Tag: John Kasich

Stupor Tuesday

So more primaries yesterday. Clinton won at least four. As of this morning, she’s also leading in Missouri but it’s too close to call for sure. Kasich won Ohio, but Trump won three states, including Florida and is currently 0.2% ahead in Missouri. Depending on how the delegates shake out, Trump could be on the path to a clear majority in the delegates, which would give him the nomination outright. Projections now have him at 691, just a shade below the 700 he needs to be on track for majority.

After losing Florida, Rubio dropped out and gave a speech that was a reminder of why he was the candidate the Democrats feared most. With Rubio out, Cruz is now the clear NotTrump. But it may be too little, too late. Rubio and Kasich split off enough of the vote for Trump to win several states. Unless Cruz really starts surging, it won’t make a difference.

It’s not over yet. Arizona and Utah are next. Arizona is a closed primary and Trump had not done as well in closed primaries. Utah is a caucus and Trump’s support among Mormons is very low. You then have a bunch of contests stretching into May, including New York (where Trump should clean up) and Pennsylvania (a closed winner-take all primary). But, if Cruz starts winning some states, I suspect this will go down to California with its closed winner-take all 172 delegates on June 7. That will be the final battleground to stop Trump.

So yeah, we may have another three months of this. And then, maybe, another two months while we slug out the convention. Of course, even then, Trump will probably still have a plurality of delegates. And if he’s denied the nomination, it could get ugly.

Hold on to your britches, folks. It’s not over yet.


One of the many reasons Trump is winning? This one.

Expect the media to turn on Trump once he’s the nominee. It’s all about electing Clinton. Always has been.

Where I Am Right Now, February Version

So we had two more debates over the weekend. I won’t go blow-by-blow through them. Trump continued to be obnoxious. Bush punched back. Rubio and Cruz sparred, occasionally in Spanish. Kasich tried to set himself up as the adult in the room (not always successfully). Instead of going through that, I thought I’d lay out what my current impression is of the candidates and the order in which I would vote for them. I’ve put all the candidates in the list except for Ben Carson. The reason I’ve left Carson out is because I’m not sure what I make of him and I don’t think he’ll be in this much longer. The others should last at least through Super Tuesday.

So here’s my current preference for presidential candidates. Keep in mind that these rankings are fluid and could change significantly as the race progresses.


New Hampshire Votes

Last night we had another early primary, this time in New Hampshire. It went pretty much as the polls predicted. On the Republican side, Trump won, Kasich came in second and Rubio a surprisingly distant fifth. Sanders beat Clinton handily.

A few points:

It tells you a lot about the Democratic Party that Sanders walloped Clinton, beat her by twenty points. And yet Clinton actually won more delegates, according to CNN. The reason is that New Hampshire has eight “superdelegates” — party bigwigs who will vote with the establishment. In 2008, you may remember that the superdelegates became a big deal. For a while, it looked like Clinton would lose the primary vote but win the nomination due to the superdelegates. It will be interesting to see if that dynamic plays out again. I predict a rebellion at the convention if Clinton wins because she locked up the party establishment early. Sanders still trails nationally so I still expect Clinton to win outright. But the gap is closing, as you can tell by the increasingly desperate cries of the Clinton supporters (e.g., Steinem and Albright castigating young women for supporting Sanders).

If the GOP doesn’t get their act together, there’s a very good chance Trump will be the nominee and a very good chance Clinton will be the next President. Last night’s tally was a paradigm of everything going on right now. Trump only got a third of the vote. His negatives among GOP voters are actually very high. But the difference is that the faction supporting Trump are supporting Trump. The non-trump vote is divided among seven different candidates. So Trump walked away with the state and nine of its twelve delegates while getting less of the vote than Clinton did.

So who is the non-Trump candidate? Rubio was supposed to be surging. He finished fifth. Was it the gaffe at the debate? Everyone is claiming it was and I’m happy to eat some crow on that. But we tend to get too wedded to narratives in political season. Throughout this election cycle, Rubio has always been the candidate of tomorrow and tomorrow never seems to come. He may just not be that good a candidate, debate gaffe or no debate gaffe.

Kasich finished second but that’s because he bet everything on New Hampshire. He has minimal national presence and will almost certainly be finished by Super Tuesday.

It’s time for Fiorina to drop out. She’s going nowhere. It’s also time for Christie to drop out. I like the big guy and think he’d be a formidable national candidate, potentially swiping blue states from the Democrats. But New Hampshire was supposed to be his big breakthrough and it wasn’t. I also think it’s time for Carson to drop out. Carson is a nice man but he’s not happening.

That would leave us with a field of Trump, Kasich, Cruz, Bush and Rubio. It would free up 15% of the vote and give a Trump alternative a real chance to emerge. Will the GOP man up? Will the non-candidates drop out? On such decisions will the fate of the 2016 election turn.

First Debate

Surprise! I actually watched (most of) tonight’s debate, around tucking kids into bed. I must say that Fox News did a good job moderating, going after the candidates in a way that the MSM has completely failed to go after Clinton. Megyn Kelly, in particular, asked some tough questions. This is a good thing for the GOP because it will help separate the contenders from the pretenders.

My quick take:

Marcio Rubio did very well (despite the tough abortion question). He was relaxed, genial and had a grasp on the struggles of the middle class. I think — or maybe hope is the right word — that he has put himself back into the conversation.

I was unimpressed by Bush. No one laid a glove on him but he didn’t really make the case to me that he should be the front-runner. To be honest, I was kind of reminded of Romney in 2012. It seemed like Bush just didn’t want to get bloodied while the other candidates took each other out. “Last man standing” worked for Romney, but it may not be enough this time.

I was surprisingly unimpressed by Walker. He didn’t do badly but he didn’t jump out at me either and I’m having trouble, 15 minutes after the debate ended, remembering anything significant he said. This is part of Walker’s style, though.

I have really soured on Mike Huckabee. He’s big government in every way — a massive social conservative and opposed to any meaningful budget cuts. He’s also a supporter of the Fair Tax gimmick, which I oppose.

I liked Ben Carson a lot, not necessarily as a candidate but as a person. Of all the candidates, he seemed the most likable and the least politicized and the most unaffected by the spotlight. But he also didn’t show any credibility on policy and seemed to disappear at times. He would definitely win the “who would you like to have a beer with” competition (Rand would call for straight whiskey). His line about how we are our minds and not our skin was moving.

John Kasich made the case that he belong in the race, giving a great answer on gay marriage and highlighting his solid experience. I expect him to stay in this for a while.

I was once very high on Chris Christie, but I don’t think he brings anything unique to the table (other than flogging his 9/11 experience, which is not as impressive as he thinks). And his record in New Jersey is poor.

Rand Paul didn’t impress me that much either, I must say. I like Paul in the mix and I like him in the Senate. I think his chances of winning the nomination are basically zero.

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump had some one liners but neither seemed to make any real statement that they should be President.

I didn’t see the “kids table” debate earlier in the day but I’m told that the only candidate who did well was Fiorina. I’m not surprised. She’s very smart and savvy and she’s the only one that I think has a chance of getting back onto the big stage. I think there’s a very good chance she will be the Vice Presidential nominee.

So, right now, my impression of the candidates is:

Front-runners: Bush, Walker, Trump
Back in the Coversation: Rubio, Kasich
Call it a Night, Fellas: Christie, Cruz, Paul, Carson, Huckabee