May 22, 2015

2016 Primary Calendar: Roll With the Punches Edition

The only constant is change — and there is nowhere that is more true than in the primary calendar in American politics. Since our last update, a whole slew of things have been moving around, including the following:

  • The first debate in Cleveland, OH was announced for August 15. It has since been moved back to August 6, presumably to be before the Iowa Straw Poll. In our last update we noted the difficulty lesser-known candidates would have getting noticed without any debates prior to the Straw Poll. Now they’ll at least have one shot to make an impression on a national stage (that is, if anyone even ends up participating in the straw poll this year).
  • The date has been set for the final debate before Super Tuesday, and the location has, of course, been changed. Originally set to be held somewhere in Florida, the GOP moved the debate to Houston, Texas. Given the way the primary calendar is playing out — specifically, the fact there are roughly 20 primaries in between Nevada and Florida this year — this move just makes sense. Additionally, National Review will join NBC and Telemundo as a debate sponsor.
  • Speaking of Nevada, South Carolina and Nevada are coming closer to setting their primary and caucus dates. For the moment, the South Carolina GOP has announced their primary will be held on February 20, with the corresponding South Carolina debate exactly one week prior. Nevada is working through a slew of issues with their caucus date, including a proposal to switch to a primary system which may or may not eliminate the caucus… but for now, their GOP caucus is set for three days after South Carolina on February 23.
  • The Governor of Arkansas is looking to deliver a gift to Mike Huckabee by adding their state to the Super Tuesday lineup. Recall in our last update that legislation to move the Arkansas primary died in the legislature, and then the legislative session ended. Well, Governor Hutchinson has called the legislature back into special session with one intent being to get the primary moved up after all. It remains to be seen if the legislature will support the Governor, but if they do, Arkansas will be moving from May 24 to March 1.
  • Other random notes: Maryland has moved its primary back two weeks, leaving Wisconsin all alone on April 5. Louisiana found money for their primary and will hold in March 5. Primary dates for the three territories (Guam, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) have been added. New York politicians are still arguing about when to hold their primary — some rumors say it will end up in April, some say March. Our calendar leaves it on March 1 for the time being, since that is when most of the NY GOP is fighting for.

As things continue to evolve and change, we’ll keep updating them here at Race. Don’t forget, you can always find the most updated version of this calendar by clicking the “2016 Primary/Caucus and Debate Calendar” tab at the top of the Race homepage.

August 6, 2015 Fox News/Ohio GOP Debate Cleveland, OH
August 8 Iowa Straw Poll Boone, IA
September 16 CNN/Ronald Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
October CNBC Debate CO
November Fox Business Debate WI
December CNN Debate NV
January 2016 Fox News Debate IA
February 1 Iowa Caucuses
February ABC News Debate NH
February 9 New Hampshire Primary
February 13 CBS News/South Carolina GOP Debate SC
February 20 South Carolina Primary
February 23 Nevada Caucus
February 26 NBC/Telemundo/National Review Debate Houston, TX
March 1 Super Tuesday: AL, CO, GA, MA, MN, NY, TN, TX, VT, VA
March 5 Louisiana Primary
March 8 Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina Primaries; Hawaii Caucuses
March 12 Guam, Virgin Islands Primaries
March 13 Puerto Rico Primary
March 15 Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio Primaries
March 22 Arizona, Oklahoma Primaries; Utah Caucuses
March Fox News Debate TBD
March CNN Debate TBD
April 5 Wisconsin Primaries
April 26 Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island Primaries
May 3 Indiana Primary
May 17 Oregon Primary
May 24 Arkansas Primary
June 7 California, New Jersey, South Dakota Primaries
by @ 8:30 am. Filed under 2016 Primary Calendar, Presidential Debates, Primary & Caucus Dates

Friday Essential Reads / Open Thread


Old Bush Family Friends Are Keeping Their Distance in NH
Boston Globe

If presidential hopeful Jeb Bush was counting on his famous family’s legacy in New Hampshire to help him, he has to be disappointed.

Some influential Granite State Republicans who in the past enthusiastically backed Bush family candidates — such as Jeb Bush’s father in 1988 and brother in 2000 — so far are not offering that same support to the newest Bush on the political scene.

Spanish Elections This Weekend Could Be a Four-Way Split

Nearly a decade ago, Albert Rivera caused a stir in Spanish local politics by posing nude in campaign posters. These days, he sports Hugo Boss suits but his campaign on the national stage is no less eye-catching: His upstart Ciudadanos Party is cutting into support for the ruling conservatives, threatening to bust open Spain’s traditional two-party system.

Painful austerity has dented Spanish living standards, generating disillusionment with both Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party and its rival Socialists, which have alternated power since the fall of the Franco dictatorship in the 1970s. Voters are gravitating to renegades such as Rivera’s business-friendly Ciudadanos, or Citizens, as well as the hard-left Podemos (We Can) Party, putting them virtually level in opinion polls with the traditional political heavyweights.

Vax Populi


This article is specific to Arizona (I found it in a Phoenix magazine in my doctor’s office), but the issue is of course national. It’s good, in my view, to see a backlash against Jenny McCarthy and her crowd.

For many years, Dr. Larissa Romero respectfully reserved judgment, and held her tongue, when friends and neighbors opined on the topic of vaccination refusal. After all, her prosperous Central Phoenix neighborhood is precisely the kind of place that tends to breed anti-vax sentiment – i.e. younger, college-educated parents, higher tax brackets, smaller families – so why stir up bad feelings?

But that was before the Disneyland measles outbreak in January, and an estimated 1,000 exposures to the virus in Arizona alone. Romero, the mother of a 2-year-old girl and an infant son, wasn’t prepared to take chances. Having dispatched an Evite for her daughter’s birthday party in early February, Romero – an obstetrician based in Phoenix – amended the invitation, asking families with unvaccinated children not to attend.

Growing Dissatisfaction with Obama among Leftist Pundits

From Instapundit:

Jeffrey Toobin has a piece in The New Yorker today called “Obama’s Game of Chicken with the Supreme Court.” […]

Toobin’s overall sentiment–that a ruling for the plaintiffs in King will be a political loss for President Obama (as it should be, since it was his decision to disregard the plain language of his own signature legislation)–is likely correct.  But what’s even more noteworthy is that it evinces that the Teflon President’s non-stick coating is finally wearing a little  thin with (at least some in) the mainstream media. Unfortunately, the criticism is mostly limited to foreign policy. Evidence of such Teflon thinning includes the Washington Post’s editorial board’s skepticism about the Iran nuclear deal (including his failure to respond to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s arguments before Congress), longtime Democratic pollster Pat Caddell’s recent statement that the Obama Administration is more corrupt than Nixon’s, Chris Matthews’ thrill dissipating to the point where he has called Obama “intellectually lazy,” Kirsten Powers’ criticism of Obama on the ISIS persecution of Christians, and Jon Stewart’s “je suis to be kidding me” quip about Obama’s failure to attend the unity rally in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo terrorism–something veteran liberal foreign affairs expert Leslie Gelb labeled a “horrendous gaffe” that “demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national security policy in the next two years.”

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

May 21, 2015

Is Jeb Bush Following in Rudy Giuliani’s Footsteps?

In the 2008 race for the Republican nomination, Rudy Giuliani banked on a unique, never-before-attempted strategy: ignore the early states and focus on large states like Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. The thinking was clear: for the first time, the new front-loaded calendar potentially offered the chance for a well-funded national candidate to get the necessary delegates. Theoretically, the calendar was so packed at the front end of the campaign that a candidate could absorb losses in the early contests without much damage, and Mayor Giuliani wasn’t a natural fit (to say the least) for Iowa and South Carolina, anyway.

So Florida became Rudy’s de facto firewall. Sure, in the winter of 2007 he said he wasn’t giving up on Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, but as time went on and those contests drew closer it became obvious to any armchair pundit what his strategy really was. The only early state he even put up any modicum of a fight in was New Hampshire, and even there he eventually gave up and withdrew.

Of course, reality came crashing down around the Giuliani campaign as Romney, McCain, and Huckabee — the three candidates who finished first, second, and third in the early states (give or take a sputtering Fred Thompson campaign) — sucked up all the press, all the momentum, and all the votes. Giuliani would eventually place a distant third in Florida, sending his Great Experiment to the trash heap of modern political history.

But those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and it seems this election cycle may well feature a candidate who is unwittingly following in Mayor Giuliani’s footsteps: Jeb Bush.

Campaign sources in the Bush camp have indicated that not only will Governor Bush skip the Iowa Straw Poll, he will also not contest the Iowa caucuses:

According to three sources with knowledge of Bush’s campaign strategy, the likely Republican presidential candidate does not plan to seriously contest the first-in-the-nation caucuses — and may ultimately skip the state altogether.

While some politicos are applauding this decision, or saying it was the obvious one for Governor Bush to make, in reality it wouldn’t be too dramatic to say this early decision could mark the beginning of the end for the Bush campaign. Before he has even officially announced his candidacy, Jeb Bush has essentially doomed it.

There’s an old political axiom that there are only three tickets out of Iowa. That axiom has held true for both parties in every election going back 44 years to the beginning of the caucuses, with the exception of John McCain in 2008. (But even then, McCain finished essentially tied for third just a couple hundred votes behind Fred Thompson — and the momentum of his campaign coming back from the dead was the headline coming out of the caucuses afterward.)

History tells us to win your party’s nomination you must contest and place in the top three in the Iowa caucuses. Governor Bush’s gamble to the contrary looks an awful lot like Mayor Giuliani’s gamble in 2008. In 2008, the calendar was supposed to make things different. It didn’t. This time around, the large and supposedly fractured field is supposed to make things different. It won’t. And none of this takes into consideration the general election, either. Should Bush somehow manage to buck decades of history and reality and become the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton will begin the general election lightyears ahead of him as far as organizing in the Hawkeye State. In a swing state that will likely have outsized importance in the 2016 presidential election, Republicans are going to need every advantage they can get. Passing on an opportunity to build campaign structure in Iowa is a losing proposition.

By skipping Iowa, Jeb is essentially placing all his primary eggs in the New Hampshire basket — an even riskier move for someone with the last name Bush, given the state’s primary voting history. The New Hampshire primaries are still eight and a half months away, but the latest poll out of the Granite State has Bush in third place and his average in the state has been dropping steadily for two months now. Come February, he may find himself locked in a battle royale with Walker, Rubio, and Paul, all of whom could easily finish higher than him in New Hampshire — and one or more of whom will be riding momentum out of Iowa. All it will take is for one of them to beat Bush in New Hampshire, and his campaign will be over. He will not win South Carolina, and if he fails to win any of the first three states, Rubio will KO a weakened Jeb a couple weeks later in Florida (if he even stays in that long).

Could Jeb Bush win Iowa? Not a chance. Everybody knows that — but this is where Bush is missing his greatest opportunity: those low expectations are already baked into his Iowa results. Jeb placing third in Iowa would be the equivalent of Governor Walker or Governor Huckabee placing first: meeting expectations.

Instead, unless the Bush campaign changes their mind and contests Iowa, we could very well have another Giuliani-like postmortem to deliver come February.

by @ 9:17 am. Filed under Iowa Caucuses, Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani

Essential Reads / Thursday Open Thread

Mr. Walker Goes to Washington

First, a note and a promise. Since I’m the only person posting on the front page at present (hopefully, we’ll get that corrected soon), I need to make it clear that I will not try to batter everybody with a ton of pro-Walker posts.

Besides wanting to be fair and not wanting to ruin the site, I’m really only a fairly tepid Walker supporter for now – we’ll see what happens as time goes on.

With that out of the way, Walker made a visit to Washington a couple days ago, and it appears things went quite well, though Breitbart’s headline — ‘Republican Lawmakers: Scott Walker Dazzles on Capitol Hill‘ – seems just a bit over-the-top, and not quite supported by the actual quotes within the article. Still, there were some very, very positive things said:

“I was very impressed with his seriousness with respect to the growing threats around the world and the need to demonstrate clarity with respect to American foreign policy,” Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), who has endorsed Sen Rand Paul (R-KY) … said

Steve King of Iowa: “What I’m hearing from members is that Scott Walker is a conservative that has a broad base …”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), an immigration hardliner like King, said Walker “is very impressive,” according to The Hill.

“It’s hard to be down-home and sophisticated at the same time, but clearly that’s what he is,” Rohrabacher said. “I’ll wait and see what the deal is, but I’m certainly inclined to lean in his direction now.”

Tom Cole of Oklahoma: “He just knocked it out of the park. I think he [changed some minds]. I think people were awfully impressed with his record… so there were a lot of people predisposed to being supportive, but he certainly didn’t do anything other than strengthen himself.”

Sounds pretty good. Then there’s this, from RCP:

Sen. Mike Lee “went in a little doubtful and came away impressed” when he met Tuesday morning with likely presidential candidate Scott Walker, said an aide to Lee who was briefed by the Utah senator on the meeting.



The Clinton Emails – It Just Keeps Getting Better

Wall Street Journal

When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her staff scrutinized politically sensitive documents requested under public-records law and sometimes blocked their release, according to people with direct knowledge of the activities.

In one instance, her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, told State Department records specialists she wanted to see all documents requested on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and later demanded that some be held back.

In another case, Ms. Mills’s staff negotiated with the records specialists over the release of documents about former President Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements—also holding some back.

The records requests came under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, the public’s main tool to get information from the government. Decisions on what to release belong with each agency’s FOIA staff, say experts on the law, to guard against the withholding of documents for political or other inappropriate reasons.


LA Adopts $15 Minimum Wage

The Los Angeles Tmes

Los Angeles has approved a $15/hr minimum wage (to be achieved in increments between now and 2020). The city council took under advisement an additional proposal to give twelve personal-leave days per year.
Quick – go out and buy robotics stock.


GOP Is in the Best Shape in Decades – Revisited

The New Yorker

Earlier this week, we linked to an article by Sean Trende and David Byler of RCP on this subject. Shortly afterward, Sean posted a message on Facebook to send the paramedics – because he had been cited positively in The New Yorker. Naturally, The New Yorker thinks it is horrifying that they may be right.

… take a peek at a new analysis of the American political firmament by Sean Trende and David Byler, of the Web site Real Clear Politics. It’s a data-driven article that examines what’s happening not only in Washington but in legislatures and statehouses around the country, which also have a significant impact on people’s lives. Trende and Byler conclude that the Republican Party is already stronger than it has been for many decades. With a good result in 2016, including a takeover of the White House, it could virtually sweep the board. Indeed, Trende and Byler say, the Republicans could end up in their strongest position since 1920, the year women got the vote.

If the spectre of today’s Republican Party monopolizing most of the levers of power at the federal, congressional, and state levels isn’t enough to get people exercised about 2016, I don’t know what is. From tax and spending policy to health insurance, foreign policy, and social issues like gun control and gay marriage, the country would be subjected to a concerted effort to roll back time.




by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

May 20, 2015

Poll Watch: California Senate, Open Primary, Field Poll

From the Field Poll write-up: 

California voters appear not to be giving much attention to next year’s election to fill the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Barbara Boxer. When likely voters in next year’s June open primary are asked who they would support from a list of announced or potential candidates, a majority (58%) does not offer a preference.

Leading the pack among voters expressing a preference is Democratic state Attorney General Kamala Harris, who receives 19% of the first choice votes.

Three other announced candidates, Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, and former state Republican Party chair Tom Del Beccaro trail. Sanchez, who announced her candidacy only last Thursday, receives 8% of likely voter preferences, while Chavez and Del Beccaro were the first choice of 6% and 5%, respectively. Smaller proportions are supporting two others included in the poll who are considering Senate bids, Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra (3%) and former state Republican Party chair Duf Sundheim (1%).

The poll also asked likely voters for their second choice preferences in the Senate race. When combining each potential candidate’s first and second choice preferences, support for Harris increases to 22%. Support for Sanchez increases to 14% of likely voters in this setting.


Cal Senate

The poll was conducted April 23 – May 16, among 801 Likely Voters; the margin of error is +/-3.5. Additional demographic/geographic info and party/ideology breakdowns are at the Field website linked above.

Note that the polling does not include anything after Sanchez’s wacko impersonation of a kid playing cowboys and Indians (I don’t suppose kids are allowed to do that anymore). Perhaps that might mean there’s an outside chance of a Republican getting into the General, although my own guess would be that it more likely means Harris gets 50%+1. Time will tell.

Open thread.

by @ 7:43 pm. Filed under Poll Analysis, Poll Watch

Essential Reads / Wednesday Open Thread

Hillary Takes Questions after 40,150 Minutes
Washington Post
The clock has now been re-set.

Free Trade Is Not the Enemy
New York Times
Op-Ed by William M. Daley

When barriers disappear, we prosper. In the 17 trade deals the United States has concluded since 2000, our balance of trade in the blue-collar-goods sector went from minus $3 billion to plus $31 billion, according to an analysis of government data by the centrist policy institute Third Way, on whose board I sit. According to the International Trade Administration, export-related jobs pay 18 percent more than similar jobs in the same sector.

Mike Huckabee Hasn’t Changed, but the Calendar Has
National Journal
NJ suggests that the primary calendar (and especially the SEC primary) may give Mike Huckabee an advantage he didn’t have in ’08. However, the question is also raised whether that will matter if he doesn’t win at least one of the First Four, and if he can’t expand his base to be seen as more than ‘the Christian candidate’.

The Long, Weird History of the Flying Car
Popular Mechanics
Since flying cars came up in the recent discussion of driverless cars (not that I want to resurrect that one), this seems worth a mention.

Flying car

Addendum: Link to Rand Paul’s filibuster on the Patriot Act (H/T Hoosier Drew).

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, Misc.

May 19, 2015

Poll Watch: Georgia Republican Primary

georgia poll2

Poll of 500 Republican primary voters, conducted by Landmark Communications/Rosetta Stone, May 11-12, 2015, margin of error 4.4

It is not clear whether this poll is of Likely or Registered voters, so it seems safe to assume it is Registered. The link has breakdowns by gender, age, and race.

Open thread rules apply.

H/T Huckafan and GS.

by @ 3:20 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Essential Reads (and a Video) / Tuesday Open Thread

Here’s a Clock That Counts the Minutes Since Hillary Clinton Answered a Press Question
Washington Post
The Fix at WaPo has a little fun with Hillary. I understand the NYT is listing questions they would ask, if they could.

The GOP Is the Strongest It’s Been in Decades
Analytics by Sean Trende & David Byler

Republican Bobby Jindal Forms Committee to Explore Presidential Run
The Guardian

The Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, announced on Monday that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee. This step makes it even more likely that the two-term governor will be yet another candidate in the growing Republican presidential field for 2016.


How Not to Start a Campaign
You’ve probably heard about Loretta Sanchez’s strange behavior over the weekend. I certainly had, but I hadn’t actually seen it until yesterday.


by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Hillary Clinton, Misc.

May 18, 2015

Head-to-Head Comparison


Here are the RCP averages for several of the leading Republicans vs. Hillary Clinton. What I find remarkable is … nothing. There’s practically no difference, and no one jumps out as a ‘frontrunner’.

Marco Rubio does very slightly the best, but only by half a point over Jeb Bush and Rand Paul.

The three C’s – Cruz, Christie, and Carson – are trailing the pack a bit, but not by amounts it would be tough to make up, if one of them should catch fire (which I don’t expect).

Note that these averages include polls going back several months.

Update: Edited to note omission of Rand Paul in original version (see second paragraph. Also, this is an open thread.

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Poll Analysis

May 17, 2015

Kasich: ‘Virtually Certain’

It looks like Kasich is in:

John Kasich is “virtually certain” to jump into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, sources close to the Ohio governor tell ABC News.

Kasich has said his wife and daughters have given him a green light to run and in recent days Kasich has told his political advisors to begin preparing for a likely campaign. Kasich travels to New Hampshire in early June and recently did a fundraising trip to California. If he makes the final decision to run, he will make the announcement in late June or July.

As a Republican elected twice as governor of the critical battleground state of Ohio, Kasich is a potentially formidable candidate. But he has also angered conservative Republicans with his decision to accept an expansion of the Medicaid program under Obamacare. He has also supported the Common Core educational standards, something derided by some conservatives as “Obamacore.”

This would not be Kasich’s first presidential campaign. He ran for the 2000 republican presidential nomination but his campaign quickly fizzled out. At the time he was a republican Congressman from Ohio and chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Kasich would be a formidable candidate, I think; he would appeal to multiple sectors of the party. I know I could support him, although I don’t agree with him on everything.

In any case, it’s good to have more serious candidates in.

H/T: Huckaboom

by @ 9:36 pm. Filed under John Kasich

May 16, 2015

Weekend Miscellany

Feel free to add your own miscellany in the comments. Open thread rules apply.


Whither HuffPo?

If this article in Advertising Age is correct, Verizon’s $4.4bil buy of AOL (which shocked me, frankly) was all about buying AOL’s ‘programmatic ad buying’ capabilities (those ads you see before the video that you actually want to watch).

In 2013, AOL purchased, a video-advertising start-up that specializes in automating the connections between advertisers and media companies, a process known as programmatic ad buying. Publishers provide videos they want to have advertising on, marketers hand over ads that they’d like people to see before watching whatever it is they actually want to watch, and AOL’s computers play matchmaker. This year, 28% of all video ads will be purchased through a system like this, according to eMarketer. By next year it will be 40%.

Verizon needs something like this. “The principal interest was around the ad tech platform that [AOL has] done a really terrific job building. We really like the technology a lot,” said John Stratton, Verizon’s exec VP-operations, at an investor conference Tuesday. “We’ve talked a lot about our over-the-top video ambitions, and this is, for us, a very important cornerstone enabler as part of that broader strategy.”

So that leaves us wondering what will happen to the piece of AOL with which most of us are familiar – the popular lefty content provider Huffington Post (the 30th most popular site on the web)?

But there’s a fair deal of skepticism that Verizon actually wants to run a network of online publications. James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester, immediately speculated that Verizon would sell off the Huffington Post.

Shall we pass the hat and see about buying it? I’m good for upwards of twenty bucks, if pressed.


John Quincey Adams and the Journey to the Center of the Earth

JQA believed that inside the crust that we’re standing on, there are several concentric spheres (or something like that). He tried to get Congress to fund an exploratory expedition, but they wanted no part of it.


More Like Europe – Part II

Many in the US (mostly on the left, politically) think this would be a much better country if only we would act more like Europe. With that in mind, I am enjoying watching Europe’s response to their current immigration crisis.

Libya has criticised EU proposals to authorise the use of force against people smugglers taking migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe.
The Libyan ambassador to the UN told the BBC that the EU’s intentions were unclear and “very worrying”.
The EU is seeking a UN mandate to allow military action to destroy or halt smugglers’ boats in Libyan waters.

I guess air strikes against coyotes in the Sonoran Desert and strafing the Rio Grande might make us more like Europe. How do you think that would go over? (I am definitely not advocating anything of the kind).

The EU is also considering a cap on the number of amnesty-seekers they will accept each year, as well as rules requiring each country to accept a portion of the continent’s immigrants based on population and GDP. Britain has said, “No way, Jose,” or something like that.

Note: If you’re interested, Part I is here.


Ayelet Shaked

Never heard of her? Neither had I, before last week – she is the new shaked4Justice Minister for Israel, and I  herewith nominate her as the world’s best-looking far-right Justice Minister (not a category in which there is a lot of competition, I admit).

This is from an article in Foreign Policy titled ‘The New Face of Israel’s Hard Right“:

Her rapid ascent to the highest reaches of the Israeli political system hit a new peak Wednesday … when the 39-year-old computer engineer and mother of two was given control of Israel’s Justice Ministry. Shaked got the post as part of a desperate last-minute deal that saved Netanyahu from a looming deadline …

She has apparently made some strong (perhaps too strong) statements regarding Pshaked2alestinians in the past, which leads to some people holding contrarian opinions about her fitness for high office.

Fair enough, but they’ll have a hard time selling the ‘monster’ label, I think.


Self-Driving Cars (Mid-50s Version)

Great video (if you enjoy outrageously cheesy stuff, as I do) by General Motors from 1956, showing the self-driving cars of 1976.

That it all happens to crowds of similarly choreographed cars threading through cloverleaf interchanges in the middle of a desert, complete with rocky prominences straight [out] of a Roadrunner cartoon, is icing on the cake.


Why I’m White

A recent study details how Europeans evolved to have white skins. Apparently it happened relatively recently in evolutionary terms — e.g., within the last 8000 years or so.

The modern humans who came out of Africa to originally settle Europe about 40,000 years are presumed to have had dark skin, which is advantageous in sunny latitudes. And the new data confirm that about 8500 years ago, early hunter-gatherers in Spain, Luxembourg, and Hungary also had darker skin: They lacked versions of two genes—SLC24A5 and SLC45A2—that lead to depigmentation and, therefore, pale skin in Europeans today.

But in the far north—where low light levels would favor pale skin—the team found a different picture in hunter-gatherers: Seven people from the 7700-year-old Motala archaeological site in southern Sweden had both light skin gene variants, SLC24A5 and SLC45A2. They also had a third gene, HERC2/OCA2, which causes blue eyes and may also contribute to light skin and blond hair. Thus ancient hunter-gatherers of the far north were already pale and blue-eyed, but those of central and southern Europe had darker skin.

Then, the first farmers from the Near East arrived in Europe; they carried both genes for light skin. As they interbred with the indigenous hunter-gatherers, one of their light-skin genes swept through Europe, so that central and southern Europeans also began to have lighter skin. The other gene variant, SLC45A2, was at low levels until about 5800 years ago when it swept up to high frequency.

Europeans being relatively tall happened about the same time.

The team also tracked complex traits, such as height, which are the result of the interaction of many genes. They found that selection strongly favored several gene variants for tallness in northern and central Europeans, starting 8000 years ago, with a boost coming from the Yamnaya migration, starting 4800 years ago. The Yamnaya have the greatest genetic potential for being tall of any of the populations, which is consistent with measurements of their ancient skeletons. In contrast, selection favored shorter people in Italy and Spain starting 8000 years ago, according to the paper now posted on the bioRxiv preprint server. Spaniards, in particular, shrank in stature 6000 years ago, perhaps as a result of adapting to colder temperatures and a poor diet.

Even for a non-science guy like me, this is interesting stuff.


Briefly Noted

US-Saudi Relations Are Getting Pretty Bad: The new king skips Obama’s ‘summit’.

First Football Game?: I had always heard Princeton-Rutgers played the first ‘American football’ game, but this argues that it was Harvard-McGill.

Russ Feingold Running for Senate in WI: He’ll be a very strong candidate for the Dems.

Loretta Sanchez Also Running, in CA: She’ll be an underdog against Harris, though.

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

May 15, 2015

Rick Perry: June 4th

The Wall Street Journal version:

Former Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry will announce whether he intends to run for president for a second time on June 4 at an event in Dallas, a spokesman said Friday.

The confirmation followed a Twitter message posted by Mr. Perry’s wife Anita on Friday morning, which stated that “Governor Perry and I have been discussing the future of this great country and how our family can play a role.”

The tweet links to a registration page for a June 4 event in Downtown Dallas, and asks supporters to join them there for a “special announcement.” Mr. Perry’s campaign had previously indicated he would likely declare whether he would run for president in May or June.

NBC News


Houston Chronicle

Dallas Morning News

Note — this is an Open Thread.

by @ 1:04 pm. Filed under Rick Perry

May 14, 2015

Accountability in the Obama Administration

A couple weeks late on this one, but just came across it yesterday, thanks to Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt. A follow-up on last year’s VA scandals:

The nationwide scandal last spring over manipulated wait times at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals led to the ouster of the secretary of veterans affairs and vows from the new leadership that people would be held accountable.
Then in February, the new secretary, Robert A. McDonald, asserted in a nationally televised interview that the department had fired 60 people involved in manipulating wait times to make it appear that veterans were receiving care faster than they were. In fact, the department quickly clarified after that interview, only 14 people had been removed from their jobs, while about 60 others had received lesser punishments.Now, new internal documents show that the real number of people removed from their jobs is much smaller still: at most, three.

The documents given this month to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, which provided them to The New York Times, show that the department punished a total of eight of its 280,000 employees for involvement in the scandal.

One was fired, one retired in lieu of termination, one’s termination is pending, and five were reprimanded or suspended for up to two months.

So, the Obama Administration deals with a culture of lies and cover-ups by … lying about what they’re doing about it.

And meanwhile, I wonder what’s being done about the veterans who need care?

(Please feel free to treat this as an open thread — usual rules apply).

by @ 2:00 pm. Filed under Barack Obama, Open Threads

May 13, 2015

Poll Watch: Battleground Favorability

H/T to commenter GS, who posted these in the thread below. The first grouping is the favorability rankings of leading candidates, by party, in order of net positives.


The next is responses to the question “Would you consider voting for _________?” Again, by party, in order of net positives.


by @ 4:03 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

May 11, 2015

Monday Miscellany

Looks like we need a new thread — Huck’s about worn out (of course, in my opinion, Huck was worn out in ’08). So I’ll just throw together a bit of miscellany (most of it non- or semi-political) from my own blog, and y’all can add whatever you want in the comments (standard open-thread rules apply).


The Rise of the Log Cabin Republicans

From National Journal’s ‘Wake-Up Call’ newsletter, quoting CNN:

At the South Carolina Freedom Summit, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), Sen.Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (R) mostly “emphasized humble roots. In doing so, the candidates … sought to distinguish themselves from the summit’s most notable absentee:” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R)

In the 19th century, it was popular among politicians to claim have been born in log cabins. I wonder who will be the first of the 2016 candidates to do so? Of course, that gets them onto shaky ground in their appeals to SoCons.


The UK Election Was Fun to Follow

Lots of shocking stuff in the results, but probably nothing more unlikely than one of Labour’s biggest names getting beaten by a twenty-year-old student in Scotland.

Douglas Alexander, Labour’s campaign manager, lost his Paisley South seat to a 20-year-old student.

Mhairi Black, the new SNP MP, is 20 years and 238 days old and becomes the youngest MP since the great Reform Act – having captured the Labour seat with an extraordinary swing of 26.9 per cent.

Miss Black, a politics student who sits her final exams at Glasgow University after the election, becomes the youngest MP since 13-year-old Christopher Monck in 1667.

A devoted Partick Thistle supporter, Miss Black made the mistake after becoming a candidate of failing to delete some of her more colourful tweets, including one in which she wrote: “I’ve only just realised – I really f***** hate Celtic” and “Celtic, yer a joke!#scum”

On another occasion she posted a boozy confession, saying: “Woke up beside half a can of Tennents and a full pizza and more money than I came out with. I call that a success!”

I suggest that when her final exams come up, she should just turn in her election results.


Applying Data Analytics to the Supremes

538 has an interesting post about an attempt to apply data analytics to Supreme Court cases to predict how the court will rule.

CourtCast, a machine-learning model, relies only on PDF files of oral argument transcripts. There are three inputs: the number of words spoken by justices to each party, the sentiment of those words, and the number of times a justice interrupts an attorney. That’s really it — CourtCast doesn’t care about body language, it doesn’t care about justices’ ideologies, and it doesn’t care about who’s arguing the case in front of the court. It doesn’t know the law or the precedent or the political climate. The model trains itself on past cases, learning which justice tendencies are pertinent. It can then analyze the transcript from any fresh case and predict an outcome.

It’s an interesting idea, though more as a starting point than as a finished product (the creator agrees that it needs refinement). The biggest problem I see is with the ‘sentiment’ parameter — there’s a big difference between Justice Ginsburg, for example, expressing mild skepticism concerning an argument and her shouting, “That’s bull@#$%!”

OK, you’re right — she probably doesn’t often do that.

An interesting sidelight to the article is the chart detailing how often each Justice interrupts attorneys and how many words they speak in the course of questioning or commenting. Sotomayor gets the title of Chief Interrupter by a narrow margin over Scalia and Breyer, while Thomas never interrupts and Alito and Kagan seldom do so. Breyer is Mr. Loquacious, by a good margin, and Thomas (this is not exactly news) is The Court Clam.

I thought the interruption stats were of interest, since the conventional wisdom is that men do  much more interrupting than women do. That doesn’t seem to hold with the Court, where there seems, overall, to be little gender difference.

I’m afraid that if I were appointed to the Court (which seems unlikely) I would probably give Sotomayor a run for her money — I have to admit that I fit the male stereotype in regard to interrupting people.

By the way, the model predicts a 61% likelihood that the King v. Burwell decision will uphold Obamacare.


Too Much, Too Soon

I’ve now seen three bumper stickers for 2016 presidential candidates. One for Hillary Clinton, in the parking lot of an exclusive prep school in Phoenix; and two for Ben Carson, surprisingly.

As a double surprise, both Carson stickers were in Payson, a small mountain town — one in the Walmart parking lot, the other on a car ahead of me today.

Even a politics junkie like me is likely to be very tired of this by next November.


PBS Drops Their Pants for Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck, a Hollywood star big enough that even I have heard of him, was featured on a PBS TV show about genealogy called ‘Finding Your Roots’. The idea of the show apparently is that some celebrity comes on the show, researchers find the celeb’s ancestry, and the celeb comments on what they’ve found. I haven’t watched it, but it sound no worse than most TV shows.

Anyway, Affleck was unhappy that the researchers found that one of his ancestors was a slave owner, so he demanded that that fact be deleted from the show.

In an email exchange posted by WikiLeaks, the genealogy program’s host Henry Louis Gates Jr. nervously asked a top Sony executive for “advice” in handling Affleck’s special request.

“. . . For the first time, one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors — the fact that he owned slaves,” the Harvard scholar told Sony chief Michael Lynton in the email chain dated July 22, 2014.

Gates suggested that the censoring could tarnish their branding if word got out and would ultimately be a violation of PBS rules, “even for Batman.”

What Affleck wants covered up about his past is his business, I guess. I certainly don’t care who his ancestors were. I’m a bit surprised that he’d think it damaging to his public image that somebody in his family tree more than 150 years ago was involved in slavery.

However, Affleck, as is typical of most Hollywood folks, is heavy into left-wing politics; which leads to be real hypocrisy here, that PBS will roll over for big-name lefties. PBS, of course, denies that it did so, pretending that the decision to omit facts that Affleck was uncomfortable dealing with was an editing decision having nothing to do with Affleck.

In a statement responding to the hacked emails Friday, Gates defended their decision to edit out that chapter of Affleck’s lineage, reasoning that it wasn’t “interesting” enough.”We focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry — including a Revolutionary War ancestor, a 3rd great-grandfather who was an occult enthusiast, and his mother who marched for Civil Rights during the Freedom Summer of 1964,” he stated in part.

“We are very grateful to all of our guests for allowing us into their personal lives and have told hundreds of stories in this series including many about slave ancestors-never shying away from chapters of a family’s past that might be unpleasant.”

PBS further stated that Gates made an “independent editorial judgment” when choosing what would go into the episode. It’s a decision they stand by.

by @ 5:16 pm. Filed under Misc.

May 8, 2015

New Huckabee Introductory Videos: Hope, Promise

Mike Huckabee has two new introductory videos. One entitled, “Hope” about his hometown. The other entitled, “Promise” narrated by his wife about him and their marriage. You can watch them both below.


-Matthew Newman is an engineer and blogger who also writes at Old Line Elephant and Red Maryland. Follow Newman on Twitter @mdmrn.

by @ 12:39 pm. Filed under 2016, Campaign Advertisements, Mike Huckabee

Graham Reported to Enter Race June 1

South Carolina US Senator Lindsey Graham is rumored to be entering the Presidential race on June 1, according to sources inside his campaign. FoxNews has more:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to announce his presidential campaign on June 1, GOP sources tell Fox News.

Graham, a three-term senator from South Carolina, is known as a foreign policy hawk in Congress. Though he is considered a long shot — and ranks near the bottom in recent polls of declared and potential Republican presidential candidates — Graham could help drive the debate on national security among a GOP field that includes candidates who sharply question policies ranging from drone strikes to NSA surveillance…A Graham spokesperson would not confirm the June 1 date when reached by Fox News.

Graham, if he enters the race, is expected to focus on national security issues. On fiscal issues, he finds himself at odds with some of the more libertarian elements of the party. A close ally with John McCain, Graham has had harsh words to say in the past for Senator Rand Paul on matters of foreign policy especially.

Do you think he’ll officially enter the race? Or do you think he’s just keeping his name out there? Feel free to comment, respectfully, below.


-Matthew Newman is an engineer and blogger who also writes at Old Line Elephant and Red Maryland. Follow Newman on Twitter @mdmrn.

by @ 12:34 pm. Filed under 2016, Lindsey Graham

May 7, 2015

RUBIO: We Can Expand the American Dream

Team Rubio today released this video of the senator in New Hampshire. The video shows some iconic New Hampshire landmarks while Rubio is heard talking to voters about his ideas for America’s future. Recent polling from New Hampshire has shown Rubio with a better favorable rating than his rivals in the state, matching similar findings in national polls.

by @ 12:57 pm. Filed under Campaign Advertisements, Marco Rubio

May 6, 2015

May 4, 2015

Jeb’s Challenge is Not His Name

It is by now conventional wisdom.

Jeb Bush’s greatest obstacle in the 2016 Republican presidential nomination battle is his last name.

The candidate himself; his mom, his brother; his rivals; the pundits; have all said as much.

Americans are tired of cementing a dynasty that has already claimed two presidents within the past 25 years. Were it not for that, Jeb’s stellar resume’ and skills would propel him to a more sure footed frontrunner position.

That’s misguided.

Sure, the prospect of another Bush in the White House is a turn-off to many voters. However, history has proven that the extended presidential campaign calendar tends to get voters to replace their esoteric opinions of candidates with judgments over their performance on the ground.

Whichever candidate appears to be most ideologically agreeable and readiest to run a strong general election campaign, wins at the end of the day. You betcha that Republican voters were far from enamored about nominating Bob Dole, John McCain or Mitt Romney in the abstract. There just seemed to be no better credible alternative for them to unite under.

Pining for Jeb Smith?

Enter Jeb. If the former Florida governor dwarfs his rivals during the primary campaign season – message, poll performance vs. Hillary, media appearances, debates, etc. – his last name would be irrelevant by the time voters hit the booth.

The problem for Jeb is that, name aside, he is not necessarily the most credible and intriguing candidate. A wealthy 60 plus year old white male, from a privileged background, who last held elective office in 2006, is not exactly what Republican voters are craving for after eight years in the wilderness – regardless of whether anyone in his family was ever president.

Marco Rubio, Scott Walker – to name two – would easily beat Jeb in the generic profile primary. They are arguably ideologically agreeable to a broader swath of the party than him. They pulled off impressive electoral feats a lot more recently. They have adequate governing and political credentials, and are untainted by major scandal. At the same time, their blue collar roots, young age, and freshness on the national scene, are major advantages over Jeb. Already now, some of Jeb’s rivals are doing roughly as well as him, or even better, versus Hillary in polls.

Jeb’s primary advantages over his major rivals are his depth and seasoning. He knows the issues – both foreign and domestic – cold. He is bright and knows how to handle the media, voters and the debate stage. He is unlikely to make any major gaffes or be caught flat-footed during the campaign. (His Hispanic family and fluency in Spanish are advantages over Walker, but not over Rubio.)

These advantages could be enough to carry him over the finish line, just as they were for Mitt Romney in 2012. But that depends more on Jeb’s rivals than on him.

Both Walker and Rubio have had their share of green moments in recent years –Walker’s more recently than Rubio’s. If the two newbies haven’t matured enough by the time the primary is in full gear, the nomination is Jeb’s to lose. On the other hand, there is a great chance that one or both of them will be ready for prime time by then. They are a superior bunch compared to Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, Pawlenty, and company.

Rubio’s smooth campaign launch should be particularly encouraging to his supporters. Even if the two of them aren’t ripe enough, there’s always room for someone like John Kasich to fill the niche.

If Jeb’s credible – and arguably superior – rivals hold their own under the spotlight, his chances diminish considerably.

Money Alone Won’t Do It

Jeb will no doubt raise more money and gather more endorsements than his primary rivals. That won’t be enough.

All the talk about money and the establishment buying elections is overdone. Yes, you need a lot of money and organization to run a credible major campaign. But having more money than your rivals – even by a lot – is far from a guarantee of success. Just ask President Steve Forbes, Governor Meg Whitman, Senator Linda McMahon, among others. Or Mitt Romney circa 2008, for that matter.

It is easy to forget just how close Romney came to losing the 2012 primary. Were it not for his rivals’ gaping flaws and gaffes, he would likely have lost the nomination – despite his lopsided monetary and establishment support advantage. Rick Santorum won Iowa. Newt Gingrich won South Carolina and would likely have won Florida if he weren’t decimated by Romney in the pre-primary debates. Santorum came within a hair of beating Romney in Ohio.

All indications are that Bush’s major rivals – even Ted Cruz – will amass enough dough and competent operatives to run very credible campaigns. Jeb’s prayer is for his rivals to self-destruct. That’s far from where his father and brother were at this stage in their victorious campaigns.


-Simon Blum is a freelance journalist and marketing copywriter. Follow Simon on Twitter @sbpundit.

by @ 11:15 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Opinion

Ben Carson Announcement

Ben Carson announced yesterday he was formally running for President on WKRC-TV in Ohio, a local TV station. He has a formal announcement event ongoing now. You can watch the event live here – having trouble embedding the video.

Feel free to comment on the announcement, respectfully, below.

Fun how both Fiorina and Carson are effectively announcing on Star Wars Day…

EDIT 5/4/15 12:24 PM EDT:

Carson posted the May 4 announcement to YouTube, so I can embed it below. It’s starting when he takes the stage.

by @ 10:26 am. Filed under 2016, 2016 Headlines, Ben Carson

Carly’s In

With a Tweet and some media last night/this morning, Carly Fiorina announced she is running for President and launched her campaign website. It has a video embedded with her about her announcement and it begins by showing Hillary Clinton’s announcement. It’s well done. She’s on Good Morning America this morning and will be on Katie Couric this afternoon.

Discuss her candidacy (respectfully) in the comments.

by @ 6:51 am. Filed under 2016, Carly Fiorina

May 1, 2015

Mike Huckabee Announcement Video: Nailed Shut

Feels more like an introduction video than an announcement to me. Feel free to comment below.

by @ 8:37 am. Filed under 2016, Mike Huckabee

April 30, 2015

Sometimes Your Coalition Picks You

In my most recent post, I explored the possibilities regarding what the next electoral map might look like if Republicans manage to win back the White House in 2016. In this post, I’d like to take a different tack, and instead examine what the next Republican coalition might look like, as a whole. Since every new president forms a slightly different coalition than his predecessors, it isn’t unreasonable to suggest that the Rubio, Walker, Kasich or (Jeb) Bush coalition might look a tad different from the (George W.) Bush coalition. And while Republicans are attempting to game out just who the persuadable voters are at any given moment, the next Republican president might discover that he doesn’t get to pick his coalition, but that his coalition will pick him.

For some background on all of this, let’s examine the 2000 election. Having lost two elections in a row to Bill Clinton, Republicans believed that the answer to taking back the White House was to win back the big states that had delivered the presidency to them so many times in the ’50s through the ’80s. It was a foregone conclusion that Gore, like Clinton, was going to win the Upper South, with states like Tennessee and Arkansas having a Blue Dog Democratic tradition to their political bent. So the answer appeared to be for Republicans to neutralize the Clinton/Gore Democratic advantage among suburbanites in the big states.

In order to do this, George W. Bush spent nearly two whole years running a campaign to re-mold the Republican Party into the home of the soccer mom. He was a Compassionate Conservative, which was a coded way of saying that he’d spend more money on education and the environment, without cutting entitlements or raising taxes. He tried to become the ideal Republican for moderates in the suburbs. In the fall of 2000, pundits on major news networks were predicting that New Jersey and California would be swing states, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge had at one time been Bush’s preferred choice for veep to help deliver the Keystone State (before being nixed for his pro-choice views).

But despite all of this, the big states with lots of Main Street suburbanites, like New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California, all went for Gore. And with gusto. Meanwhile, Gore lost his home state of Tennessee, was wiped out all over flyover country, and lost Florida, with George W. Bush becoming president.

In that election, Bush’s coalition picked him, not the other way around. Gore was too strong among the moderate independents in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan for Bush to make real inroads. But Gore lacked Clinton’s appeal to working class whites, Southerners, and voters in the Interior West. Meanwhile, Bush was stronger among those voters than either his father or Bob Dole, and despite his best efforts, had no natural appeal to 40-year-old women in New Jersey with college degrees, three kids, and a minivan. The result was a Bush victory, but in a way that no one anticipated.

Now, fast-forward back to the present day. Hillary Clinton is prepared to sail to the Democratic nomination, but, like Al Gore, she lacks the same appeal as her predecessor to his entire base. Unlike Gore, though, Mrs. Clinton’s losses will occur among a different set of voters. She’s less likely to do as well as Obama among Hispanics, voters with college degrees, and younger voters. The Clintons are adept at winning the Black American vote, though turnout among Black Americans won’t be as high as with Obama, and the Clintons are also very strong among middle class whites, a group that will come out stronger for Hillary than Obama.

Meanwhile, the various prospective Republican nominees are each playing up their strengths among different elements of the electorate. Rubio believes he can win greater numbers of Hispanics and younger voters than prior Republican candidates for president. Walker and Kasich are going to go for the Sam’s Club shoppers in the Midwest. And Bush seems to be running as the candidate for everyone on a, “Right to Rise” theme. But despite their best laid plans, the eventual Republican nominee is going to find, as GWB did in 2000, that the parts of the electorate that don’t want Hillary as president are going to be the same parts of the electorate that will help form the winning coalition of the next Republican president.

by @ 2:48 pm. Filed under 2016

Perry Campaign Advertisement: The Story of Marcus Luttrell & Rick Perry

New Rick Perry web ad entitled, “The Story of Marcus Luttrell & Rick Perry.”

by @ 2:07 pm. Filed under 2016, Campaign Advertisements, Rick Perry

April 29, 2015

Rubio is the new Romney at R42016

Well the results are in. According to the readers here at R42016, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is the runaway choice for the GOP nomination.

Below are the results from our unscientific poll conducted over the last few days.

Candidate / First Choice Votes / Second Choice Votes

Marco Rubio 46  25

Rand Paul 9  5

Mike Huckabee 8  3

Scott Walker 7  16

Jeb Bush 7  4

John Kasich 4  10

Bobby Jindal 2  6

Ted Cruz 2  6

Chris Christie 2  2

Carly Fiorina 2  2

Ben Carson 1  1

Lindsey Graham 0  1

Peter King 0  1

Rick Perry 0  1

Mike Pence 0  1

Candidates receiving zero first or second choice votes: Bob Ehrlich, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Rick Snyder and Donald Trump.


by @ 11:21 am. Filed under 2016, Marco Rubio, Misc.

Race 4 2016 Open Thread

As always, the rules of open threads are as follows:

-No profanity

-No religious attacks

-No personal attacks on the family members of candidates

-No trolling or feeding of trolls

Other than that, have at it in the comments!

by @ 5:00 am. Filed under Headlines & Open Threads

April 28, 2015

Acceptability and the Big Three

The Cook Political Report, run by Charlie Cook, is one of the most well-respected political organizations in the country — not to mention one of the most impressively accurate in its electoral predictions. So we should all sit up and take note when they publish an article by their national editor, Amy Walter, with this sentence:

At the end of the day, when you put all the assets and liabilities on the table, it’s hard to see anyone but Rubio, Bush or Walker as the ultimate nominee.

That may seem like a no-brainer to some of us, but in a field that will potentially have 20 challengers, for a prediction made ten months before any actual voting takes place, and for such a reputable organization, this qualifies as a pretty significant assertion.

The futures betting sites (or what’s left of them after Intrade got shut down after the last presidential election) generally agree with Ms. Walter. Sites like PredictWise and Betfair give the trio of Rubio, Bush, and Walker a combined 70% chance at the nomination. (Bush currently comes in at 31%, with Rubio at 20 and Walker at 19.) In fact, the only other two candidates who are even given more than a 2% shot are Rand Paul (4%) and Mike Huckabee (6%).

In the latest Quinnipiac poll (a survey where Rubio, Bush, and Walker have all taken a turn leading the pack in the past several months), we can see just how strong the support for the trio is: they are the only three candidates in double digits in the topline results. But it goes even further than that: when Bush supporters were asked who their second choice was, Rubio and Walker were the only ones in double digits again (at 18% and 12%, respectively). When Walker supporters were asked their second choice, Rubio and Bush again clock in as #1 and #2, with 20% and 12% respectively.

In other words, if you chop of one of the three heads of this hydra, the others will only get stronger.

That’s a good reason to predict that one of those three will end up as the Republican nominee. It’s also one of the reasons I will go on record as predicting this primary will be less divisive than many think it will be.

With twenty candidates, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the party splinters, messy intraparty fighting breaks out, and a brokered convention becomes a reality in Cleveland. Every slice of the Republican electorate will back their preferred candidate until the bitter end, with primary and caucus winners walking away with less than 20% of the vote. It’s going to be a messy, bitter fight, right?

I don’t think so.

A comparison between our potentially massive 2016 field of candidates and the fields of 2008 and 2012 is quite instructive on this point. In 2008, the three-headed frontrunning hydra was comprised of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. None of the three satisfied the grassroots side of the party — who could forget the campaigns against “Rudy McRomney”? The unease with the three moderate frontrunners led to a shifting groundswell of support, first for Sam Brownback, then for Mike Huckabee, and finally in the epic failure that was the Fred Thompson campaign. Eventually, the activist side of the party gave in to McCain’s inevitable nomination, but not before Huckabee stayed in far longer than he should have (“I didn’t major in math, I majored in God,” anyone?), leaving lasting wounds in the party.

And in 2012, the field only had one legitimate frontrunner: it was Mitt Romney versus everyone else. Some commentators even referred to the GOP primary as “Mitt and the Munchkins.” The fact that Governor Romney had to expend so much effort, time, and resources to dispatch ridiculously weak candidates like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich displayed again how deeply uneasy and dissatisfied the party was with the GOP frontrunner. The White Knight candidacy of Rick Perry is also illustrative of this fact; likewise, many folks were pining for Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour, or Chris Christie to enter the race late into the campaign.

Our 2016 frontrunners stand in stark contrast to those of 2008 and 2012. In fact, after two elections where “dissatisfied” was the word most often used to describe the field, the opposite might be said of 2016. At this early stage, it seems everyone could be quite satisfied. The establishment-type folks who never like Romney find a champion in Jeb Bush — but even if Bush falters, they are okay with Rubio and Walker. The grassroots folks who never trusted McCain or Romney are finding plenty to like in Walker and Rubio. Even if they may be backing Cruz or Huckabee or Perry right now, when those candidates fall short those voters are generally okay with Walker or Rubio as well.

In 2016, there will be little yearning for a white knight candidate — partially because the field will be so large to start with, but mostly because the three frontrunners are acceptable to the varying factions in the GOP. And so this primary campaign will take on a different look: there will be no “flavor-of-the-month” candidates this time around because voters will not be attempting to find acceptable alternatives. There will be the big three, Bush and Rubio and Walker, who will ebb and flow, but remain the big three. And there will be movement in the second and third tier candidates below them as candidates like Huckabee and Cruz and Perry catch fire and cool off, but that movement will do little to impact the ultimate outcome of the race.

As Amy Walter put it, at this point in the Republican primary race it’s hard to see anyone other than Rubio, Bush, or Walker as the ultimate nominee.

April 27, 2015

Who is the R42016 Readers’ Choice For President?

This is obviously a very unscientific poll, but as the nomination cycle begins to get into full swing, it feels like a good time to take a survey among our readers here to see how much support the various candidates have.

In comments section, list your top two (2) choices for the GOP nomination for president.  I will leave this thread open for a few days and then create a new thread later in the week with the results.

For those not paying attention, the candidates or potential candidates are, in alphabetical order, as follows:

Gov. Jeb Bush (FL)

Dr. Ben Carson

Gov. Chris Christie (NJ)

Sen. Ted Cruz (TX)

Gov. Bob Ehrlich (MD)

Mrs. Carly Fiorina

Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC)

Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR)

Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA)

Gov. John Kasich (OH)

Rep. Peter King (NY)

Gov. George Pataki (NY)

Sen. Rand Paul (KY)

Gov. Mike Pence (IN)

Gov. Rick Perry (TX)

Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)

Sen. Rick Santorum (PA)

Gov. Rick Snyder (MI)

Mr. Donald Trump

Gov. Scott Walker (WI)

by @ 2:36 pm. Filed under 2016, Misc.

April 26, 2015

Poll Watch: Fox News 2016 Presidential Survey

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% {47%} [47%] (51%) {52%} [51%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 43% {45%} [44%] (40%) {41%} [42%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% {45%} [48%] (49%) {52%} [51%] (51%)
  • Jeb Bush (R) 41% {45%} [43%] (42%) {39%} [42%] (38%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% {47%}
  • Marco Rubio (R) 42% {43%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47% {48%} (52%)
  • Ted Cruz (R) 42% {42%} (36%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% {48%}
  • Scott Walker (R) 40% {42%}

National survey of 1,012 registered voters was conducted April 19-21, 2015 under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted March 29-31, 2015 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 25-27, 2015 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 7-9, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted July 20-22, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 13-15, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 2-4, 2014 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Poll Watch, Republican Party

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