While Republicans are considering which of their prospective candidates should be their choice for the general election, I think it is also important that Democrats consider which of these candidates would be best for them. Of course, none of them are really the kind of person you would want in the Oval Office. A few of them seem better suited to rubber rooms. However, they are not all created equal. Here is my assessment:
Rand Paul is very popular with the young conservative crowd and even won the CPAC straw pole. He is the type of libertarian from which all redeeming aspects of libertarianism have been excised. This will help him in the Republican primaries since this is the most common type of libertarian. I think Rand Paul is worth being concerned about, not because most voters in the general election won't find his ideas odd, but because his odd ideas make him interesting in a way that the other Republican hopefuls are not. Avoid.
None of the other Republican candidates wears his/her contempt for humanity on his/her shoulder quite as plainly as Ted Cruz. This makes him an ideal candidate. He has all of the crossover appeal of Bernie Sanders: he relates to other organisms primarily by regurgitating Tea Party talking points. He becomes flustered when this doesn't have the expected effect, but lacks the intellectual depth and flexibility to try a different strategy. Promote Ted Cruz to your Republican acquaintances!
Jeb Bush is a moderate, to the extent that moderates harrangue people across multiple years for asking that their spouses be allowed to die with dignity. He is also a Bush, meaning he is the heir of an impressive history of mediocre governance, assuming he can persuade the nation to forget that his brother was once president. The fact the nation only recently recovered economically, and has still not recovered in a foreign policy sense, from the bold policies of George W. Bush, make him a better candidate than he would be on his merits alone. Endorse with caution.
While he may remind you of your dopey Upper Midwestern cousin, Scott Walker is not to be trifled with. The fact that he has been able to drive his state into a profound fiscal emergency, and at the same time has succeeded in convincing much of the nation that his has just rescued the same state from a profound fiscal emergency, indicates that Scott Walker has a reality distortion field much like that possessed by the late Steve Jobs. I believe that he may have murdered Jobs in order to obtain this important piece of technology. If this is so, the device will probably be rendered inoperable by successive operating system upgrades. Nevertheless, avoid.
Ben Carson is, by all accounts, a skilled surgeon. Like many highly skilled physicians, he is not particularly good at other things, but is incapable of confronting this fact. His current function in the current conservative movement is to provide cover for the racist views of the base (“I can't be a bigot: I have a ‘Run Ben Run’ sticker”). Earlier in his career, he actually said many sensible things, but he stopped doing this after he discovered that there was a niche market for black men spouting far-right insanity.
Senator Tom Cotton is a younger, thiner, more hawkish Dick Cheney. He has recently risen to prominence through his patriotic attempt to scuttle negotiations with Iran by writing a condescending and factually inaccurate letter of encouragement to Iranian hardliners and by convincing 46 other senators to sign it. He is particularly popular with that segment of the population that is exhilarated by the prospect of perpetual war on three fronts. Interestingly, he has a degree from Harvard, which some have taken as evidence that Harvard experimented with an affirmative action program for halfwits. The fact that his policy prescriptions seem to have been distilled from a couple of years of Rush Limbaugh transcripts make him a strong general election candidate (for Democrats).
Bobby Jindal has been largely replaced by Ben Carson as the token minority political figure willing to say patently false things that make white conservatives feel good. He has attempted to reverse this trend by calling out desperately for attention and answering questions no one asked him. It is unnecessary to decided whether or not to urge him on your conservative associates since they will, within days, have forgotten who he is.
Chris Christy has the distinction of having been elected governor of a Blue state and of refining ham-fisted vindictiveness to a new level. Since so many Americans love ham-fisted vindictiveness, he would be a formidable foe in a general election. But though he shares with the Tea Party the ability to make any factually-minded person writhe with pangs of frustration, the Tea Party doesn't really cotton to his policy positions. He will never make it to the general.
Carly Fiorina all but drove Hewlett Packard into the ground, and promises to do the same for the United States. She is said to be female, which might provide an advantage in the Republican primaries if, like Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann, she had her divorce from reality finalized. As things are, she will never become the Republican nominee. Ignore.
Mike Huckabee is a former Southern Baptist preacher and a former governor of Arkasas, yet somehow he displays some confusion about church/state issues. His career has been crowned by his magisterial ability to put a soft edge on the hard right. He has a way of making Christian Nationalism feel like a warm Jesus blanket. Republicans don't seem too keen on him right now, which is good because he differs from most of the Republican field in having meaningful experience governing. Oppose.