Former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee is poised to jump back into the American political spotlight after announcing on Tuesday, May 5 his intent to pursue the Republican nomination in the upcoming presidential campaign of 2016.
Huckabee, having made his last significant public appearance in his 2008 campaign for the presidency, made his announcement at the University of Arkansas Community College in Hope, AR, which is the hometown of both Huckabee and Bill Clinton.
This announcement came in the form of a speech entitled “From Hope to Higher Ground.” Huckabee remarked that Barack Obama’s promises for hope and change were “just talk.”
He also pledged to correct some of the most poignant issues, such as veterans’ benefits, social security, and terrorism, all of which are still drawing scrutiny to the Obama administration.
Huckabee’s speech is just one more in a string of four similar announcements occurring in the last 10 days alone. Huckabee joins the race for the Republican nomination alongside neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who announced his candidacy on May 4, and Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of the Hewlett-Packard Corporation, who also announced her participation on Monday.
These three are the latest to join an already crowded race for the Republican nomination, which will include a number of familiar faces including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and possibly Rick Perry.
While the results of the upcoming nominations are relatively transparent on the side of the Democrats, given the Democratic Party’s widespread support of Hillary Clinton, the Republican nomination is significantly more difficult to guess at.
Huckabee’s campaign, for example, will likely be troubled by his open opposition to same-sex marriage on the basis of religious convictions, an issue that has already put a number of especially conservative Republicans in hot water.
Huckabee is quoted as contending in a speech to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition that the issue is “not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible,” and that the extension of marriage equality to same-sex couples would not figure into his platform “unless God rewrites [the Bible], edits it, sends it down with his signature on it.”
Given recent opposition to this approach to the issue of same-sex marriage, Huckabee might have a tough time proving the possibility of his candidacy in a nation now openly considering the possibility of permitting same-sex marriage at the federal level.
Carson and Fiorina may face similar problematic issues as they enter the race for the nomination. Neither candidate has any extensive participation in the political scene, though both have built impressive careers and potentially powerful constituencies.
Carson may be helped slightly by the story of his personal journey from poverty to neurosurgery, while Fiorina may have a foot in thanks to her considerable experience with the inner-workings of corporate America.
Neither, however, is predicted to be among the front-runners. What exists of Fiorina’s political history, including an unsuccessful Senate campaign against California incumbent Barbara Boxer in
2010, suggests that a rise to the Republican nomination may be difficult.
As the list of Republican candidates becomes increasingly crowded, the Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election is currently anybody’s guess. What is sure, however, is that Carson, Fiorina, and Huckabee will be jumping into an especially difficult race in the midst of an especially important campaign for the Republican Party.
-Austin Wash ’16, Senior Politics/Opinons Editor