The Road to 2016: Power Rankings Week XX

POWER RANKINGS 2016

32 Weeks out of the Iowa Caucus

72 Weeks out of Election Day 2016

There are currently 12 national GOP candidates declared.

_____________________________________________________________

First Class Candidates, GOP

_____________________________________________________________

Jehttp://media.oregonlive.com/opinion_impact/photo/jeb-bush-20119761jpg-a137a6bdd738a087.jpgb Bush: Early poll numbers are almost always remarkably deceptive (ask Hillary Clinton in 2008), but following his declaration, Jeb Bush has made inroads into rebuilding his voter base that had eroded over the past few months. The most telling reason why Bush occupies the top spot this week is a poll that was released that showed Bush being a strongly-considered “second candidate” for many Republicans. What this means is, as the primary cycle goes along and candidates, inevitably drop out, Bush stands to gain a large base of supporters transferring their loyalties. As we are aware, the Bush campaign is flush with cash (though possibly not as much as was originally predicted), so he is likely to go deep into the primaries even without early wins. Racking up supporters when other candidates run out of steam may be Bush’s big plan for the nomination.

Current Rating: Up 2 spots to 1st

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

http://d35brb9zkkbdsd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Marco-Rubio-Big-Smile-600x399.jpgMarco Rubio: Though the power of early polling is deceptive, Marco Rubio’s numbers currently have him decisively in the top-three candidates. As we have mentioned before, Rubio’s biggest hurdle is fellow Floridian Jeb Bush (as two people on a ticket can’t run from the same state). Rubio must surmount Bush either to be at the top of the ticket, or make sure Bush isn’t at the tip of the ticket if Rubio wants to be VP. The big question for Rubio will be seeing what defections he can get from more-conservative candidates and whether he can paint himself as the more likeable and personable candidate than either Bush or Walker.

Current Rating: Down 1 spot to 2nd

Political Stock: BUY

_____________________________________________________________

Scott WaFile:Scott Walker by Gage Skidmore.jpglker: Each week that goes by without a Walker declaration that he’s running for office is another week that Walker threatens to be the Rick Perry of the 2016 race (yes, I know Rick Perry is running, but I mean the disastrous Perry late rollout of 2012). Walker’s people must know that the Republican base can’t hold out forever for an entry. With Walker’s biggest rivals in the race, Walker runs the risk of entering the race too late and having to muddle through the early primaries until he can attract voters from candidates who run out of money. In the same vein, however, it is unclear exactly how much money Walker is raising behind the scenes. Without a definitive entry, Walker runs the risk of Marco Rubio becoming the anti-Jeb (or Kasich, Christie) or being supplanted as the “conservative governor” by Perry or Huckabee (more unlikely, but waiting too long may encourage voters to look elsewhere).

Current Rating: Down 1 spot to 3rd

Political Stock: BUY

_____________________________________________________________

Second Class Candidates, GOP

_____________________________________________________________

Rand http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1360018/thumbs/o-RAND-PAUL-facebook.jpgPaul: Rand Paul has slipped out of the top class of candidates and, along with Senator Ted Cruz, into the second class. Despite having some of the best battleground state polling numbers against Hillary Clinton, Senator Paul’s current numbers for the Republican nomination seem to be stagnating or diminishing. Again, the race is in its infancy and there are plenty of debates and primaries ahead. However, with the race full of hawks like Lindsey Graham (and Donald Trump), and anti-Paulists like Chris Christie, Paul’s best debate outcome is likely a defensive stalemate (remember the Republican debates in the 2012 election when a South Carolina audience booed Ron Paul who was advocating following the Golden Rule in international affairs). The other elephant in the room with the Paul campaign is that fundraising numbers are rumored to be very low. While the campaign may surprise skeptics, the whispers are that the money is not rolling in. The easy answer is to write Paul off for his lack of libertarian purity, but the reality is, Paul will likely be the only person in the Republican primary advocating a true return to a governing strategy that could really propel the nation forward (and help the Party stay relevant beyond 2020).

Current Ranking: Unchanged at 4th

Political Stock: BUY

_____________________________________________________________

http://media.salon.com/2013/05/ted_cruz2.jpg

Ted Cruz: Like Senator Paul, Senator Cruz is now in the second class of candidates. Again like Senator Paul, this demotion has to do with the current trends in Senator Cruz’s early polling numbers that see his star diminishing. Unlike Paul, Cruz has a better chance in the primary than the general election (Paul being the reverse). Much of the Cruz campaign’s future success hinges on strong debate performances and then winning one of the first primary contests. As the first man in the race for 2016, Cruz will likely report that he has met impressive fundraising numbers. However, it remains to be seen how much that money stacks up against the predictably large numbers that Jeb Bush and Scott Walker will likely bring to the table.

Current Rating: Unchanged at 5th

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

File:Chris Christie 2011 Shankbone.JPGChris Christie: Word on the street says that Chris Christie is likely to declare his candidacy in late June. With Donald Trump entering the race, there really is no bar to entry for any prospective candidate any longer. Christie is owed a lot of favors across the country from Republicans he helped get elected in 2014. While Christie’s easy early political shots have come at the expense of Senator Paul, Christie’s big rival in the early going will be Jeb Bush. Christie has seen an opening and has decided that there can be more than one choice for the establishment Republican voter. It remains to be seen to what degree Christie’s scandal plagued administration of New Jersey will hinder his campaign. However, like Newt Gingrich before him, Christie’s forthright dressing-down of the press will likely endear him to some mainstream Republican voters. Fundraising for Christie will be easy, but the main number to watch will be his early polling in New Hampshire and whether he can chart a path through Super Tuesday in the top five candidates.

Current Ranking: Up 1 spot to 6th

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

Third Class Candidates, GOP

_____________________________________________________________

John KFile:Governor John Kasich.jpgasich:  Chris Christie’s presumptive entry into the race complicates matters for the race’s apparent “dark horse,” John Kasich. On the one hand, the bar to entry in the race is extremely low (I mean, Donald Trump is in the race). On the other hand, Christie will likely run with the rhetoric Kasich wanted: I am the establishment alternative to Jeb Bush. The potential for splitting the anti-Bush vote is fairly high (thereby letting Bush slip through). A more cynical read on Kasich’s entry would be for him to ally with Bush to prevent any other establishment candidate being the anti-Bush and thereby secure Kasich’s spot as VP. Note that Kasich’s poll numbers against other Republicans, and against Hillary Clinton, are excellent in Ohio. If Jeb Bush brings Florida and Kasich brings Ohio, Hillary would have a very difficult time winning the election in November of 2016.

Current Rating: Down 1 spot to 7th

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/graham.jpgLindsey Graham: Lindsey Graham’s campaign came into some focus this week when the Senator partnered with Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina to move to take down the Confederate Flag flying over the South Carolina State Capitol. While the decision was really a “no brainer” for most folks, at least Senator Graham decided to be on the right side of history. It remains to be seen what this action will have in Graham’s polling in South Carolina where he remains solidly in third place. As we have mentioned here before, Graham’s road to the nomination rests on significant deterioration of foreign policy situations around the globe or Americans’ fear of terrorism.

Current Ranking: Unchanged at 8th

Political Stock:  HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

Fourth Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

_____________________________________________________________

File:Bobby Jindal by Gage Skidmore.jpgBobby Jindal: Governor Jindal looks set today to throw his hat into the ring of Republican candidates for President. With Donald Trump in the race, the proverbial bar is set remarkably low to enter. It is unclear exactly who Governor Jindal’s base of supporters will be. Compounding this are the problems being faced by Louisiana over budget and eduction issues. Jindal does not fill a niche for anyone’s VP and may be trying to raise his prominence for a possible nod for a cabinet position, but the real motives for his campaign remain unclear. Jindal’s main opponent is Scott Walker as both would be running for the title of the “conservative governor” candidate. It also is not clear what kind of fundraising potential Jindal can hope to have in his run.

Current Ranking: Up 4 spots to 9th

Political Stock: SELL

_____________________________________________________________

http://www.texaswatchdog.org/files/rickperry_5.jpgRick Perry: While politicians who are being recorded all the time sometimes misspeak, Perry’s candidacy-ending gaffe in 2012 puts his words, fairly or unfairly, under the microscope. That’s why, when after the shooting that left nine people dead in Charleston, Perry’s comment that the shooting had been an “accident” raises red flags. Obviously Perry misspoke. We understand that. However, for a campaign that must be about rehabilitating the former Governor’s incompetent image, gaffes like that show that either Perry or Perry’s people are not doing nearly a good enough job prepping for major interviews. It remains to be seen where Perry’s support is coming from and what kind of fundraising he is able to do.

Current Ranking: Down 1 spot to 10th

Political Stock: SELL

_____________________________________________________________

george_patakiGeorge Pataki: The former NY Governor has declared his candidacy for the presidency. It remains unclear what Pataki’s true motives are in making a run at an ultra-long-shot bid, but there really is no discernible downside. Perhaps the reason for the run stems from the faltering Jeb Bush campaign and the potential undecided moderates and establishment voters who may be interested in supporting another former Governor. Like Giuliani before him, Pataki will likely run on a “remember 9/11” motif which, after 14 years, is patronizing, if stale.

Current Ranking: Down 1 to 11th

Political Stock: SELL

_____________________________________________________________

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. The most interesting thing about the Carson campaign is that Carson continues to garner about 8-10% in national and regional polls. While it is still early in the campaign, it does appear that Dr. Carson will be among the “top 10” in the Republican debates.

Current Ranking: Down 1 to 12th

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 1 to 13th

Political Stock: HOLD

_____________________________________________________________

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/files/2014/04/mike-huckabee-deborah-feingold-1.jpgMike Huckabee: Mike Huckabee’s candidacy for President is baffling. Now, I understand that there is large appeal for a boisterous evangelical warning that sin is causing America’s decline, but the reality that someone who holds himself out as a pastor yet mocks transgendered people can poll so high is stomach-turning. The GOP is short-sighted if it thinks that the optics of a Huckabee candidacy will help attract voters to the Party. Rather, the decline in support for the GOP is genuinely linked to the rise of people like Huckabee who stand on moral high horses and alienate large segments of the young population. Additionally, with the decline of religious fervor in America, the hypocrisy of Huckabee embracing confessed pedophile Josh Duggar while condemning Caitlyn Jenner undermines his holier-than-thou stance on the issues. With the Supreme Court likely to declare marriage equality the law of the land, Huckabee will likely gain supporters who appreciate his anti-gay rhetoric. Regardless, the wheel of history has turned on the issue and Republicans embracing Huckabee will quickly find themselves well-outside of the mainstream. Republicans must understand that embracing the message that Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum push will alienate millennials and marginalize the Party.

Current Ranking: TEMPORARY REINSTATEMENT

Political Stock: JUNK

_____________________________________________________________

FARCE CANDIDATES

_____________________________________________________________

maar02-donald-trump-portraitDonald Trump: Let’s just get this over with. Yes, Donald Trump is running for President. He is “Constitutionally qualified” to hold the office. Therefore, under the law there is no bar to his running. While common decency and care about the Party would be bars to regular candidates, the barrier to entry in the 2016 race is so low that it is attracting all comers. the best thing about Donald Trump, in complete honesty, is that he really has no reason to lie or play politics. The interesting thing will be when some voters find this a refreshing change of pace from politics as usual. Though Trump may not come near the Presidency, there is a real possibility that he will make the Republican debates’ cutoff.

Current Ranking: FARCE

Political Stock: JUNK

_____________________________________________________________

DELISTED CANDIDATES

_____________________________________________________________

http://c1355372.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/4d77c29a-b959-4be9-8730-f88f56a2297a/RJSportrait.jpgRick Santorum: Rick Santorum is running for President. While Mike Huckabee’s relatively strong poll numbers forced me to raise him from the oblivion of delisting, Santorum’s do not. Santorum’s candidacy and his political positions are what’s wrong with the GOP today.

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 weeks ago but he remains on the list as a lesson to others. 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

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 *