The Glut of Second-Tier 2016 Candidates Has People Grasping for New Ways to Say ‘Long Shot’

City and State to Issue Proclamations to Texas Motor Speedway
Rick Perry takes a long shot. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Former governors Rick Perry and Lincoln Chafee both announced their presidential bids this week. They were beaten to the 2016 announcing race by so many other candidates that people are running out of novel ways to explain why each successive batch of White House wannabes will probably never be president. 

However, that doesn’t mean that people have stopped trying. Here is an appreciation of election observers’ valiant efforts to try to find the perfect metaphor or backhanded compliment to capture the exercise in futility that being the nth presidential candidate can be.

Lincoln Chafee
Rhode Island Public Radio

“Lincoln Chafee’s announcement that he is seriously considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential  nomination brings to mind sports broadcaster Al Michaels’ famous call from the USA hockey team’s upset victory over the USSR in the 1980 winter Olympics: Do you Believe in Miracles? That’s pretty much what is would take for Chafee to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2017.”

Rick Perry
Strategist Ford O’Connell

For him to win the nomination, he’s going to have to be great, but a lot of people are going to have to trip and fall along the way.”

Senator Lindsey Graham
Sherry Gardner, former co-chair of the Republican Party in Guthrie County, Iowa

“He just doesn’t seem to me like he’s a strong enough candidate. I don’t think he’s got a snowball’s chance in poop to win it.”

George Pataki
Consultant Rick Wilson

“Basically, it would be like a monkey flying out of a unicorn’s ass.”

Martin O’Malley
Presidential historian Allan Lichtman

“He has a mountain in front of him, and that mountain would have to implode.”

Mike Huckabee
Columnist Steve Chapman

“His new book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, has a title you would use if you aspired to be president — president of Waffle House.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
New Hampshire State Representative Jack Balcom

“He’s not going to be the nominee, for sure. We’ve got a lot of other good candidates and you know, Christie does have that baggage with the bridge, unfortunately.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Nate Cohn

“The most interesting question about Mr. Cruz’s candidacy is whether he has a very small chance to win or no chance at all.”

Donald Trump
Former New Hampshire Attorney General Thomas D. Rath

“It’s a free country and he can do whatever he wants with his money, but the notion of him being elected president is pretty remote. Running for president shouldn’t be a reality show that you watch once a week.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak

“I wouldn’t call it hopeless.”

Senator Rand Paul
Reihan Salam

“Rand Paul will not be the next president of the United States. If I’m proven wrong about this, I’m prepared to get a prominent tattoo of Rand Paul taking his place on Mount Rushmore.”

Representative Peter King
Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak

“What major donor is going to prefer Peter King to Chris Christie? Maybe King’s family members.”


2016 Presidential Long Shots Are Literary Muses