November 30, 2015

Kasich Ad: “Is He Worthy?”

  3:39 pm

John Kasich continues to spend out his campaign’s hard money on Donald Trump attack ads:


November 28, 2015

No, Trump is Not Receiving the Endorsement of 100 African American Pastors

  9:48 am

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the news and seen the posters: on Monday, 100 African American pastors will be endorsing Donald Trump at a press conference following a private meeting.

The only problem? It’s not true.

Oh, Donald Trump says it’s true. His campaign says it’s true. And those flyers the campaign designed says it’s true.

But the pastors who are listed as attendees and endorsers disagree:

Bishop Clarence McClendon, a Los Angeles-based minister who was invited to the Monday meeting with clergy, posted to Facebook after the Trump campaign announced the coming endorsements.

“I am not officially endorsing ANY candidate and when I do you will NOT need to hear it from pulpitting courtjesters who suffer from intellectual and spiritual myopia,” he wrote.

Bishop Corletta Vaughn, the Senior Pastor of the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Faith in Detroit, posted a message on Facebook after she said her inbox was “blowing up with inquiries” after her name was included on a list of pastors meeting Trump.

“Let me be clear,” she wrote. “I was invited to attend a gathering of clergy to listen to Mr. Trump on Monday November 30. I respectively (sic.) declined as I do not support nor will endorse Donald Trump.”

“I was asked 2 meet with Mr Trump too but I refused because until he learns how to respect people you can’t represent me thru my endorsement,” Bishop Paul Morton, a prominent pastor in Atlanta tweeted on Friday.

So apparently, Donald Trump’s campaign sent invitations to 100 African American pastors to meet with him on Monday. Then, regardless of whether or not the pastors said they were coming, Trump’s campaign threw their names on a list and said not only were they meeting with Trump, they would endorse him as well! This brazen dishonesty is astounding in degree. Now we learn that not only will Trump not receive their endorsements, many of them aren’t even coming to the meeting at all.

So how many of the 100 pastors are actually going to endorse Donald Trump?

In fact, of the pastors scheduled to meet with Trump earlier in the day, so far only one, Pastor Darrell Scott, has said he will attend the press conference to endorse Trump.

I am just shocked – shocked! – that Donald Trump would blatantly lie for his own gain. But what will he do on Monday when only one person shows up to the meeting that he said would have hundreds?

I have no idea why black pastors would have any problem with Donald Trump, either…

The Trump camp’s own announcement that 100 black ministers will endorse Trump has been greeted in the black faith community with a combination of confusion and anger, particularly after a week in which Trump has mocked a New York Times reporter with a disability, suggested that a black protester who was kicked and punched at a Trump rally in Alabama “deserved it,” and when Trump himself has suggested Muslims be surveilled at certain mosques.

Rev. Jamal Bryant, a prominent AME pastor based in Baltimore… said he had spoken with a number of the pastors attending the Monday meeting who were taken aback by the Trump announcement about the endorsements. “I don’t know what policy these pastors could mobilize around. I can’t find a strand of any policy he has that the larger black community would be respond to.”

Confusion. Anger. Taken aback. Instead of the 100 endorsements Trump promised, that is how the African American faith community is actually responding instead.

Perhaps Trump will stand up to the podium on Monday and explain, in his ever-so-eloquent way, why the lack of support he is receiving is actually the pastors’ fault. How they’re just yooge losers for not endorsing his racist, misogynistic, and fascist-leaning policies. And then he’ll tell us that he’s going to win “the blacks” anyway.

That’s how the Donald Trump realty distortion field seems to work.


November 25, 2015

New Hampshire GOP Chair: Donald Trump Will Not Win Here

  5:38 pm

The Boston Globe has a piece this afternoon highlighting an interview with Jennifer Horn, the current Republican Party Chairwoman in the state of New Hampshire. The Granite State is currently where Donald Trump’s numbers look to be the strongest of any state, which is why Horn’s remarks are making headlines this afternoon: she predicted Trump will not win New Hampshire.

“Shallow campaigns that depend on bombast and divisive rhetoric do not succeed in New Hampshire, and I don’t expect that they will now,” state GOP chair Jennifer Horn said Wednesday in a phone interview, when asked about Trump’s candidacy.


“In New Hampshire, historically, the truth is, people really don’t make their final decisions until very, very close until Election Day,” Horn said, noting that US Senator Marco Rubio has been climbing in state polls. “People are probably underestimating Chris Christie. And, certainly, Bush is working very, very hard in New Hampshire,” she added.

The heavy retail-style campaigning that some candidates have been emphasizing – over, say, Trump’s massive rallies – tend to pay dividends in her state, Horn said.

“Big rallies are a lot of fun, but in New Hampshire voters are looking to have that real conversation with a candidate,” she said.

For a party official – especially the state chair – to weigh in on a primary race in this way is rather unusual. Of course, this prediction is a conflation of Horn’s professional opinion (which is legitimate – she assumedly knows the GOP electorate in NH better than anyone) as well as her implied desire as a GOP official to see Trump lose. The perception of Trump “winning” is a self-perpetuating cycle for him; for him to lose, that cycle must be broken.

While Chairwoman Horn (barely) remained professionally neutral in her interview, however, the Globe has another story out this afternoon reporting the former New Hampshire GOP Chair, Fergus Cullen, is one of the people now actively and publicly working against Donald Trump in the Granite State. What is becoming increasingly clear is Republicans at every level are waking up to the fact that a)Trump is more resilient than they ever believed and b)he is more dangerous than they ever believed — and they are beginning to pull out all the stops to ensure he doesn’t win.


The Decline and Fall of Donald Trump

  3:14 pm

Something that is becoming clear is that the opposition to a Donald Trump nomination is growing too strong for him to ultimately overcome. It’s painfully true that he has been attacked and scorned for months, and made outrageous statement after outrageous statement, and after each he stayed on top. Sometimes he would drop for awhile, such as after the second debate, but would come back again, sometimes higher than ever.

So why should it be any different in the future?  Ever hear the expression; the death of a thousand cuts?  How about the straw that broke the camel’s back?  Only before the cuts were paper cuts, and in the future it will be stiletto cuts; and instead of added straws, in the future it will be added bricks.  One of the things that brought down Trump in Iowa, e.g., was a million dollars in ads by The Club For Growth.  The Club is raising money for a new barrage, and they won’t be engaging in a solo effort,  From an article by Caitlin Huey-Burns in Real Clear Politics:

“The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Republican strategist Liz Mair is launching Trump Card LLC, a group leading a “guerilla campaign” against the businessman that doesn’t have to disclose donors under Federal Election Commission rules. The group plans to sponsor unconventional television and radio ad buys, along with Web ads and opposition research. The group is soliciting donations from all sources, including other campaigns interested in seeing Trump fall.

And New Day for America, a super PAC supporting John Kasich, is preparing to spend at least $2.5 million in anti-Trump messaging. The group launched an ad in New Hampshire painting Trump and Ben Carson as unfit for the role of commander-in-chief.”

One suspects that this is the tip of the iceberg.  Financial backers of other candidates, such as Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, are donating to the Kasich effort to bring down Trump.  They aren’t changing allegiance, but they really want to see Trump go away. It is known that other efforts are in the planning stages.  The RNC is and will remain strictly neutral, but the long knives are being unsheathed.

Long friendly to Donald, and they’ve even appeared together, Ted Cruz has even started to go on the offensive against Trump, telling him to “tone it down,” and saying he, personally, is not a fan of the idea of registering all Muslims.  He has to be circumspect because he wants to see Trump brought low but doesn’t want to offend Trumpkins in the process.  He wants to inherit Donald’s minions.  In the very recent Quinnipiac Poll of Iowa, Trump led with 25%, but Cruz had moved all the way up to 23%, very much within the Poll’s statistical margin of error.  Carson dropped to 18%, not surviving the recent round of media attacks on him intact.

Given the ongoing vectors of support-shifting in Iowa, the new rounds of attacks might well be overkill in and of themselves.  What happens when Trump loses Iowa?  For one thing, the aura of inevitability will be shattered, particularly if Donald loses by a lot.  And he might.  For another, it will make it less likely Trump will do well in New Hampshire.  The other candidates are getting less timid in their verbal sparring with him.  Super PACs other than Kasich’s are waiting for the right moment to pile on.  If and when Trump loses in Iowa, it will be the right time.

The days when the “outsiders,” roughly defined as Trump and Carson, had a cumulative 60% or more in polling are already long gone.  Right now their combined total, nationally, is in the mid 40s.  If Trump and Carson fare as poorly in Iowa as it appears they will, it will drive that total down into the 30s or even lower.

Iowa and New Hampshire will also winnow the field.  Most of the putative candidates in the race will be gone, meaning fewer “establishment” candidates to divide an increasingly larger portion of the pie. It might come down to just Marco Rubio, who has quietly been rising in the polls.  His movement has been overshadowed by Trump and Carson, but Ben is moving lower, and might well not recover.  At most it will come down to Rubio and one other; most probably Jeb Bush.

What will Trump do when he loses?  One suspects that Carson will go silently into that good night, but  Donald not so much.  A better question is:  What will the Trumpkins do?  One shudders to think.


November 24, 2015

Kasich Joins the Fascism-Themed Anti-Trump Chorus With Another Ad: “Dangerous Rhetoric”

  9:22 pm

The narrative continues to emerge… Kasich should be given a standing ovation for using the entirety of his campaign funds to wake people up to the danger of Donald Trump. This is easily his best ad yet:


Washington Post Editorial Board Slams Trump as a “Dangerous”: Advocates Brutality, Appeals to Fear, and Stokes Hatred

  7:29 pm

After CNN noted that Donald Trump sure is displaying a lot of fascist tendencies lately, the Washington Post editorial board is out with an editorial slamming Trump as a “dangerous” and “disturbing” candidate advocating “brutality”. We’re seeing the beginning of a pattern here, folks:

THE GROWING ugliness of Donald Trump’s campaign poses a challenge to us all. We have seen the likes of him before, in the United States and elsewhere: narcissistic bullies who rise to prominence by spreading lies, appealing to fears and stoking hatred. Such people are dangerous.


These are not random errors. All of them appeal to the basest instincts in supporters; they reinforce fears and prejudices. All of them, Mr. Trump knows by now even if he did not know when he first stated them, are false, but he does not care. The amplification of the lies is accompanied by growing intolerance in his campaign, with Mr. Trump praising supporters for beating a protestor, crudely denigrating anyone who challenges him and penning reporters into designated zones so that they cannot speak with his followers. And all of this matches the brutality of his policies: mass deportation of longtime U.S. residents, torture of foreign detainees, expulsion even of refugees who are here legally.


The more reticent such leaders are, the more successfully Mr. Trump can brand their party and, to a disturbing extent, the nation with his demagoguery. The only way to beat a bully is to stand up to him.

As they say on the internets, read the whole thing. There is a growing narrative out there that fun time is over. We’ve all had our laughs about how ridiculous Trump is, and now we’re waking up to the realization that he truly is dangerous. It’s not rhetoric. It’s time to dump Trump once and for all.


CNN: There Sure Are A Lot of Folks Calling Trump a Fascist, Aren’t There?

  6:18 pm

Back in late summer and early fall here on Race42016, our readers and our editors began discussing the idea that Donald Trump was a fascist. (See here and here, for instance.)

Since those days, Donald Trump has more than proven us correct in our assessment: he has placed his fascist tendencies on full display in the way he has dealt with the media, with his Muslim database registration idea, with his endorsement of his supporters physically assaulting a protester, and other insane remarks and attitudes. It’s become so obvious that the mainstream media is finally picking up on the theme, with CNN today wondering: why are so many people now calling Donald Trump a fascist?

Let’s start with the examples CNN gives of some major players who are finally utilizing the “f-word”:

“Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it,” tweeted Max Boot, a conservative fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who is advising Marco Rubio.

“Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fascism. Period. Nothing else to call it,” Jeb Bush national security adviser John Noonan wrote on Twitter.

Conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace, who has endorsed Ted Cruz, also used the “F” word last week: “If Obama proposed the same religion registry as Trump every conservative in the country would call it what it is — creeping fascism.”

Even one GOP presidential hopeful — albeit a little-known candidate barely registering in the polls — has used this language. In an interview with Newsmax TV on Friday, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore said Trump’s immigration policies, including the idea of creating a “deportation force” to remove undocumented immigrants from the country, amounted to “fascist talk.”

Those are all political folks, of course, who are invested in seeing Trump be taken down. But CNN went further and asked some scholars and historians about Donald Trump and this burgeoning perception:

Scholars of fascists like Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany… say, however, that Trump does display some of the key characteristics of a fascist. His comments about a national registry for Muslim-Americans, together with his propensity to stir up anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiments among his supporters, amount to a perception of hostility toward ethnic and religious minority groups.

“The most recent comment he said about creating a national registry of all Muslims — that’s very dangerous,” said Steve Ross, a professor of history and scholar of fascism at the University of Southern California… “You’re talking about an American government that would move towards the persecution of citizens and people living within its own country,” he said. “That is why people are saying, ‘Gee, if you follow this through, it’s fascism.’ ”


Historians say they see other characteristics of fascism in Trump in addition to his propensity for racial and ethnic stereotyping. Among them: nativist undertones, attempts to control the media; and even condoning violence against his critics.

At a Trump campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, a black protester was physically attacked by a handful of Trump fans in the crowd. Video captured by CNN shows the man being shoved to the ground, punched and at one point even kicked. The next day, Trump drew fierce backlash when he said that perhaps “he should have been roughed up.”

The sentiment was then echoed by Trump’s senior counsel Michael Cohen. “Every now and then an agitator deserves it,” Cohen said on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning.

Ross said the incident illustrates behavior that is only steps removed from fascism.

“We had the same thing happening in Germany in the 1920s with people being roughed up by the Brownshirts and they deserved it because they were Jews and Marxists and radicals and dissidents and gypsies — that was what Hitler was saying,” Ross said.

Once upon a time, Donald Trump was a joke. Then he was a danger to the Republican Party. Now the growing consensus among politicos, scholars, and historians, is that Donald Trump is a danger to the country. There is no way I can see that Trump ever withstands the authoritarian temptation. His campaign has given ample evidence of the kind of leader he would be, and it is, as Steve Ross says above, dangerous. It has no place in the Republican Party or in America as a whole. As more and more people finally wake up to this fact, hopefully it means the Trump Train gets derailed sooner than it would have otherwise.


November 23, 2015

Iowa and New Hampshire Strategies Come Into Focus

  5:41 pm

We are now, today, exactly ten weeks away from the Iowa caucuses on February 1. As the date of the first actual votes draws closer, the strategies in the early states are slowly coming into focus. Today, two articles show how the races in Iowa and New Hampshire are shaping up behind the scenes.

First, the Hawkeye State, where Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are setting up for a Battle Royale. As Politico notes with their lede, “Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz weren’t the only candidates in Iowa this weekend, but they might as well have been.” But what about Trump and Carson? Let’s let an Iowa resident explain it:

“Trump’s out there in the front, but he’s not presidential. He’s not going to make it. So it’s shifting. Ted Cruz has been more available and he has quite a following, especially the younger generation. And he comes here regularly,” said Greg Crawford of Des Moines, who along with his wife Julie listened to seven GOP presidential hopefuls for three hours Friday. “But there is a lot of interest in seeing more of Rubio, because we’ve all seen in the debates how smart he is and how he can be inspiring. Everyone is starting to sense it coming down to those two.

Politico notes that Iowans’ “expectations” are “that Trump and Carson are near the apex of their support – or will soon be in eclipse” and that they have started moving on to real candidates now. That means Rubio and Cruz. So how do these two plan to win the caucuses?

For Cruz, it’s simple: rebuild the same coalitions that gave Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum their caucus victories in ’08 and ’12. So far, it appears to be working: Cruz is solidifying his hold on the evangelical community and the conservative grassroots activists. As one Iowan pastor noted, “If you go to my church on Saturday, every car will have a Cruz sticker on it.” Cruz is also seen as having an inside track to Bob Vander Plaats’ endorsement, which, coupled with Steve King, could be more than enough to put him over the top on caucus day.

So what is Rubio’s strategy? He entered this race as the compromise candidate – everyone’s second choice – and that’s how he’s planning to win Iowa as well. He’s meeting with pastors and doing some Christian conservative events, such as the Family Leader Forum last Friday, but he knows he won’t win that demographic and he’s hoping to peel off just enough support from that group to keep Cruz from winning. Meanwhile, he is also racking up support from “governance-minded establishment conservatives [and] Tea Party-oriented fiscal conservatives.” In other words, Rubio is attempting to build a wide coalition of support while Cruz focuses on a narrow but deep well of support.

So far, it’s anybody’s ball game. You can hear how close of a call it is in the way voters describe their choice:

“[Rubio]’s my number one choice right now; Cruz is number two,” said Melissa Hines, who attended Rubio’s first town hall Saturday morning in Oskaloosa. “Marco’s a little more electable in the general, and that’s why we lean a little more to him.”


“I’m more impressed than ever,” said Robert Auld, after hearing Rubio in Oskaloosa. “I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen in the media, but I’m especially impressed with what I heard today.” Auld names Rubio and Cruz as his two favorites – for now, Rubio has the edge. “I like his youth and his vigor and his ideas. I think he’s right that we need a new generation to make things happen,” Auld said.

At this point, I’d put Cruz as a favorite to win Iowa, but it could go either way depending on how the next 10 weeks shape up. Which then brings us to New Hampshire, where the battle isn’t Cruz and Rubio, but rather Bush and Rubio.

National Review has a glimpse into how Jeb and Marco are strategizing in the Granite State, and it comes down to one thing: age.

Jeb Bush is doing more than 20 points better in favorability ratings (!) among senior citizens than he is among the general electorate. This fact is driving his last-ditch desperation effort in New Hampshire: focus on getting out the senior vote while Rubio is focusing on younger generations. Bush has several factors working in his favor with regards to this improbable gamble: first, New Hampshire’s population is older than the national average; second, Republican primaries tend to draw disproportionate numbers of older voters; and third, older voters have historically been much more likely to go out and actually vote than younger voters.

This confluence of realities — New Hampshire’s aging population, the disproportionate tendency of older voters to vote, and Bush’s popularity among that demographic — explains why half of the “Jeb Can Fix It” bus tour was spent in far-flung Carroll County, 90 minutes north of the Manchester media market. A quarter of all Carroll County residents are 65 or older, according to the Census Bureau, nearly twice the national average.


The median age [at Bush’s event] was Medicare-eligible; nearly every attendee had white hair, though some covered it with caps commemorating service in the conflicts of epochs past.

“These,” Hunt says, looking out over Bush’s audience inside the Wright Museum, “are the reliable voters.”

Meanwhile, Rubio is doing the same thing in New Hampshire that he’s doing in Iowa: attempting to build a broad coalition of voters. Of course, naturally, his events are drawing more millennials:

The event couldn’t have looked or sounded more different from Rubio’s appearance earlier that day at St. Anselm’s in Manchester. There, addressing an overwhelmingly youthful audience that had been warmed up with an unedited version of Tupac’s “Changes,” Rubio related to Millennials with talk of Candy Crush, student-loan reform, NFL football, Uber, and, of course, the forthcoming Star Wars film. It wasn’t without substance; Rubio made his case that the old guard of politicians is peddling “20th-century solutions to 21st-century problems.” America, he told them, “is in desperate need of leaders that understand life in the new economy.”


Rubio explained that his host, the company Granite State Manufacturing, was producing this kind of innovative combat equipment to win the wars America has yet to fight. “We cannot survive the global perils of the 21st century with a military built for the 20th,” he declared. As a political motif, it was consistent with what Rubio had preached the previous afternoon while addressing a roomful of Millennials at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester — right around the time Bush’s campaign bus was touring retirement communities up north.

This contrast, NR notes, is “jarring and highly instructive.” But they also note one glaring flaw in Jeb’s plan: Rubio’s attempt to build a broad coalition in New Hampshire is working so far; in fact, in the crosstabs of the latest polls Rubio is beating Bush among all age demographics – including senior citizens.

In Iowa, Rubio hopes to peel off enough conservative evangelicals to launch him ahead of Ted Cruz, who is focusing on that group. In New Hampshire, Rubio is hoping to peel off enough senior citizens to launch him ahead of Jeb Bush, who is focusing on that group. And in both states, the voters are expecting Donald Trump and Ben Carson (along with Kasich, Christie, and others) to be non-factors by the time February rolls around.

It’s an interesting look into the strategy of these three candidates, but there is another danger inherent in Rubio’s plan that has yet to be illuminated: Rubio will be fighting a two-front war in February. He’ll be battling with Cruz, who has the luxury of focusing on Iowa, at the same time he’ll be battling with Bush, who has the luxury of focusing on New Hampshire. Rubio’s time and resources will be divided, and whatever the results in Iowa, he’ll have to pivot immediately to New Hampshire while Cruz would assumedly head straight to South Carolina.

This could end one of two ways for Rubio: like Romney 2008, or like Romney 2012. In both cases, Romney decided to contest both states against opponents who focused only on one. In one case, Romney was soundly defeated; in the other, he ended up as the Republican nominee. In about ten weeks, we’ll find out which path Marco Rubio will be taking.


John Kasich Taking One for the Team, Taking Down Donald Trump

  3:19 pm

John Kasich has come to the (easy) conclusion that he will never be president of the United States.

This campaign is not going his way, and he is an intelligent man. He sees it and understands it. The natural thing to do after coming to that realization is to drop out of the race — and eventually, he will. But first, he’s unloading his warchest on one of his opponents.

Kasich is taking one for the team and launching a blitz to take down Donald Trump.

We’ve talked before about how Mitt Romney has assembled an alliance of center-right candidates in this race, and Governor Kasich is one of those on the team. In order to clear a path for the eventual winner from that team (most likely Marco Rubio), Kasich has agreed to do the dirty work on his way out of the race. Coming into this quarter, Kasich had a few million dollars cash on hand and his Super PAC had over $11 million. That ~$14 million warchest will now be unloaded with the purpose of removing the cancer of Donald Trump from the GOP race.

It began with an ad from Kasich’s campaign entitled “Freedom Matters,” hammering Trump for his stance on Russia and friendliness with Vladimir Putin:

Then it continued with an ad from Kasich’s Super PAC today entitled “Trump’s Greatest Hits – Part I”:

To be continued, indeed. Millions in the bank, all aimed at exposing Donald Trump – expect more ads in the days and weeks to come that put Trump’s insanity front and center before the voters. And before you say the ads will have no effect because the voters already know about all these ludicrous moments, remember: a very small percentage of voters are actually paying attention at this point in the race (Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight pegs it at around 20%) and only a small minority of voters actually know all of the crazy things Trump has said and done. Just as the Club for Growth ads made a dent in Trump’s Iowa numbers, these ads have the potential to do the same if Kasich and his Super PAC play it properly.

Trump says publicly he’s not afraid of Kasich, of course, but upon learning that Kasich was planning to take him down Trump launched a bizarre Twitter tirade against Kasich that might indicate otherwise. Now, Kasich might prove to be more valuable to the GOP as he exits the race than he ever was while he was still in it.


November 20, 2015


  11:42 am

1. Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida

Sen. Rubio’s move to become the top mainstream candidate in the field has been cemented more over the past month. The Florida senator was declared by polls and pundits to be the winner of the fourth GOP debate, and he has continued to outpace the field in political and financial endorsements since September. As mainstream conservatives move to consolidate support behind the senator, other candidates have begun to flail wildly at Rubio to their detriment, both on the debate stage and on the campaign trail. With favorable/unfavorable numbers that are the envy of the filed, general election numbers that show the senator to be the most electable, and rising primary poll numbers that place the senator second is the most recent state polls, watch for the consolidation to accelerate.

2. Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas

Cruz continues to execute a brilliant strategy, consolidating as much of the Tea Party and evangelical vote as he can get. His campaign in Iowa was boosted by the endorsement of rabid anti-immigrant congressman Steve King, a big plus in the primary that will prove damaging in a general election. Cruz has steadily risen in the polls, but inevitably the Texas senator will have to confront the obstacles of Ben Carson and Donald Trump to truly dominate the far right.

3. Donald Trump  Chairman and President of The Trump Organization 

Trump’s clown show continues, with one embarrassing public debacle after another. From comparing the respected Dr. Carson to a child molester, to confusing bombers and fighter jets, to calling for a fascistic Muslim database, Trump’s idiocy remains the most entertaining, and disturbing, show in politics. Unfortunately for his fans, Trump’s poll leads are artificial, a cause of the unusually large field. But will those same polls indicating that Trump is the leading candidate in the “will never support” category, his time on top is limited, and a narrow field will quickly dispatch the Clinton donor for good.

4. Ben Carson  former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital 

Dr. Carson’s high poll numbers and brief number one position brought an avalanche of criticism that he has thus far proven incapable of handling. From the confusion over his past statements and personal stories to his alarming lack of foreign policy gravitas, the former surgeon is proving to be in over his head. He remains personally well liked, but voters are begging to move on to more serious options.

5. Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida

In the beginning of the race many thought Gov. Jeb Bush’s last name would be a hinderance, but ironically, it is now the only thing keeping him in the race. The Bush family network has cobbled enough money and endorsements together to allow Jeb to limp on in a campaign that he is clearly unfit to win. Donors have shifted to Sen. Marco Rubio, and Bush’s endorsements have stalled, with most coming prior to the launch of his campaign in the spring. Pride may keep him going, by 20 million in Super PAC ads have failed to lift his numbers, and there is no reason to believe more money will change that.

6. Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey

The New Jersey governor has been the victim of very bad luck. After a strong debate performance in October and an uptick in his polls, Christie was bumped to the “kid’s table” debate by the Fox Business Channel, dealing a blow to his campaign’s viability. Still, his raw talent, captured in a viral moment discussing drug addiction in New Hampshire, reminded people why he was a frontrunner once. He is pushing hard in New Hampshire, but is stuck in the glut of establishment governors competing in the state.

7. Carly Fiorina  former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

Despite another strong debate performance, Fiorina is struggling to raise money and secure ballot positions and full delegate slates. She will need to find other ways besides debates to recapture momentum.

8. John Kasich  Governor of Ohio

Kasich did damage to himself in the last debate, proving incapable of articulating his bailout position. He lost the crowd and many watching. He remains in contention in New Hampshire, polling consistently in the double digits and ahead of Jeb Bush. His Super PAC is launching a multi-million dollar negative ad campaign against Trump that could make or break his New Hampshire-centric effort.

9. Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky

Paul’s lack of money and poor poll numbers continue to plague his quixotic candidacy, and his isolationist rhetoric on ISIS led to a damaging moment against Sen. Marco Rubio in the last debate. While his libertarian fans cheered, follow up polls indicated Paul’s debate performance did him more harm than good.

10. Rick Santorum  former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania

Santorum has no chance at the nomination, and has simply risen on to the rankings by the virtue of other candidates dropping out.

Drop Out Watch:  Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki,  Jim Gilmore


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