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Category Archives: Republican Debates
Regular readers of this blog know that a recurring topic of discussion has been how long the Republican Party can stay intact as it now is. For forty years, the Republican Party has been a combination of nativist Dixiecrats, Christian Fundamentalists, economic libertarians, neo-conservatives, and the traditional moderate business establishment. For most of the forty years, this coalition has been a con job with candidates using enough coded phrases and wedge issues on the campaign trail to keep the nativists and the fundamentalists happy at election time, but focusing primarily on keeping the neo-conservatives happy on foreign policy and the establishment happy on economic issues once in office.
For the first twenty years to thirty years this strategy worked well in most places. The gradual increase of Hispanic citizens, however, is altering the demographics (at least in Presidential election years), making it difficult to keep the nativists happy and still have a chance at winning the presidential election. (For Congress and state legislatures, the geographic dispersion of seats plus a little bit of gerrymandering will help the Republicans keep their heads above water for a little bit more). At the same time, the grassroots are beginning to catch on to the con, and they are becoming restless.
We are coming up on the November debates — the Republicans on Fox Business Channel, the Democrats on CBS. The sheer size of the Republican field (and the impossibility of being fair to all of the candidates) continues to drive everybody mad. Arbitrary criteria lead to candidates being shuffled to the “JV” debate or excluded all together; and the shortness of time leads to candidates being upset about not getting a chance to make their points. On the other hand, with only five candidates originally and three candidates left now, the time issues are not that pressing on the Democratic side.
For the upcoming Republican debates, three candidates have been excluded from the JV debates (Lindsay Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore). Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum will take part in the JV debate. The main event will feature Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Rand Paul.
The number of Republicans running creates a potential paradox in the normal money primary. At this point in the campaign, trailing candidates routinely find themselves in a catch-22 — they need more funds to become competitive but they need to become competitive to get more funds. However, putting aside Carson and Trump (as most of the money folks seem to think that both will collapse), several of the candidates can point to a poll showing them within the margin of error of third place in at least one early state. However, it is highly unlikely that 15 candidates will make it to Iowa. I would not be surprised if Senator Graham decides that with Rand Paul not being a serious contender that he no longer is needed to assure that the Republican field takes an aggressive stand on foreign policy. If Gilmore and Pataki were actually running expensive campaigns, I would not be surprised for them to call it a day soon. Since they aren’t, they might just stick around. Santorum, Huckabee, and Jindal are all competing for the same slot — currently occupied by Ben Carson. At some point, the lack of funds will force one or all of them to drop out. The November JV debate may be the last chance for one of these three to become the alternative to Carson.
It is easy to define the Democratic Primary into three or four key questions. The Republican Primary is an almost infinite number of questions. However, they ultimately come down into several questions repeated over and over again — who makes it to Mid-March and when do other candidates drop out.
Right now Trump has a solid lead in the majority of national polls. While every state has some discretion over their rules, for the states within the two-week mandatory proportionality window, only Trump is safely over the 20% that states are allowed to set as a threshold for delegates. Additionally, when you add the other “non-politician” candidates, about 50% of the primary votes appears to be going to “outsider” candidates.
More significantly, there is little or no meaningful gap between a large block of candidates. There are currently five candidates with between 5-10% of the vote in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Right now, it is easier to define who will almost certainly not make it to March 1 (Graham, Jindal, Pataki, and Gilmore) then to guess who will emerge from the pack to save the party from Donald Trump.
Below is a video from this morning’s Up with Steve Kornaki. It’s Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who was on The Apprentice for three seasons making mincemeat of Beltway insiders, politicos and pundits alike. It’s spectacular.
She’s right in everything she says. After the jump, more analysis.
Sadly, I must defend Donald Trump’s comments on Megyn Kelly. Trust me, this hurts me more than it does you. Basically, The Donald felt that he was treated unfairly by Kelly, and his step over the line was to intimate that she had her period. Thus, the misogynistic idea that monthly flow makes women stupid, confused, angry and all the rest of the lies that men have used against women over the years.
It used to be that it was a thing. That the fact that women bled regularly and men didn’t meant they could be treated differently in business environments. As in: don’t hire women because they’ll get pregnant and leave. Mothers miss time from work for their kids. Etc.
BUT let’s compare his ACTIONS toward women compared to the rest of the Republican field, and to the Republican platform. When you do, you’ll see that if actions speak louder than words, The Donald comes off better than all the rest of them. Sad but true.
The Conventional Wisdom says that Carly Fiorina won the happy hour debate. And she did IF and ONLY IF you believe that she ran HP successfully and that she has been spending the ensuing years traveling the world making friends with heads of government.
As for the 9 pm main event? I’m pretty sure that debate was won by Bernie Sanders.
Details after the jump.
Will be commenting both at our Facebook site here, or follow the comments on Twitter at @DocJessDCW. Full recap will be posted either tonight, or by sun up tomorrow if I can’t stop banging my head against the wall. Popcorn’s ready!
I am confused. I had thought that “a debate” was where there was a topic, the debaters made points, challenged other people’s points and interacted with one another. That wasn’t this. This was two polished white-toothed, well-coiffed Foxites asking polite questions and getting the answer “America can be great again” along with a recap of someone’s delusional recollection of how he/she has spent the past few years.
You can read the full recap with quotes (from the bottom up) on our Facebook feed here.
Mostly though — each of the governors believes his state is a better place based on what he’s done. All seven believe that Hillary Clinton is bad, America is on the decline, we need to fight ISIS and jobs would be good.
You can catch the live blog at our Facebook site here, and we’ll be back with analysis after it’s over. And then we’ll be back at 9 for the main event.
Well Trump may steal the headlines on Thursday, but the GOP is hoping for something more strategic:
But Republican leaders are delighted by one aspect of the debate: the attention it will shower on Ohio, a state they hope to bring back into the Republican fold in the 2016 election. The ultimate bellwether state in presidential politics, Ohio is the site of next Thursday’s debate because, just under a year from now, it will host the 2016 convention in the same Cleveland sports arena.
“We will have thousands of Ohio Republican volunteers and activists converging on Cleveland next summer,” said Mark R. Weaver, a Republican strategist in the state. “They will be re-energized, signed up and ready to rock.”
Despite the intense television exposure of a national convention, the hoopla-driven events have proved to be poor predictors of a party’s success in a state. Both Democrats and Republicans lost the battleground states where they picked their nominees three years ago.
By some accounts, a home-state convention is a double-edged sword, which may explain why Republicans have not won the state where they chose their nominee since 1992.