Sunday, July 12, 2015

SO MUCH FOR THE GOP'S DEEP BENCH

You remember the conventional wisdom about the presidential primaries, right? Hillary Clinton was going to breeze to a coronation, challenged by a tiny handful of unappealing losers. This was because the Democrats, despite their belief that they're the party of the future, have very few plausible national leaders. The Republicans, on the other hand, have so many credible presidential candidates that they literally can't fit them on one debate stage. So much political talent! Such a deep bench!

But now it appears that the Republican voter base has benched the bench:
Donald Trump, who became the center of attention in the race for the 2016 Republican U.S. presidential nomination with his denunciation of illegal immigrants from Mexico, has vaulted into a virtual dead heat with Jeb Bush atop the field, a Reuters-Ipsos poll released on Saturday showed.

Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, had the support of 15.8 percent of respondents in the online poll of self-identified Republicans compared to 16.1 percent for Bush, a former Florida governor.

They were followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at 9.5 percent, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul at 8.1 percent, surgeon and author Ben Carson at 7.2 percent and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 5.8 percent.
Jeb Bush is still one of the front-runners -- as expected, he's the choice of the one-fifth or one-sixth of the GOP electorate who aren't voting out of sheer rage.

But Trump has pretty much cleared the non-Jeb field.

All those candidates! That rich pool of political promise! Irrelevant now. We know now that on the Democratic side it's a two-candidate race. Well, it looks as if the Republicans also have a two-candidate race.

I suppose Scott Walker (who's in sixth place in this poll) will have a spike when he officially announces his candidacy tomorrow. Or maybe not. Who know what Trump might say or do tomorrow to steal the spotlight?

Maybe the dynamics of the race are going to change between now and the Iowa caucuses (and maybe Scott Walker, who's slipping in national polls, will maintain his Iowa lead). But for now the GOP field looks like a boring legacy candidate with money, a hate-filled eccentric nipping at his heels, and a bunch of also-rans.

17 comments:

Never Ben Better said...

Meanwhile, John "Who?" Kasich is running "Gee golly I'm so wonderful for wonderful America!" TV ads on at least some of the cable networks that serve New England, most especially New Hampshire.

Victor said...

The GOP has a deep bench in the sense that they have a lot of extra players on their Mentally Challenged And Psychotic Wiffle-ball League.

Unknown said...

All a misunderstanding - Typo Tragedy, I call it: reach for R, miss, re-hit the next key; oops.

In D.C. it happens so often, folks auto-correct. Sometimes the card MEANS "Moops".

Unknown said...

In case unclear, the above was an attempt to explain the GOP referring to their array of POTUSorial candidates as "deep" versus 'derp'.

petrilli said...

Trump bores quickly. I can see him losing it for real at some point after about the millionth small town firehall dinner. One can only take so many plates of three-bean salad and cream of mushroom casserole before ripping the rubber face off and devouring something alive.

Then, out of the resulting imbroglio, with cat-like stealth, Pataki will make his move.

Professor Chaos said...

Who ever thought the GOP had a deep bench? I think most of us couldn't figure how they were going to come up with one viable candidate. Sure, they have a ton of them, but not one seems electable.

Paul Coppock said...

This means it's Jeb for sure. As the also-rans drop out under the Donald's pressure, the Gerbil will pick most of their supporters.

Yastreblyansky said...

Steve, have you looked at the actual numbers? For one thing, they're a bit different from the ones in the Reuters report, which seems very weird.

But if you take into account the "credibility intervals" (what the poll has instead of error margins) and difference between self-described Republicans and Independents, it really doesn't look like that much of a deal. It mainly looks like Bush has a real problem, and Trump's numbers are purely about (a) his famousness and (b) Bush's weakness. I'm not disputing that most Republicans like Trump's open nativist spite. But Walker, who I imagine is still more or less unknown, is a pretty close third among Republicans and may even be ahead of Trump. If I were putting money on it I think I'd be putting it on Walker.

Steve M. said...

Thanks -- I couldn't find those numbers. Interesting that Walker's in 3rd until you throw independents into the mix.

petrilli said...

Walker is Nixon without the charm and good looks.

Phil Freeman said...

Trump is only in until the financial disclosure deadline, then he's gonna make excuses and back away. He'd whip his cock and balls out at the podium before he'd let the world know what he's worth in real dollars. So...it's gonna be Jeb, very possibly with Walker as his VP candidate, and he's/they're gonna lose. Badly.

Steve M. said...

He'll file, and do one of his "Yeah? You want a piece of me, little man?" dominance challenges if it's questioned.

Jeb would probably like to run with Nikki Haley, but Bush-Walker is plausible. They might lose a close one, but the press hates Hillary and wants her to lose (think Gore in 2000), so Jeb really might win.

Phil Freeman said...

>>He'll file, and do one of his "Yeah? You want a piece of me, little man?" dominance challenges if it's questioned.

I genuinely don't think so. Donald Trump has never told the truth about his money IN HIS LIFE. He's not gonna start now. I bet in his head, this campaign has already started to seem like a really bad idea...because it's costing him a LOT of money, in the present and in potential future earnings now drifting away because he's rendered himself toxic from a corporate PR standpoint. He's starting to stink.

>>Jeb would probably like to run with Nikki Haley, but Bush-Walker is plausible. They might lose a close one, but the press hates Hillary and wants her to lose (think Gore in 2000), so Jeb really might win.

Nope. The press hates Hillary, but she hates them even more, and she can run on that, because most people hate the press, too. Media-imposed narratives don't really matter anymore; if they did, journalists wouldn't be so sweaty and desperate. The New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News and all the rest really need to stop looking at the present through the prism of the 1990s. A lot has changed. To pick just one stupid example, did you see that New York magazine article about how nobody cares about Ann Coulter anymore? The last time she was on Bill Maher's show, when he announced her name, the crowd went dead silent. No booing, no clapping, nothing. It was like the temperature in the room just dropped 10 degrees.

Steve M. said...

Did I say he was going to tell the truth on his financial disclosures? I said he'll file. His report will be dishonest, and he'll dare anyone to challenge him. Who's going to do that? The castrated, underfunded FEC?

And who cares what Bill Maher's audience thinks of Ann Coulter? She hit #2 on the Times bestseller list with her latest book, which is an ur-text for Trump's pronouncements on immigration. And even if she is past her prime (her books used to spend weeks at #1), the right has plenty of blowhards warming up in the bullpen.

Seriously, I don't know how you can act as if the GOP is on its last legs after the 2010 and 2014 midterms. We're one lousy Democratic get-out-the-vote effort away from turning the U.S. into Scott Walker's Wisconsin.

Phil Freeman said...

I'm not saying the Republicans are on their last legs; I'm saying the Republicans can't win a presidential election. That's all. And frankly, given what they can do (or not do) in Congress, I'm not even sure why anybody wants to be president.

Steve M. said...

We'll see.

petrilli said...

Republicans have every other elected office sewn up (for the most part) in this country right down to local school boards. For the presidency, they are slight underdogs at the moment. There is a lot of unearned complacency among Democrats about their competitiveness and governing viability that I just don't understand.