Matt McDaniel

10 minute read

POWER RANKINGS 2016

36 Weeks out of the Iowa Caucus

76 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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Rand http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1360018/thumbs/o-RAND-PAUL-facebook.jpgPaul: Rand Paul jumps back to the top of the rankings this week after flexing his libertarian muscles on the floor of the Senate this past week and forcing a delay of the renewal of the Patriot Act. The House had passed a bill called the Freedom Act what would curtail bulk data collection, but Senator Paul deftly realized that the bill would still allow for the open warrants like those issued by FISA courts to major data collection agencies like Verizon. Popular opinion, especially with the younger generation of voters, is on the side of Senator Paul. While there are many in the Senate and on the Hard Right who would like to see an increase in the surveillance state, Paul has staked out his position, along with members of both parties, to block any extension of the Patriot Act as it currently exists. The Senate will reconvene on May 31, so expect to see more sparks flying and more positive headlines for Senator Paul.

Current Ranking: Up 3 spots 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: Senator Rubio stayed out of Rand Paul’s filibuster this week, despite the fact that it was his turn to preside over the Senate when the epic talk-athon came to an end. Rubio has continued to absorb the anti-Jeb moderates and hawks who are looking for a candidate they can support. Rubio, in a sense, is becoming the GOP’s Obama. He represents hope and change for conservatives who are shying away from Jeb Bush and his perceived blunders and missteps. It still remains to be seen the amount of money Rubio will be able to raise in the coming months and if he can actually stand up to the Bush machine once the race is in full gear.

Current Rating: Down 1 spot to 2nd

Political Stock: BUY

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Scott WaFile:Scott Walker by Gage Skidmore.jpglker:  Governor Walker remains outside of the DC fray for the moment. With many political eyes watching the Senate’s Patriot Act debate and the issues revolving around ObamaTrade, Walker has been able to continue to gather what support he has. It remains to be seen the amount of money Walker has been able to bring in for the last few months. The relative time for declaring his candidacy is also drawing down to the wire (though he still has a few months), but many of Walker’s opponents are able to define their positions and stake out their ground. Walker needs to reassert his national image before too many potential voters are committed to one cause or another

Current Rating: Down one spot to 3rd

Political Stock: BUY

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http://media.salon.com/2013/05/ted_cruz2.jpgTed Cruz: Ted Cruz staked out an interesting position on the Patriot Act renewal. As one of Senator Paul’s last interlocutors, Cruz did a good job of skirting the line between supporting Paul while not going so far as to endorse Paul’s thinking. Rather, Cruz came out in support of a free and open debate on the issues surrounding the Patriot Act’s renewal. Pragmatically, Cruz declared that a clean renewal of the most egregious provisions of the Act was not going to take place. This is an interesting position for Cruz who has been pandering hard to the evangelical right. There is some talk that Cruz has had a very good fundraising season so far, so he may be making a run at the top tier.

Current Rating: Up 1 spot to 4th

Political Stock: HOLD

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Jehttp://media.oregonlive.com/opinion_impact/photo/jeb-bush-20119761jpg-a137a6bdd738a087.jpgb Bush: Bush’s delay in declaring his candidacy is beginning to hurt his power projection. Coupled with difficult questions about the Iraq War and what exactly his foreign policy would look like, Jeb has  begun to decline. Already polls in Iowa seem to bear out the message that Scott Walker is the frontrunner with niche candidates like Paul and Cruz/Huckabee gaining ground. Bush is likely seeing support drain to Marco Rubio who is solidifying his position as an establishment hawk without the baggage of someone with a dynastic last name.

Current Rating: Down 2 spots to 5th.

Political Stock: HOLD

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Second Class Candidates, GOP

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John KFile:Governor John Kasich.jpgasich:  After deftly handling protests in Cleveland and preventing them from spiraling out of control like those in Baltimore, Kasich is looking more formidable to be a sitting-governor-alternative to Jeb Bush. While his support is very small at this juncture, Kasich is counting on his better-known opponents to begin making comments and taking positions that will cause voters to look for a more seasoned, established, candidate. Kasich offers a known, moderate, quantity for eventual supporters. Moreover, as the Governor of Ohio, Kasich brings with him the possibility of having a better chance than average of bringing the swing state around to GOP. (Picture a Kasich-Rubio ticket with FL and OH presumptively GOP). Kasich has a shot. Not a good shot considering his nonexistent funds, but he sits as the current dark horse.

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: Chris Christie, along with Lindsey Graham, are the two big-name GOP folks who have come out against Rand Paul and reform/repeal of the Patriot Act. It remains unclear exactly what kind of money Christie could bring to bear if he decided to make a run for the White House. Like others on this list with an indeterminate future entrance to the race, Christie is losing out on valuable time to define himself on a national stage (in his case, re-define himself and get money). Christie’s attempt to be the anti-libertarian candidate is a gamble.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 7th

Political Stock: HOLD

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http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/graham.jpgLindsey Graham: Lindsey Graham is the “fear candidate.” If there is a “dark horse,” Lindsey Graham is the headless horseman. Graham is a long shot ultra-hawk who will make his sole purpose in the debate criticism of Rand Paul and civil liberties. The way Graham could succeed is, as we have mentioned before, if ISIS makes huge strides in the Middle East, Russia invades Latvia or more of Ukraine, or if the United States is hi by a major terrorist attack on home soil. Graham will use one or more of these events as a catalyst to fuel the American desire for revenge and military action and try to ride that wave into the White House.

Current Ranking: Unchanged at 8th

Political Stock: BUY

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Fourth Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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george_patakiGeorge Pataki: Former NY Governor Pataki looks ready to declare his candidacy for president this week. 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: Up 5 spots to 9th.

Political Stock: SELL

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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 10th

Political Stock: HOLD

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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 11th

Political Stock: HOLD

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File:Bobby Jindal by Gage Skidmore.jpgBobby Jindal: Governor Jindal was the other week, but was relisted. Jindal took steps early last 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: Down 1 spot to 12th

Political Stock: SELL: DELIST WARNING

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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: Down one sport to 13th

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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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.