Diary

2016 - An Outsider's Handicapping - Part III

Things are finally starting to get interesting around here.  I started this journey before formal announcements and based my initial analysis on historical trends, nine months ago I had the top six as Romney, Kasich, Christie, Perry, Walker,  and Bush, in that order.  The only candidate I did not have on my list then was Trump, who is as of this writing the front-runner.

I recognize there is a lot of excitement out there, but I still do not feel objectively that Trump has a chance.  He has no machine behind him, no political experience and no history of running for the office.  Obama had a machine, a history of leveraging that machine, and political experience to assist him.

Of my original top six, at this point we know Romney is out.  Christie has faded and at this point I am dropping him out.  Fiorina, Cruz and Rubio are the three strongest non-governor candidates, outside of Trump, at this time.  Fiorina is similar to Trump and I don’t see a path for her to the nomination.

That leaves the current top list as Kasich, Perry, Walker, Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Huckabee, and Trump.

I will make one final prediction right before the Iowa Caucus.  Between now and then we will have more revelations, more debates and more drama.  If the economy continues to tank openly, despite MSM efforts to anoint Obama as an economist as smart as Paul Krugman, then this will impact voter choice.  The economy, immigration and terrorism are on everyone’s mind.

Candidates cannot affect the news so much, although I will be writing a separate diary on this shortly.  They are impacted by current events, much as the Vietnam war dramatically impacted Democratic party candidates.  In this case, our worries will affect who we are willing to take on.

I will make the early call now: Bush has deep pockets, but his donors are going to jump ship and he will not be the nominee.  Isn’t going to happen.  He is just too dull, too Bush-y and too often on the wrong side of the equation for the Republican electorate.  He will not pull out yet, but I think after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, he will bow out.

Kasich, Perry, Walker, Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Huckabee, Trump and Fiorina right now are getting a fair amount of attention.  We are all speculating about who their votes siphon from whom if they stay in.  Perry is getting some strong tailwinds and will hold on until at least Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina vote.  Much can happen in the meantime.

The majority of Red Staters seem to favor Perry, Walker, Cruz, Rubio and/or Trump.  I don’t see much enthusiasm for Kasich, Bush, Rubio, or Fiorina.  I know [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] is out there, but his particular strand of politics has never curried favor with mainstream Republicans.

Perry and Walker are natural antagonists, as are Cruz and Rubio.  Trump and Fiorina are in a separate category of business people.  I have not mentioned Dr. Ben Carson.  This is because as a non-politician, he may be very eloquent, but he is not recognized as a political nor as an economic expert, and so I just don’t see how he could jump past Trump and Fiorina in the non-politician category.  People in their homes will be saying “I love Dr. Carson, but does he know how to stimulate job creation?” and I just think they will not support him once we really get going.

I have watched the Republican machines in several states shoot themselves in the head.  And sometimes they work very well (e.g.- Eric Cantor).  What I do know this time around is that a lot of angry people are going to fight hard for their candidate.  That means to me that candidates who inspire passion are going to come out ahead.

I can’t see Fiorina winning, but she could siphon off votes from others.  From whom, I am not sure.  I do not see her winning any of the primaries nor caucuses, but you never know.

It would be foolhardy to call Trump the winner before anyone has voted.  Donald Trump will determine how long he stays in this and how serious he is.  And he could win it all, in this particular environment.

However, I am going to turn off my emotions and stick to historical trend, which places the top three at Kasich, Perry and Walker.  I started this exercise to try and see if an objective analysis was more effective than subjective thoughts.  I was impressed at the first debate by different performances, and felt pretty good about the field of candidates.

Trump is a guilty pleasure.  I have been so craving someone who could take it to our opponents and so very disappointed over the past eight years.  I felt like McCain couldn’t balance a checkbook and like Romney was a bad choice to argue against socialized medicine that he liked.  We need someone who can really take it to Hillary or whomever else is nominated.

History, though, is pretty conclusive: running before or having been Vice-President is the single most important indicator of success.  So let’s see if history repeats itself.  This country could really use an effective leader right now.