Tags: Trump Administration | MidPoint | John Fund | Rick Santorum | Mike Huckabee

John Fund: Huckabee, Santorum Split Evangelicals in 2016

By    |   Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 02:51 PM

If Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum both run for president in 2016, they will split the primary votes of most conservative evangelicals and open the path for the nomination to somebody else, political columnist John Fund told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

Whether "somebody else" turns out to be the probable favorite of GOP insiders, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is an open question, according to Fund, who told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner, "I'm not completely convinced that Jeb Bush is running; he still has to square some things with this family."

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If Bush does join the race, Fund said, "He'll be an establishment choice, but he'll be probably the most conservative choice of the establishment we've had in decades."

Newsmax contributor Fund, a columnist for National Review Online and an editor at the American Spectator, joined "MidPoint" to discuss the Republican Party's presidential prospects, and how it will operate with majorities in both chambers of the new Congress that starts work on Tuesday.

Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee, a 2008 candidate for president, is giving up his Fox News television program to explore another run, and while he would enter the field as "a distinct underdog," it would be premature to count him out, said Fund.

The issue is what happens to Huckabee if Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who ran for president in 2012, returns in 2016, and the two slug it out for a constituency that likes them both.

Among possible candidates, those two are considered the most ardently pro-life, the most at ease with religious "values voters," and the most vocal in defending marriage as a heterosexual institution. In states like Iowa, Santorum captured many of the 2012 primary votes that went to Huckabee in 2008.

"So if both Santorum and Huckabee run, they may do very well in terms of getting a better TV gig and better speaking engagements and more notoriety, but it would diminish the chances of either of them going forward to the nomination or the vice presidency," said Fund.

Whoever emerges, a large field is a positive development for the party, said Fund.
 
How Bush would fare in the mix remains to be seen. Fund said that Bush "is making all the right moves in terms of positioning himself for the nomination," but he noted that Bush hasn't been on a ballot since 2002.

"That would lead some people to say he's rusty," said Fund. "Other people would say let's see him perform on the stump."

Another Republican who was facing a vote — this one inside Congress — is House Speaker John Boehner, who on Tuesday won enough votes from his Republican colleagues to retain the gavel.

Fund said the larger GOP caucus this time is a challenge, in that Boehner will have to lead a more ideologically diverse and argumentative group, while also moving bills that are palatable to enough Senate Democrats to overcome any attempts at a filibuster by the upper chamber's new minority.

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"Because the goal here is to put more and more legislation in front of President Obama and force him to either veto it — which will show him to be the liberal that he is, and damage some Democratic congressmen who stand with him — or reluctantly sign something, and some conservative principles would be actually enacted into law," said Fund.

Progress this year "is so important" because fewer substantive bills get passed in an election year, he said.

Fund also suggested that it's time to stop thinking of the GOP in tea party terms.

"The tea party after five years is a misnomer," he said. "There's no membership in it; anybody can declare themselves as a member of the tea party. There are a lot of outside groups that may or may not speak for the majority of Americans who support those principles.

"The bottom line, though, is the Republican Party now has a legitimate wing of the party which is going to be very insistent on not going with business as usual, demanding real change, real accountability, and that's always going to chafe up against the political realities as the leadership sees them," he said.

"But I'm glad we have that tension," said Fund, "because that's the kind of tension that you have in a party that's bidding to be the majority party. … If you don't have any arguments, it means you're probably a minority party. And the Democrats increasingly look like that minority party."

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If Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum both run for president in 2016, they will split the primary votes of most conservative evangelicals and open the path for the nomination to somebody else, political columnist John Fund told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
John Fund, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee
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Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 02:51 PM
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