Sunday, December 13, 2015


On one level, this is a huge change in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. On another level, it's the same old thing:
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has surged ahead to become the latest front-runner in the campaign for the Iowa caucuses, dislodging Ben Carson and opening an impressive lead over a stalled Donald Trump, a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows.

The firebrand junior senator from Texas is backed by 31 percent of those likely to attend the Republican caucuses that start the presidential nomination season on Feb. 1. Trump is a distant second at 21 percent, up slightly from 19 percent in October, but below his peak of 23 percent in August.

... The senator’s great leap forward comes largely at the expense of Carson, as Iowa’s evangelicals appear to have picked the candidate they want to get behind. The retired neurosurgeon, now barely in third-place, is supported by 13 percent, down from the first-place showing he posted in October, when he was at 28 percent.
Notice who's not surging? Marco Rubio (fourth place, 10%). Jeb Bush (fifth place, 6%). Chris Christie (tied for sixth place, 3%). John Kasich (ninth place, 2%). If only one of these guys were in the race, maybe that one establishmentarian would be competitive, at 21%. But we still have no reason to believe that any Establishment candidate is going to emerge from Iowa in a position to be truly competitive. It's still the case that the only candidates who've led any polls since summer are Trump, Cruz, and Carson. The Republican race is still dominated by candidates no sane person would want within a mile of the nuclear trigger.

Trump still seems to be leading everywhere else, which suggests either that Iowa is going to be an outlier (as it often is) or that states with Republican electorates that are just as Christian-conservative as Iowa's will gravitate to Cruz. It's my impression that Southern Republicans think religion is a big driver of their vote, but what their religion tells them is that the world is starkly divided into the pure good and the pure evil, and the kind of candidate they're really looking for is someone who sees life on earth the same way, with the intention of bringing vengeance to the evil. On that score, Trump still has a considerable edge on Cruz (and on the rest of the field). Iowa Republicans seem to care more about religious conservatism in and of itself than even Southern Republicans do. What do they love in the South? College football. Every Saturday in the fall, in every contest, there's one winner and one loser. Trump is still the candidate whose most inclined to talk about everything in that way, and to turn campaign appearances into rah-rah tailgate parties.

So I think this is a two-candidate race now. Maybe one or two good debates could give Rubio a poll bump -- I assume that's what the party was hoping for when it added a debate a couple of weeks before Iowa -- but Jeb Bush's refusal to withdraw and the media's tendency to hype any signs of life in Chris Christie's campaign will probably prevent Rubio from getting real traction in the early states. My guess is that Rubio will be a distant third in Iowa, Bush and Christie will do just well enough in New Hampshire to spoil any chance Rubio has to shine there, and none of these guys will drop out before South Carolina and Nevada. And Trump and Cruz will win all of the first four contests, with every other candidate looking weak and second-rate. After that, it might be Trump or it might be Cruz, but I don't think it will be anyone presentable -- or, let's hope, electable.


New Fox poll of Iowa: Cruz 28%, Trump 26%, everyone else way behind (Rubio 13%, Carson 10%, Bush and Paul 5%, everyone else 2% of less).


Victor said...

Oh great...

The GOP base may, in the end, have to choose between the Red Devil, and the Deep Red Tea-bagger.
Not a logical and empathetic brain cell between the two of them...

I hope the Dem candidate, whoever that may be, stays healthy until after the innauguration in 2017!

Unknown said...

Sorry for harping on this, but I'm one of those election hammers that sees everything in terms of who's nailing the ground game: I think Rubio ain't got one.

I realize this might shock; I'm still getting used to it. There's been SOME reporting on it, but closer we get to counting heads, there'll be more. I've contacted a few folks I know beyond my reach, and the picture I get back (so far) is Rubio has not even the GOTV presence of Santorum 2012. I'm told the issues are money (Jeb! hoovered up all Rubio's best sources.), and lack of movement voluteerism (Trump & until recently Carson have been hoovering up the Teapster & Freedumber "vols" that get funding from the Kochs et al). I'd encourage others here to do that same and 'share' here.

So we have this weird dynamic:

- Cruz has a not-huge but big, widely distributed & growing ground game, first organized out of Texas from his Senate campaign team, and it's tight, focused, mercenary, ruthless, & emphasizes centralized control with regional office presences & outreaches to specific leaders in local Republican & conservative groups in what seems to me a very Stage 2 of Saul Alinsky's books, in a way that, until recently, only Team Jeb!'s was going for
(That's not quite fair: both Perry and Walker tried to do this, but Perry found himself outflanked IN TEXAS[!] and realized right then he couldn't compete nationally, and I hear Walker found he couldn't get any traction at all with the TeapSters, Freedomers & affinity marketing & investment circles.);

- Jeb! is, course, all hat no cattle;

- Trump's campaign to some extent goes out to the base directly thru his tweets & his phone stand-bys; but otherwise it's highly decentralized among conservative (not necessarily or primarily Republican) 'clubs': TeaPsters & Freedomers, Club for Growthers & other affinity investor groups, affinity pyramid marketing & distribution orgs, and, as we're learning more & more, white supremacist groups - to the point where it may as well be a franchise operation;

- Carson's got nothing except local 'representatives' more-or-less licensed to take for themselves whatever they can get away with;

- the minnows have done about as much as they can with what they can bring in, which, in Kasich's case, is not huge but some, in Christie's case, isn't much at all, and in Fiorina's case, is some sort of party-affiliate welfare funding; and

- as to the faithies, Huckster & Santorum each appears capable of going on more or less indefinitely off the mailing list he's grown up and tended to for years & now regularly crops.

This GOTV/ground game disparity becomes particularly acute once the GOP gets past SC. From that point on, as Steve M. is suggesting, this currently looks to be a 2-man race.

Ten Bears said...

I think you're right Steve, and hit on something I've struggling to find a means to convey: White Southern "Christian" Republicans think... they are the majority. They are not. The whites are no longer a majority. The "Christians" - if they ever were - are not a majority. The Retards (look it up) are not a majority. And the "south"... rising sea levels can't happen fast enough.

White Southern " Christian " Republicans are a minority. A highly vocal minority, yes, that remains in position to continue to retard any progress that might be made, an authoritative, bloodthirsty dominionistic minority who would impose their ignorance and hatred upon the rest of us, the majority, by force if deemed necessary, but a minority nonetheless. Who would impose a tyranny upon the majority.

When I recall my Constitutional Law classes I recall that early Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court wrote of The Second Amendment as redress, as relief for the tyrannies imposed upon the majority, by a minority.

You're with us, or against us.

It's not a question.

Ten Bears said...

Early Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court John Marshall.

Stupid smart phone.

Victor said...

Who are you (masked... man?)?

Thanks for all of the info.

I think the animosity between Jeb (...) and Rubio, and their camps, is what's keeping Rubio relatively poor. And that animosity stems from Jeb - Marco's political Godfather - feeling that '16 was his year, and that Rubio opportunisticaly broke his leash, and is biting the hand that fed him.

If what you said about Rubio's finances is true - and I believe you - then Jeb (...) dropping out, and steering his money and it's sources Marco's way - and SOON!- is Rubio's only chance.

But Jeb (...) is a Bush.
And nobody hold onto grudges longer than the Bush Crime Syndicate.
So, Jeb (...) will continue to "hoover" until there's no money left to pick-up, and Marco can go fly a kite, for all he and the Bush's care.

I think you and Steve are also right about TRUMP and the Cruz-ader.

But - imo - TRUMP will probably start to fade once the primaries start to head deeper into the South, the Midwest, and the West.
Yes, there will be a ton of angry white voters there for him to herd, but I suspect that Cruz will become the Shephard the Evangelicals will want to lead their flock.

And Booman has an interesting take on TRump's continuing to run if he's not the GOP candidate.
He'd better be preparing for that now, because Booman points out some time, and other, obstacles.