Donald Trump
Donald Trump may have a disgust for politics but will he be 'fired' from the race before he gets going?Reuters/Dominick Reuter

Another day, another Republican enters the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. There are now so many – a baker's dozen, perhaps more if another has entered the race while you've been reading this – and three more are expected to announce in the coming days.

So to keep track of the lot, I've compiled this handy primer on the race (and just like everyone in Washington DC, I'm an expert on politics – although I really have covered politics Inside the Beltway for 25 years, so trust me).

Let's start with the longshots, in order, and work up to the top contenders.

16. Donald Trump

Seriously, he's running. In his announcement speech, he said "I" 195 times, and also declared "I'm really rich". Sure, he's just looking for some media coverage in between tapings of his horrible TV show, but his message of common sense – and his disgust for politics as usual – is resonating with some. Still, he'll be out of the race in no time and back to combing over his hair full time.

15. Lindsey Graham

Who? Don't ask.

14. Bobby Jindal

The Indian-American governor of Louisiana was the talk of the town in 2012 but this time around, he barely registers in the polls. And he's a throwback to the social-issue phobic Establishment candidates of the past (he thinks schools should decide whether to teach evolution and his head nearly exploded after the Supreme Court gay marriage ruling). Jockeying for a veep slot.

13 and 12. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee

Two more blasts from the past who are singing out of the same hymnal. Americans – even conservative ones – aren't going to vote for single-issue candidates this time. Nowhere to go but down and out for these two.

Ben Carson
Can Ben Carson bring his neurosurgeon skills to the table and make an impact with the US public?Reuters/Rebecca Cook

11. Ben Carson

A tricky one. He's not a politician, and people like that. The famed neurosurgeon also delivers the Trump-type message: This country's in terrible shape precisely because politicians are morons. But he's got an unskilled team of political lightweights and he's timid in interviews, so he won't go far. Unless he does!

10. George Pataki

A three-term governor of liberal New York, he's a more moderate Republican who is pro-choice (you don't see that every day). A tax-cut champion, Pataki would be a formidable candidate if the field wasn't filled with so many skilled governors. One and done.

9. Rand Paul

The Tennessee senator wowed with a filibuster on privacy and grabbed headlines with a strong rollout after announcing, but he has since faded. He's having a hard time finding a moneyman to bankroll his campaign. His Libertarian bent attracts the Millennials but his weak foreign policy stances turn off the GOP base.

8. Ted Cruz

He's the talker of the bunch, a certified champion debater from Harvard. Unlike Paul, he's raising cash and can last until the primaries. But like Paul, he announced early and has since been overshadowed. Plus, he talks weird. Only one US senator has a chance this time, and it's not Rafael Edward Cruz.

Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina is business-savvy and could be the person to shake things upReuters

7. Carly Fiorina

She's a player and, while not a politician, she's running a powerful campaign early on. Able to target Hillary Clinton without fear of the sexism charge, the businesswoman has been all business – even showing up at a Clinton rally to steal the spotlight. While she won't be the nominee, she will be on the shortlist for veep.

6. Rick Perry

The governor of Texas forgot one of the three things he was trying to say in 2012, and became a Saturday Night Live joke. But he's since donned some smart-looking glasses and he's been studying up for this run. He delivered a powerful speech to start his campaign and he could easily rise into the top tier.

5. John Kasich

He's not even in the race yet but he's in the top five. A highly successful governor of Ohio (a swing state key in 2016), he's conservative through and through. He's a candidate many donors have been waiting for, and he'll build a strong team quickly. Plus, if Jeb Bush stumbles, Kasich becomes the Establishment darling.

4. Scott Walker

The guy won three elections in four years in liberal Wisconsin. He's got the conservative bona fides and a strong track record. He's not particularly good on his feet and so far has stumbled on the national stage. But he'll be in the race till the end.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
The New York Times doesn't appear to like Chris Christie, which means he's in with a shotReuters

3. Chris Christie

Don't sell him short. The New York Times hates him (always a good sign), but the guy won two elections in bright-blue New Jersey. And he's got the Jersey brawler in him. His campaign motto is "tell it like it is," and that's what he's going to do. He also can go head-to-head with anyone.

2. Jeb Bush

Obviously the Establishment front runner – and he's sucking up so much money, there soon won't be enough to go around. He owns Florida (another swing state), speaks Spanish fluently and, like Kasich and Walker, has a strong record. The question remains, though: Will America go for a third Bush?

1. Marco Rubio

He's the strongest candidate right now. A powerhouse on foreign policy, he brings a compelling personal story. Again, the New York Times hates him (remember the story on his driving record and the boat he bought?) Pro: He's the youngest candidate in the field. Con: He's the youngest candidate in the field.

But there's still nearly 500 days until election day. Anything and everything can change. Except not for Donald Trump. America to The Donald: "You're fired."

Joseph Curl is one of America's most leading political experts, with a body of work including extensive front-line stints in both Washington and New York.

He previously edited the Drudge Report, and recently set up his own aggregator, Right Read.