G.O.P. Primary Breakdown

by Murfster35 –

gop dinosaur
It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I kind of thought it might be time to take another look at our friends over in Elephant Central and see how things are going over there. This lookie see will break down into 3 separate categories, with no overlap, Fringe Candidates, Mainstream Candidates, and Protest Candidates. Follow me below the orange Kos EKG for the breakdown, and remember, this is strictly my opinion based on mainstream articles, a little research, and well written diaries from the Daily Kos.

    First up, there are a couple of missing names here. To my mind, lazy, stealth, scrounging for a book deal or speakers fee candidates are worth either your or my time, so if you notice the M.I.A.s you’ll now know why.

Fringe Candidates. Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum. To look at this roster, you would think that this should be the bulk of the “power roster” for the GOP. All of these candidates have national name recognition and profiles. Two of them are former Presidential candidates, a sitting Senator and a sitting Governor. But to a man jackin’ one of them, they can’t get an ounce of traction to save their souls. They all look like they’re figure skating on a dry rink, stumbling around in circles and falling all over each other. Their fund raising is anemic, and the only thing saving them is the fact that their operations are so small that they can continue to fund them on what’s coming in.

My personal prediction, Jindal drops out next, followed very closely by Graham. They both have day jobs, although with Jindal’s popularity at home right now, the residents of LA. may be rooting for him to stay out on the road and out of their hair. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know why Graham is still in at all. When you can’t even get into a conservative conference in your own home state, what does that say about your campaign? Graham was reelected in 2014, but with all the turmoil in his party in congress, he’s going to have a hard time staying away much longer for aq pipe dream.

Huckabee and Santorum are both unemployed, and have all the time in the world to fluff up their speaking circuit and book royalty chops. Both have a small but rabid base, Santorum with rabid right to lifers and Deep conservative catholics, and Huckabee gets a nice little nod-nod-wink-wink fan club with from places like the Family Council and frothing evangelicals. But none of them have even the slightest shot of making it.

Mainstream candidates. Jeb! Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, John Kasich, and Chris Christie. Christie was a tough one to place, his polling and campaign have been so poor that he easily could have fallen into the “Fringe” category, but he’s still a prolific fundraiser and the head of the Republican Governors Assn. so I can’t write him off just yet.

This was supposed to be the main lineup in the 2016 G.O.P. “Dream Field”. The best and brightest, a wonderful smorgasbord of ideologies, skills and experience. And here they sit, scratching their collective asses, looking around dazedly and saying “Wha’ happened?”. Jeb! is the only one who has cracked 12% and can’t stay there, everybody else is fighting for scraps.

Rand Paul almost found himself in the “Fringe” category, and will certainly be there the next time around if he doesn’t get it together seriously. besides, when you’re now more focused on fundraising for your Senate reelection campaign than for your Presidential one, the cat is pretty well out of the bag on that one.

Kasich can still be dangerous, but he has a couple of serious conservative mountains to climb. First of all, he got a late start, and his name recognition is not where he’d like it nationally, and neither is his record. The other problem is his record, accepting the Medicaid expansion was a death knell to deep conservatives, and so was working across the aisle with Democrats to get it done.

Ted Cruz is raising money nicely, and is the heads on tea party champion, but so he’s been running pretty much a stealth campaign, refusing to engage with any opponents and not doing much on screen time. The smart money says he’s laying low, waiting to pick up Trumps supporters when he implodes, but at this point how exactly does he implode? As long as the Donald stays at or near the top, he ain’t going anywhere. And if that happens, when Cruz finally comes out from under the bushel basket and presents himself, more and more of the undecided voters will have coalesced to somebody else, making it harder for him to pick up support.

Marco Rubio is slowly bumping up in the polls, but nothing like a new U2 single or anything. His appearance may be one of his biggest problems. He looks like a kid dressed in his first communion suit and wearing his fathers dress shoes. His nasty habit of flipflopping on things like immigration and citizenship are not user-friendly to more mainstream Republicans, and yet his opinions are not rabid enough to attract the tea party. He had a poor 3rd quarter fundraising, which his campaign is already starting to spin, promising that October is going to be “YUUUUUGE” to steal a line from a competitor. He’s possible, and at least just barely inside of the top-tier, but I just don’t see where he finds a specific large base to push him to the top.

Jeb! This guy was supposed to be the Republican version of a coronation candidate. With his name recognition, fundraising abilities and profligate Super PAC, he couldn’t be beaten. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Oval Office. Jeb! is a disaster. He campaigns like he’s running for the directorship of the National Funeral Directors Organization, and he’s let Trump slap him around like a red-headed stepson. Multiple reports are saying that big donors have put him on a short leash, start showing some promise in the next 30-45 days, or the buckski valve gets shut off. All this being said, he is still the best positioned “establishment” Republican to make it through. His brother will fund raise for him, and still has his pockets of affection and respect. The establishment donors know that he is still the most acceptable candidate, and won’t totally abandon him. And his Super PAC has well over $100M to carpet bomb everybody in sight. But he has put himself in a real hole with his lackluster personality and campaign style.

Protest Candidates.Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. These are the troublemakers. The popcorn hull in the gum, the stick in the mud, the thorn in the side, the pain in the ass. Two of them were supposed to be “diversity candidates”, showing the Republican party as big tent but no real threat. The other was a rich fool fluffing his already Jupiter sized ego. Instead, they have turned the entire race on it’s ear. And the reason is simple. They are outsiders in a cycle where the vast majority of the G.O.P. base is in absolute rebellion against the RNC. Their fans are rabid, they will sit out if they don’t get what they want. Ted Cruz may be waiting for Trump to implode and collect the jackpot, but if Trump thinks he got hosed, I have absolutely no question in my mind that he will bolt third party, and the majority of his supporters will go with him.

Carly Fiorina is the weakest link here, for several reasons. First of all, she is the only one with experience running for a national office. Getting your head handed to you by Barbara Boxer is not a great start, and her “Demon Sheep” ad is such natural fodder that it will haunt her forever. But you can see that she didn’t learn a thing in that run about politics. Her personality is not good in politics, what she thinks of as coming across as forceful and assertive instead comes across as shrill and arrogant. She has a habit of playing fast and loose with the facts, such as with the Planned Parenthood video, and when she’s called out for it, she has no spin whatsoever, digs her heels in and triples down, calling out her critics for being “misinformed”. She wants to run on her business record all day, but her business record has taken more artillery hits than the French Maginot Line in World War II. And her response is to keep repeating ad nauseum the same canned claims of tough decisions and outstanding leadership that have already taken more hits than a Turkish hookah in a hash bar. She is most likely to be the first of the revolt candidates to fall by the wayside when her novelty wears off.

Dr. Ben Carson. To my mind, the most dangerous of the rebels, for a couple of reasons. First of all, he comes across as soft spoken and sincere. Even when he says stupid off the wall shit, he comes across as sincerely believing it, and his later “clarifications” are a mishmash of having been misunderstood or misquoted, or the ever popular “taken out of context”. This one is getting a lot of play on his brain dead comments about the OR. shootings. He is a long time, sincere, heart on his sleeve Christian, which plays well with the base. Most importantly, he has long been active in politics, being a major fundraiser for conservative candidates and causes. He has a network. And some of those donors would be looking at other people in the race if it wasn’t for Ben Carson. His biggest problem is that the base he is able to tap is not as large or rabid as the base that the Donald has at his disposal. But he will be around for a good long while, unless he says something so outrageous that his diversity “feel good” base revolts against him.

Donald Trump. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggghhhhhhh. What more really need be said. He is on top, and figures to continue to be there for the foreseeable future. He has tapped into the rabid, low information, southers base that the RNC has been harvesting like the humans in the “blood bank” in Blade 3 for a couple of decades now. They are never going back, and he is their new Messiah. He is sucking all of the oxygen out of the room, and at this point he’s pretty much bulletproof, since his slavish 22-27% base will follow him to the ends of the earth. If, down the road his numbers drop, and in his normal paranoid style he decides it’s the RNC trying to screw him, make no mistake, he will bolt for a third party run, and the vast majority of his followers will follow him. That will put Ted Cruz between a rock and a very hard ‘nother rock.

My best guess? If this field heads into February with a plurality of candidates of 8-10 or more, then candidates like Fiorina, Trump and Carson grab enough early delegates from those proportional early states to make it incredibly difficult for any candidate, other than one of the top three to bank enough delegates moving forward to get the magic number for a first round nomination. That would be a brokered convention, and we’ll all need a larger microwave for the popcorn!

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Posted By: Keith

Writer, political junkie, rabid rock music fan, amateur gardener, astronomer and ornithologist, cook extraordinaire, sipper of fine wine and, more than once, the funniest guy in the room.

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