Matt McDaniel

10 minute read

POWER RANKINGS 2016

38 Weeks out of the Iowa Caucus

78 Weeks out of Election Day 2016

There are currently 6 national GOP candidates declared.

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First Class Candidates, GOP

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Scott WaFile:Scott Walker by Gage Skidmore.jpglker:  Governor Walker remains at the default top of the list. Jeb Bush’s poll numbers have begun to decline in early states and that’s a good sign that Walker may get out to a clear frontrunner status. The media, beginning to get wind of this, has started running a few pieces against Walker from the left regarding the anticipated “Walker is pro-businesses, anti-worker” angle. It still remains unclear how well Walker will be able to eventually put his message together in a way that can attract moderates as well as conservatives.

Current Rating: Up one spot from last week to 1st

Political Stock: BUY

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http://d35brb9zkkbdsd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Marco-Rubio-Big-Smile-600x399.jpgMarco Rubio: AS Jeb Bush’s poll numbers fall in early states and continues to languish on the sidelines, Rubio continues to make moves in the center of the Party. While the Jeb-to-Rubio ratio isn’t 1-to-1 (some Jeb defections are going to Walker), Rubio’s entry in the race is an important indicator of likely Bush support. Moreover, Rubio is getting considerable press exposure and is making several different stands in the Senate. While Rubio’s attempt to put more conditions on the Iran Bill were ultimately defeated by his own Party, Rubio does not need his initiatives to pass in order to rebuild conservative good faith.

Current Rating: Up one spot to 2nd

Political Stock: BUY

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Rand http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1360018/thumbs/o-RAND-PAUL-facebook.jpgPaul:  Rand Paul is running the risk of trying to be a friend to everyone. However, some of this criticism waned this week as the Senator’s viewpoint on the National Security Agency’s warrant-less surveillance of Americans was significantly curtailed by a Federal Appeals Court. This is a big win for Paul who’s ability to get the provisions of the Patriot Act that had been interpreted to allow for the collection of data stricken was looking like a very difficult road. Now, with this decision in hand, Paul can wage war against some of the more onerous provisions of the Act as their sunset extensions come up for votes. However, as Paul is already experiencing on some of his other unorthodox views, curtailing the Patriot Act is seen by some conservatives with the same addicted myopia as liberals see cutting social security. Especially in light of the thwarted “ISIS” attack in Garland, Texas, it looks more and more that Senator Paul’s weak spot may be his perceived dovish foreign policy.

Current Ranking: Down one spot this week to 3rd

Political Stock: STRONG BUY

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Jehttp://media.oregonlive.com/opinion_impact/photo/jeb-bush-20119761jpg-a137a6bdd738a087.jpgb Bush: Jeb Bush is raising a lot of money behind the scenes. However, Bush’s moderate stance on immigration and bafflingly pro-common-core position are major turn offs to base voters. While Bush may think that pouring money onto his problems will be able to buy him enough votes to get past Marco Rubio, who is quickly becoming a thorn in the Bush campaign’s side, there is no guarantee. Several polls this week have begun to erode the inevitability cloak that was surrounding the Bush pre-campaign. Behind the scenes there may be a rush to get Bush’s campaign towards a declaration in early June rather than dragging their feet until they have milked every dime of potential SuperPAC money.

Current Rating: Unchanged, 4th

Political Stock: HOLD

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Second Class Candidates, GOP

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http://media.salon.com/2013/05/ted_cruz2.jpgTed Cruz:  Ted Cruz’s spot on the rankings remains the same. The reason for this is the growing perception that Cruz’s base has reached its peak enthusiasm too early. Cruz, for lack of a better term, is a “conservative Obama.” What I mean by this is that, as a first-term Senator, Cruz is a relatively blank slate from a policy perspective. Supporters know that Cruz checks all of the right boxes on the right and his positions fit well with the aggressively conservative mindset (take our country back, etc.). Cruz has been raking in money early and may have boxed out support for later entries by other social conservatives. However, hitting “peak Cruz” so early means that supporters may moderate when they see Cruz’s poll numbers not jumping. In turn, these supporters will flip to Scott Walker.

Current Rating: Unchanged 5th

Political Stock: HOLD

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John KFile:Governor John Kasich.jpgasich:  John Kasich appears to be emerging behind the scenes as the dark horse challenger to Jeb Bush’s control over the “establishment governor” narrative. While Kasich’s support is not an extensive base, he will quickly look like a palatable alternative once the national mood begins to really feel the potential of a Clinton v. Bush campaign. Kasich could benefit from a fractious fight between Bush and Rubio and pick up moderates who grow disaffected with Scott Walker once they realize that he is not the blank conservative slate that they expected him to be. Kasich, as governor of Ohio, is a very powerful influence broker in the 2016 narrative. Though most any Ohio poll will tell you that Kasich certainly cannot guarantee his home state, his profile would be better to bring in the swing state than not.

Current Rating: Unchanged 6th

Political Stock: BUY

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Third Class Candidates, GOP

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File:Chris Christie 2011 Shankbone.JPGChris Christie: Will he, won’t he, will he, won’t he? It seems that even Governor Christie doesn’t know if he will make a run for the White House. Regardless, this week Christie offered and sent New Jersey police to help in the Baltimore Riots. Christie was a major supporter of Maryland’s newly-elected Republican Governor Larry Hogan. Like other Republican officials around the country who benefited from Christie’s popularity in the last few years, Hogan knows that he owes Christie a few favors if the New Jersey Governor decides to make a run at DC.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 7th

Political Stock: HOLD

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Fourth Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/Ben_Carson_by_Gage_Skidmore_2.jpgDr. Ben Carson: Dr. Carson’s campaign has not burst into flames this week and has remained relatively stable in light of his declared national candidacy. Carson’s visit to Baltimore mid-week showed that he had the ability to reach out to disaffected communities and make a Republican attempt at healing and growth. While Carson’s trip had not been scheduled to correspond with the Baltimore riots, it was a good coincidence from the perspective that it allowed Carson the opportunity to speak about a controversial issue with some degree of coverage. Carson’s comments were generally benign and well-received in the City. This points to a behind-the-scenes shift for Carson to be better-prepared and more politically astute than he was when he would regularly appear on FoxNews. It is still the opinion of this Blog that Carson should have run for the MD Senate seat being vacated by Barbra Mikulski.

Current Ranking: Up two spots to 8th

**Political Stock: HOLD

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

Carly Fiorina: Carly Fiorina declared her candidacy this week. There was really no reason for Fiorina not to make the declaration and she has very little to lose. Fiorina looks eager to jump into the fray and confront the Hillary Clinton “woman” message. Fiorina will be an important voice early in the primary, but may get quickly drowned out when the sitting and ex-governors enter the race. It looks unlikely that there will be anything beyond punditry or business positions for Fiorina, but her decision to be the spear of the Party against Hillary will likely not soon be forgotten by the insiders and elite within the Party.

Current Ranking: Unchanged, 9th.

Political Stock: HOLD

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http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/graham.jpgLindsey Graham: Lindsey Graham is eying a June 1st announcement date for his run for President. This is always subject to change, but Graham likely sees that foreign policy issues may predominate over a recovering economy. As we have mentioned before, Graham benefits if there is terror or catastrophe at home and abroad. Graham will likely use the decision of a Federal Appeals Court this week that limited NSA spying on average Americans to show the hard-right that they need a President Graham who can bring back the “security” that the judges are attempting to take away. Hopefully there are no catalysts to make 2016 a particularly foreign policy election, but the more the world descends into uncertainty, the more little old ladies will be frightened into a vote for Senator Graham

Current Ranking: Down two spots to 10th

Political Stock: HOLD

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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: Unchanged, 11th

Political Stock: DELIST WARNING

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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

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DELISTED CANDIDATES

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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

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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

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File:Bobby Jindal by Gage Skidmore.jpgBobby Jindal: Governor Jindal was delisted this week because he just hasn’t made any movement towards any discernible run for President. While it is obvious that Jindal wanted to make a run, the problems in Louisiana clearly sap some of his potential “governor” gravitas. Though Jindal did say he would attend a gay wedding, his dark horse candidacy doesn’t seem to be materializing. If the Party decides to take a second look at candidates in the late summer, Jindal may be able to make a late run.

Current Ranking: Unchanged, 10th.

Political Stock: SELL: DELIST WARNING

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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.