National Journal: Republican Primary Wide Open

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

At National Journal, veteran political writer Charlie Cook explains why so many people are seeking the Republican presidential nomination:

People embark on a presidential odyssey for a wide variety of reasons. Some have very plausible chances of winning, but in the back of their minds, they might also see a running-mate slot or Cabinet position as a possible consolation prize. Others—à la Jimmy Carter—may not seem obviously viable but are hoping for lightning to strike. Some may have a specific issue or agenda that they want to spotlight or advance, while others are just looking to boost book sales or speaking gigs. For good measure, toss in a little ego gratification from the attention.

But the fact that we are looking at such an enormous number of GOP candidates in this year’s cycle tells us a few more important things. First, there is a strong sense that the hierarchical tradition of Republican presidential nominations may not apply in 2016. Jeb Bush is not intimidating anyone out of this race; the fact that this field is expanding rather than contracting underscores that point and reflects the reality that this is a wide-open contest, more so than any GOP nomination race in modern history.

Read the entire thing.