Monday, January 25, 2016

Unpredictable Election

2016 Presidential election sweepstakes is shaping up as the strangest I’ve ever seen.

Several factors in play.

1. Many Voters are mad! They are anti establishment and want change from the status quo. This is true of both Republicans and Democrats.

2. There is no incumbent – an open seat. In the last Century with the exception of Franklin Roosevelt (4 termer, itself a historic exception) only twice has a party held the White House more than eight years. Truman, we know that story and George H.W. Bush where voters thought they were voting for Reagan II. Voters just get tired of the party in power and turn them out. Thus this election is the Republicans to lose.

3. Culmination of the elimination of public finance of Presidential primaries. Candidates are opting out of public finance and the associated spending limits, overall and specified limits in each State.

4. The ability to take unlimited contributions for candidate associated PACs.

5. New Media – Social media and an abundance of cable news networks. Candidates reach voters in new ways and campaigns can be organized without the need for an Army of volunteers.

6. Favorable voter opinion and support is swayed more than ever by sound bites without substantive proposals.

As a consequence Republicans at one point had 17 candidates, the Democrats had an heir apparent who now challenged by a self avowed Socialist, and now perhaps a Democrat, Republican, Independent Michael Bloomberg.

So… What’s going to happen?

Your guess is as good as mine, but I offer a few speculations. Our country is very divided both right and left. For Republicans to win they have to win a few of the big Electoral College states beyond the Lone Star State.

To effect real change, you have to win the election. Being mad doesn’t change anything. An Outsider without some compromise is unlikely to change much or bridge the divide in America.

On the Democrat side Bernie Sanders is extreme and outspoken. He wants income redistribution and is a pacifist. Hillary Clinton is scandal prone and for the most part is more Obama.

On the Republican side from the Iowa Caucuses thru the South Carolina primary there should be some consolidation into the ideological voter camps. Far right self anointed Tea Partiers who hate government and old line Conservatives (now branded as moderates).

From my view Ted Cruz will make some showing in Iowa. He has the endorsement of the Bob Vander Plaats and thus the Christian Coalition. He should rule in Iowa’s Bible Belt of Northwestern Iowa. Donald Trump has tremendous name identification. Trump’s ability and willingness to say anything to keep media attention on him and off others certainly is working.  He is riding high in the polls and we will see if this attention delivers for him at the Iowa Caucus and at the polls. Does he have a grassroots following that will actually turn out for him? After Iowa will the attention still be focused in a positive way on Trump?

Who will coalesce the non Tea Partiers? Will Marco Rubio pickup the pieces? Which other non Tea Partier’s will come out of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina? Bush? Kasich? Christie?  Rubio? When these questions begin to be answered there will be a clearer picture.

So I still don’t know. What I believe is the most electable Republican candidate in the General Election currently in the race is former Congressman and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Kasich will win Ohio, a Must Win State for the GOP. He also would be extremely competitive in big states, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and would make the Dems or others have to work in states  like New Jersey and Virginia. It is unlikely that Kasich will get the nomination but he might get a jump-start in the Granite State.

My personal extreme long shot hope is that the nominating process goes to the GOP convention in Cleveland in July where a deadlocked Party once again gives the job (nomination) to Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan is a Conservative who wants to govern and understands politics and governing are about addition not subtraction. My choice for the Vice Presidential nomination is Carly!

Bloomberg who may become an Independent candidate will appeal to many Centrists. There is not much chance he can win but his candidacy has the potential to help the Republicans. If Mayor Mike can take just a few wins in big States away from Democrats, it is theoretically possible the election could be thrown into the U S House of Representatives, if no candidate receives a majority of the Electoral College. If a third party candidate winning Electoral College votes seems unlikely, which it probably is; Remember in 1968 George Wallace, the American Independent Party candidate, won 46 Electoral College votes.

If an election is conducted in the U. S. House each State has one vote. Thus for example South Dakota would have the same vote as California or Massachusetts. The State’s vote is determined by a vote of each State’s Congressional delegation.

Yes this year is politically strange and unpredictable!

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