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Gop Primary - Jeb Bush Uncertainty, Rubio And Walker Fall, Kasich Still Underappreciated.

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Jeb Bush would seem to be the obvious front-runner, and I suspect that he still is. However, there have been some reports in the past week that party leaders and other elites are nervous about voting for a dynastic candidate. This would be the third Bush on the ticket since 1992. I have not seen anything that suggests his chances are slipping, but rather I think there is more uncertainty about his potential than the polls and the media reports suggest.

Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, on the other hand, both fell pretty hard due to public missteps. Rubio might have accomplished an amazing feat - to tick off both the establishment and the right wing of the GOP. Scott Walker had a rough week, plus the budget situation in his state is looking grim right now. I doubt either of them can mount a comeback and get the party behind them. They're probably done.

No reason to go through the clown car candidates like Cruz, Ben Carson, or Sarah Palin.

That still leaves John Kasich as my choice for likeliest dark horse candidate - the one that comes out of nowhere. That does not mean he is most likely to win the nomination, only that of the candidates polling very low right now, he has the best shot of surprising people. He has all of the background to appeal to both mainstream and right-wing Republicans, and some of his policies (like a balanced budget amendment) could appeal to libertarians. If he runs and if the buzz about concern with Jeb Bush is accurate, then Kasich would be the obvious choice for those who would be Bush supporters yet have concerns about a dynastic candidate.

I came across this 2012 RNC convention speech for those who don't know who John Kasich is. He's not got that barn-burning personality, but notice how he talks about economic success in Ohio. Republicans need someone who can attach themselves to the economic recovery and simultaneously distance themselves from Obama. Marco Rubio has been anti-Obama throughout his Senate tenure, so he's going to have a hard time saying "look at the great economy that resulted from of all those policies that I opposed the last five years".

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If you had to guess, who will end up as the Republican candidate ?I know its way to early but who has the best chance ?........Kasich ?

Right now, Jeb Bush is most likely. Completely subjective estimate put into numbers - about 55-85% chance. What is unknown is how much concern there is among Republicans because of his last name. For Kasich, probably about a 15-25% chance. He seems like the natural fallback choice for Republicans if they don't line up for Bush.

I put Rubio and Walker's chances around 5% each.

Ben Carson, Christie, Lindsey Graham, John Bolton, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindall, Rand Paul, and Sarah Palin - I would be absolutely floored if any of them got the nomination.

Rick Santorum is a bit of an unknown. In some respects, his background as a social conservative crusader makes him a niche candidate. On the other hand, he has been giving speeches filled with economic populism, and the fact that nobody can question his social conservative credentials means that he doesn't have to talk about those issues like Christie or Jindal will have to do. I wouldn't be shocked to see him as the nominee given the right circumstances, but I don't think that's likely at the moment.

Some wild cards that I can't really comment on who might could surge in population - Mike Pence (Gov Indiana), Jim Gilmore (Gov Virginia), Carly Florin, Bob Ehrlich (Gov Maryland), and George Pataki (Gov NY). Partake fascinates me because he seems popular with the establishment and has a long governing record (especially during 9/11). On the other hand, i could see people raising questions about his "true" conservative credentials.

Rick Perry is another one that on paper seems like a strong primary candidate, but his debate performances from 2012 show that he can crash and burn at any time.

That seems to be the universe of potential candidates. Can't imagine someone beyond that list comes out of the blue to enter the race, but I suppose stranger things have happened in politics.

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Ok that pretty much covers the GOP , what about the democrats? Hillary? Inevitable?? Or Joe Bieden ? Or some dark horse ?

Hillary Clinton is interesting to me. A large number of Democrats are not excited about her, but then a large number are very excited about her. I've read some stuff suggesting Joe Biden would be stronger than people think. I'm not entirely persuaded, but there's a lot of uncertainty there for me.

Jim Webb would probably be the strongest general election candidate, but he's too aligned with the moderate/conservative wing of the Democrats. Going to raise questions about his commitment to progressive policies.

Hillary and Biden are both the types of candidates who do well in primaries - appeal to most of the different factions and are not strongly opposed by any of them. Jim Webb and Elizabeth Warren both strike me as niche or factional candidates, and those types don't win often.

I don't know enough about Martin O'Malley to say how he would do. He's a former governor, so he has that going for him. And Maryland is not as progressive as a lot of people think, so he should have some broad appeal.

Personally, I wish John Hickenlooper would get into the race (Governor - Colorado). But that's not going to happen.

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Also, it should be painfully obvious that Bernie Sanders has zero chance of winning the nomination, let alone the general election.

Some other people to watch, if they get into the race, would be Tom Wolf (Gov - PA), Tim Kaine (Sen - VA), and Michael Bennett (Sen - CO). Claire McCaskill is interesting, as is Mark Warner, but I don't know if either are seriously thinking about a run this year.

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I just wish the GOP didn't have to conform to the crazies to make it out of the primaries. They are going to start with a severe handicap.

And they already have a structural disadvantage in presidential elections now due to demographics. Not to say they can't win in 2016, just that it's harder than it would otherwise have been.

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Way too early to determine anything. I think the debates settle who the serious candidates are.

They actually don't settle much at all. A gaffe like Perry's can be costly, but most of the primary election results depend on getting support from party elite like state legislators, county party chairs, members of Congress, and so forth. There's a great book titled "The Party Decides" that provides a solid theory (along with empirical evidence) that says that endorsements from party elites are the single best predictor of who wins the primary.

It is too early to say who will win, but it's not too early to say who will not win.

As for Walker, yes, he has made some huge missteps. Even Republicans have criticized him:

What came next was even more damaging to Walker's image in the GOP. How could the Wisconsin governor stand up to Islamic State terrorists, as he once claimed his experience fighting unions gave him credibility in doing, when he couldn't even stand up to a few Republicans in Iowa? And what kind of message does this send to current and potential aides? Would he fight for them when the proverbial crap hits the fan?
As The Week's Michael Dougherty put it, "How would Walker handle a tough Supreme Court nomination battle against a united Democratic Senate, if he folds instantly after some whinging from a right-wing muckraker? Until this week, Walker supporters could have pointed to his white-knuckle fight with Wisconsin's public-sector unions. Now his critics can point to the way he cowers before a few rotting corn stalks."
And as Jonah Goldberg wrote in The National Review, throwing Mair "under the bus for this, suggests not only that he’s got some problems getting ready for prime time, it also suggests he can get rolled by the Iowa GOP establishment. What happens when he gets to Washington?"
The criticism didn't stop there. Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Republican operative, said that Walker's decision wouldn't bode well if he made it to the general against likely Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
"If you'll let Steve King and the Iowa GOP pick and choose your team, what happens when the Clinton machine goes at you? Disappointed, guys," he tweeted.
Even Erick Erickson, the outspoken editor-in-chief of the conservative website RedState.com, said that the governor had "botched" the episode and that it played into a narrative that he wasn't ready for prime time.
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Personally, I wish John Hickenlooper would get into the race (Governor - Colorado). But that's not going to happen.

Living in Colorado, I haven't heard anything about Hickenlooper running. I'm pretty sure that's just wishful thinking. I like Hick for the most part, but I don't think he has any aspirations along those lines. I could be wrong, but as I said I haven't heard anything that would indicate otherwise.

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Surprised no one has mentioned that Ted Cruz is in the race.

Because with a record of saying things like this, he has no chance (as others PG said):

The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare characteristic in this town, and you know what? It’s every bit as true now as it was then. We need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.
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Who Is Ted Cruz?


Texas senator Ted Cruz announced Monday that he will run for president in 2016, becoming the first Republican politician to officially declare his candidacy. Here is what you should know about the first-term senator:

  • Political Positions: Deafening
  • Ethnicity: White enough
  • Supporters: Those people from high school who got married when they were 18
  • Speaks: Spanish, English, Tongues
  • Campaign Slogan: “I’m Ted Cruz”
  • Likelihood Of Becoming President: Huckabeesque
  • Campaign Platform: Be a distraction for a few months
  • Largest Obstacles To Nomination: Scott Walker, Rand Paul, five seconds of scrutiny
  • Could Be Fun To Watch As Campaign Sputters Along: Sure
  • Number Of Presidential Runs Left In Him: Ugh, at least three or four


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Ted Cruz going on Obamacare

By Dana Bash and MJ Lee, CNN

Updated 3:57 PM ET, Tue March 24, 2015

(CNN)Ted Cruz is going on Obamacare.

The newly announced Republican presidential candidate told CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act -- a law he has been on a crusade to kill.

"We'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we'll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange," Cruz said.

Cruz's admission comes one day after CNN first reported that the senator would no longer have access to health benefits through his wife's employer, Goldman Sachs. Heidi Cruz, a managing director at the firm's Houston office, has gone on unpaid leave for the duration of the senator's presidential campaign and will not have access to the company's benefits during that time.

Cruz's campaign appeared caught by surprise Monday by questions about the senator's health care. Asked how Cruz's family would be covered after his wife lost her Goldman Sachs benefits, Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler repeatedly answered that he didn't know.

It's a deeply ironic development for the Texas conservative firebrand, who vaulted to fame during his few years in the Senate in large part by denouncing President Barack Obama's landmark health care law.

Cruz denied that there was anything ironic about the move, saying he was simply following the law.

"I believe we should follow the text of every law, even (a) law I disagree with," Cruz told CNN. "It's one of the real differences -- if you look at President Obama and the lawlessness, if he disagrees with a law he simply refuses to follow it or claims the authority to unilaterally change."

Cruz also said he will continue advocating for repealing the law.

"What is problematic about Obamacare is that it is killing millions of jobs in this country and has killed millions of jobs," Cruz said. "It has forced millions of people into part time work. It has caused millions of people to lose their insurance, to lose their doctors and to face skyrocketing insurance premiums. That is unacceptable."


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