2016 Presidential Candidates: Jerry Brown Versus Rick Perry Could Be the Race to Watch


The Democrats are already thinking about the future. If this list is any indication, most of those thoughts are not happy. There are a few candidates who make sense to run for president in 2016. Hillary Clinton, fresh from her duties as the international face of the Obama White House, could probably have some appeal. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is technically my boss, so I won’t say anything more than to suggest that he’s got the charisma and courage to be a strong candidate. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is a semi rising-star within the Democratic Party.. He was more or less portrayed on The Wire, as cutthroat Mayor Tommy Carcetti.

After these candidates, the line-up breaks down. Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has won a few Senate elections , but is known for little else.  Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick spoke at a Democratic National Convention once, but he mostly just made Bay Staters wonder what happened to Mitt Romney. Patrickwon reelection by only 6% in a state where Democrats shouldn’t even have to campaign. Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) schoolmarmishness is charming in Massachusetts, but nominating her for the presidency would be roughly equivalent to the Republicans nominating Rush Limbaugh.

From here, the list peters out to current Vice President Joe Biden. Hey, why not an uncharismatic 70-something former senator who’s gaff-prone? He was vice president. His son is attorney general of the second smallest state in the union, and a judge-advocate currently serving in Iraq. Biden's other son is also an attorney.

The question in my mind is, "whatever happened to Governor Moonbeam?" Yes, California Mayor Jerry Brown, once anachronistically teased for his proposal to launch communication satellites in space, is back. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he wants to be president again. He has tried three times before. If you’re wondering why you have never heard of those bids, it’s because his most recent run was in 1992. That'sbefore a current average college freshman was born..

A lot of ideas that Governor Moonbeam ran on in 1992, like replacing income taxes with a flat tax and Value Added Tax (VAT), are more likely to find support with the Tea Party today than with the New York Times (which supported the plan then). Now we have a new Governor Brown. His ideas, like a tax on the super rich, aren’t particularly innovative, but Democrats should be able to get behind his endorsement of a high speed rail to reduce California’s greenhouse emissions.

There’s another thing that I like about his potential candidacy. Other Democratic politicians attempt to govern by modernizing Democratic policies. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has his deregulation plan. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has his battles with teachers' unions, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker has his school vouchers. 

In contrast, Governor Brown is completely unapologetic. He just forges ahead, like a liberal St. George on a quest for another dragon to conquer. If Edmund “Pat” Brown (Governor of California from 1959 to 1967) were still in power today, it’s hard to imagine that he would govern any differently than his son.

If nothing else, a Brown candidacy would throw into stark relief the American public that has faith in the New Deal Democratic system, against those who don't. . People said the 2012 election wasn’t a choice between Obama and Romney, it was a choice between two ideologies.

Why not make it a choice between two states instead? Texan Governor Rick Perry didn’t do so well the first time he ran for president, but, neither did Jerry Brown. So America, do you want to be Texas or California? The 2016 election is just around the corner. Let’s make it count this time.