor of New Jersey, is already well-known on a national scale for his distinctive personality and forceful political style. Christie, 51, was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention, and was seen as the future of the party as far back as 2010, when he assumed the New Jersey governorship.
Christie has spent this year dealing with political fallout from the Fort Lee lane closure scandal, or “Bridgegate,” in which Christie staffers were caught intentionally creating traffic jams in North Jersey in 2013.
2. Marco Rubio — Odds: 9 to 1
Marco Rubio is the junior U.S. Senator from Florida, taking office in 2011. Before that, he was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Rubio was vetted in 2012 as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney before the Romney campaign eventually chose Paul Ryan instead.
Rubio, 43, is now seen as the Republican with the best chance to win his party’s nomination in 2016, largely based on his “Tea Party” credentials that could turn out the conservative voting base.
1. Hillary Clinton — Odds: 5 to 4
Hillary Rodham Clinton has an impressive resume, having previously served as First Lady, U.S. Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. She also came in second in the 2008 Democratic primaries, bested by President Obama.
Clinton, 66, is the overwhelming favorite to win the presidency in 2016, with odds seven times more likely than anyone else on this list. Clinton, however, was also the overwhelming favorite in 2008, and she did not even win her party’s nomination. Time will tell if she can succeed in 2016.
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