Road to 2016: Power Rankings Week XIV

POWER RANKINGS 2016

37 Weeks out of the Iowa Caucus

77 Weeks out of Election Day 2016

There are currently 6 national GOP candidates declared.

_____________________________________________________________

First Class Candidates, GOP

_____________________________________________________________

http://d35brb9zkkbdsd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Marco-Rubio-Big-Smile-600x399.jpgMarco Rubio:  Senator Rubio is up to the top of the list this week. Some of this has to do with Scott Walker’s apparent inability to make any headlines worth reporting and the novelty of Rubio growing as the anti-Bush. Rubio has begun to drag headlines away from Scott Walker and has begun to coax conservatives into trusting him as the face of the Party. This is in conjunction with putting himself forward as an establishment alternative to Jeb Bush. As Rubio knows, and as we’ve talked about before, Rubio’s big threat to moving up in the world of politics is Jeb Bush. This threat arises out of practicality rather than politics: there is no way Rubio can be a Vice Presidential candidate from Bush (the two men hailing from the same state). While Rubio’s early announcement and media savvy puts him at the top of the current list, the nomination is not the only possible endgame for the Senator from Florida.

Current Rating: Up one spot to 1st

Political Stock: BUY

_____________________________________________________________

Scott WaFile:Scott Walker by Gage Skidmore.jpglker: The Supreme Court today declined to take up a case about campaign finance from Walker’s Wisconsin. Like much of the rest of the news surrounding Walker, it’s neither a good headline, nor a bad headline. While it’s difficult to judge future performance based on the current political climate, the fact that Walker has remained out of the spotlight shows that he is taking political advice behind the scenes. This advice: let someone else be the lightning rod. This is very sound advice. As we saw in the very early stages of the campaign, Walker was not terribly effective at leading the vanguard of the Republican 2016 field. While he was able to retain his message without many failings, we need to note that he was not ready for prime time. It’s likely that Walker 2.0 is in the works. Walker does appear the best-positioned to take in the “moderate right” and right-wing establishment voters when they really have to pull the lever and select the future of the Party. It also helps that Walker has gotten favorable recent polls in Iowa.

Current Rating: Down one spot to 2nd

Political Stock: BUY

_____________________________________________________________

Jehttp://media.oregonlive.com/opinion_impact/photo/jeb-bush-20119761jpg-a137a6bdd738a087.jpgb Bush: Jeb Bush is a media darling. Now, that’s not to say that the media likes Bush, but the media wants Bush. Bush is a good story and a good punching bag. Bush has baggage and a lot of money. The media’s attempt at a called shot of Bush v. Clinton 2016 looks to be a bit more of a race on the Republican side. Bush, for his part, has done his best to spin his message in a way that moderates can appreciate his nuanced differences from his brother while he still maintains whatever conservative bona fides he garnered from his time as Governor of Florida. To that end, the impact of Bush’s money cannot be overstated. There will come a time when Bush has to enter the race and we see the floodgates open on millions of dollars from Bush’s SuperPAC. The pre-campaign of Jeb Bush will be a future case study on making campaign finance reform a reality. The reform will likely call into question how a candidate (in all but official filings) should be able to raise millions while others (who are official) cannot.

Current Rating: Up one spot to 3rd

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

Rand http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1360018/thumbs/o-RAND-PAUL-facebook.jpgPaul: As the nation seems to move closer towards libertarianism (even if they don’t know it), Rand Paul seems to be moving away from it. While this is a political calculation (libertarians aren’t going to leave if I shade to the center), it still lessens the enthusiasm of some of Dr. Paul’s more strident supporters. A case-in-point example of Paul’s indecision one whether to filibuster the NSA’s Warrantless Wiretapping provisions of the Patriot Act. Paul’s early adversaries in the primaries are bound to support the Patriot Act and this is Paul’s big chance to stand out from the crowd, impress moderates, get the headlines, and stand up for libertarian values. It’s critical that this issue be discussed and it is Senator Paul who has the clearest voice to make the civil-libertarian position heard.

Current Ranking: Down one spot this week to 4th

Political Stock: BUY

_____________________________________________________________

Second Class Candidates, GOP

_____________________________________________________________

http://media.salon.com/2013/05/ted_cruz2.jpgTed Cruz: Some of Senator Cruz’s early support and enthusiasm has drifted towards Senator Rubio, who is widely seen as the more viable candidate of the two. Cruz’s hard-line intellectual purity is a brand calculation for an appeal to the right. It has long been Cruz’s desire to unite the rightist factions in the nation as his base and ramp up donations through early primary wins. Tellingly, Cruz’s top targets need to be the fringe candidates like Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee. Growing a coalition out of that base could mean that he has a formidable run in store.

Current Rating: Unchanged 5th

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

John KFile:Governor John Kasich.jpgasich:  Kasich remains the dark horse of the 2016 field. A sitting governor of a swing state, Kasich can bring significant political weight to bear in a run. However, Kasich is about as “establishment” as a candidate can be in the GOP. This means he is running against the fundraising juggernaut of Jeb Bush (and to a lesser degree, potentially Chris Christie). Kasich’s entry into the race will be calculated to capitalize on the perceived waning of the Bush candidacy. While Kasich does not yet have the name recognition or the capital to make a run against Bush, he is likely watching with close attention as Bush’s poll numbers sag in early states. For Kasich, it will truly be a question of fundraising. While he may be able to make it through Iowa without a win, New Hampshire is a make-or-break for the Ohio Governor.

Current Rating: Unchanged 6th

Political Stock: BUY

_____________________________________________________________

Third Class Candidates, GOP

_____________________________________________________________

File:Chris Christie 2011 Shankbone.JPGChris Christie: Chris Christie will likely run for the White House. In truth, he really doesn’t have very much to lose. He will join with the likes of Lindsey Graham to hammer against civil libertarians like Senator Paul. As we have predicted here all along, Christie has a lot of Governors around the country who owe him favors. In the event he makes his run official, he will likely get some big name supporters in his corner. The big test for Christie won’t be making news (he’s already good at that), nor will it even be his very unappealing political record as Governor of New Jersey. Rather, the big problem for Christie right off the bat will be Jeb Bush (and potentially John Kasich). Bush’s fundraising machine has made it difficult to mount a “challenge from the center.” Bush needs to fear that Christie’s appeal in the Northeast may prevent Bush from winning New Hampshire. If Bush loses both Iowa and New Hampshire before going into the South where Cruz and other social conservatives will dominate, Bush could see large-scale desertions.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 7th

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/graham.jpgLindsey Graham: Lindsey Graham looks set to announce his bid for the White House on June 1st. As we’ve talked about here before, Graham is not a good fit for America. Graham is the product of a military-industrial complex turned on its ear and filled with equal parts “American-Exceptionalism” and evangelical Christian jingoism. Graham has long been a hawk on Iran. Graham has a long history of encouraging unrestricted drone warfare and the most invasive measures of the Patriot Act. Graham will likely go after the likes of Rand Paul with holier-than-thou, let’s-make-moms-feel-threatened rhetoric of nuclear oblivion and the altruism of big government. Basically, Graham is John McCain 2.0. Graham’s path to the White House relies on fear. If America is attacked by another nation or in a terrorist action, Graham’s brand of warmongering rhetoric will lead him to the front of the pack. Pray that he never gets there.

Current Ranking: Up two spots to 8th

Political Stock: BUY

_____________________________________________________________

Fourth Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

_____________________________________________________________

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/Ben_Carson_by_Gage_Skidmore_2.jpgDr. Ben Carson: After his announcement, Ben Carson has generally faded from the public’s spotlight. His time in Baltimore after the riots was generally well- received. Carson remains a niche candidate with some supporters. It remains unclear what kind of money the Carson campaign is raising at this point. Much of his political future rests on campaign finance filings and performance in future debates.

Current Ranking: Down one spot to 9th

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

http://cpac.conservative.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/11/CarlyFiorina.jpg

Carly Fiorina: Carly Fiorina remains on the war path against Hillary Clinton. This is her campaign schtick and she is certainly running with it. It remains unclear to what degree Fiorina will go after other Republicans in the race. In a way, she may have the ability to come across as the adult/peacemaker between certain factions once debates get underway. Expect Fiorina to have a good fiscal showing because of her connections and friends. It remains unclear about subsequent quarters, however.

Current Ranking: Down one spot to 10th

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

File:Bobby Jindal by Gage Skidmore.jpgBobby Jindal: Governor Jindal was delisted last week, but is relisted this week. Jindal took steps early this week to form an exploratory committee. Since it looks like he will make a run for the White House, he should be on the main list. While his stewardship of Louisiana has not engendered much praise, we have noted that Jindal has been trying to build an early presence in Iowa and New Hampshire. It still remains unclear, what, if anything, Jindal is offering that Scott Walker is not also offering. It will be a major test for Jindal in the first months of his nascent campaign to see how much money he will be able to bring in from supporters.

Current Ranking: Relisted at 11th.

Political Stock: SELL: DELIST WARNING

_____________________________________________________________

http://www.texaswatchdog.org/files/rickperry_5.jpgRick Perry: Former Governor Perry may very well be wanting to run for President. However, it’s still unclear exactly who would support him and who would be paying for the campaign. Perry does not have the fundraising prowess of Jeb Bush nor does he have the sitting-governor credentials of Scott Walker. Certainly Perry may be waiting to see if the Bush candidacy collapses, but that is really no way to get oneself elected Leader of the Free World. Perry is getting a delist warning this week because this lack of any movement is indicating that Perry has not learned from his previous late entry.

Current Ranking: Down one sport to 12th

Political Stock: DELIST WARNING

_____________________________________________________________

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/files/2014/04/mike-huckabee-deborah-feingold-1.jpgMike Huckabee: Mike Huckabee has been, begrudgingly, raised from the dust bin of power ranking oblivion because he decided to make a run for President. As I have mentioned before, Huckabee’s views on Common Core, Iran, the Christianization of American Heritage, and the fact that he was selling snake oil for money means that his campaign should be largely discredited. However, it does look like he will at least be getting some support in Iowa and potentially in the South. Once the Supreme Court makes marriage equality the law of the land in late May or early June, the reactionary conservatives may have a temporary hero in the staunchly anti-gay Huckabee. We will have to see if that can bring in campaign cash.

Current Ranking: TEMPORARY REINSTATEMENT

Political Stock: JUNK

_____________________________________________________________

george_patakiGeorge Pataki: George Pataki joins the rankings this week for what could be a very short stay. The former Governor of New York mentioned that he would announce whether he was running for the White House sometime around May 28th. As a former Governor, we figured he was entitled to a spot on the rankings. Pataki, like former Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani, will likely remind Americans of leadership during the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While his campaign is unlikely to gain any momentum if it even starts at all, he would be a hassle to Jeb Bush’s establishment bloc.

Current Ranking: 13th/14th

Political Stock: SELL

_____________________________________________________________

DELISTED CANDIDATES

_____________________________________________________________

http://c1355372.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/4d77c29a-b959-4be9-8730-f88f56a2297a/RJSportrait.jpgRick Santorum: There has been no movement on the Santorum front in weeks. With other social conservatives in the race, there is no viability to a Santorum campaign. It’s not worth covering at this time.

Current Ranking: DELISTED

Political Stock: JUNK

_____________________________________________________________

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/Mike_Pence%2C_official_portrait%2C_112th_Congress.jpgMike Pence: Mike Pence was delisted last week. His drop from fourth place in the rankings to the dustbin reflect poor politics and even poorer message control. While he was successful at raising his national profile, Pence both angered large numbers of moderates and opinion-shapers. However, this could still work for him if he had made himself a counter-cultural conservative avenger. Rather than embrace that image, he folded his tent, gave in to the wind of public disfavor and changed his mind. Thus, his brand was tainted because he looks both like an anti-progress hater and like he has no spine on issues of culture. There is a chance that Pence can rehabilitate his image and run in 2020. As of now, he will have no business running for the presidency in 2016.

Current Ranking: DELISTED

Political Stock: JUNK

_____________________________________________________________

Unranked Speculative Candidates

Sarah Palin, Bob Ehrlich, John Bolton, Rob Portman, Asa Hutchinson, Nikki Haley

We are not ranking Donald Trump. His proposed candidacy is a farce.

If any of these potential candidates make moves towards running, they will get a ranking.

Matt McDaniel

Attorney and Political Commentator

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *