CHALLENGE
THE PREMISE

ELECTIONS 2016

PRESIDENT

January 2015 Edition

CONGRESS

Who will be the
2016 candidates
for President of
the United States?


Republicans


SCOTT WALKER!

Walker has broad appeal to
GOP constituencies and is a
proven winner. Look for him
to select New Mexico
Governor Susanna Marinez
as his running mate.



Who, from among this
strong, diverse field , will
emerge victorious to return
the GOP to the White
House?

COMPETITORS
The road to the White House
leads past the Governor's
mansion. Marco Rubio, Rand
Paul and Ted Cruz need to
go back to their state capitals
and fill out their resumes.
Among governors, Jeb Bush
and Rick Perry are stale, and
worse, remind people of
GWB 43. John Kasich is
unappealing to the base.
Mike Pence is an intriguing
alternative to Walker; the
other Mike (Huckabee) is
NOT!

Democrats


ANDREW CUOMO!????

Look for Hillary to drop out
and open the way for Bill
Clinton's HUD Secretary.
Cuomo, also Cinton's
neighbor in Westchester
County, finished his 2014
re-election with $8.8 million
in the bank, and would have
no problem raising much,
much more. Look for him to
pick MA Senator Elizabeth
Warren - or even Hillary
Clinton! - as his running
mate.



Is Hillary a foregone
conclusion, or will
someone else swoop in and
steal the show?


COMPETITORS
A Clinton run is a 50/50
proposition at best, given
her failures as First Lady
(HIllaryCare) and SecState
(Reset). In the meantime the
prospect keeps her speaking
fees in the stratosphere, and
keeps a path open for the
Clinton's hand-picked
designee: Cuomo. Warren is
an instant contender if she
jumps in. Everyone else is an
also-ran at this point. Webb
is an interesting Presidential
candidate, but a non-starter
in the Primaries: this is the
extreme left Democratic
Party of Sanders and
Warren.

LATEST ELECTION NEWS


Cruz Announces Suspension of Campaign

May 3, 2016 - Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced tonight that he will discontinue his presidential campaign after being defeated in Indiana.

Cruz had expected to do well in Indiana, and indeed needed a good night to stay alive. That was not to be as early returns show Cruz losing all nine of the state's Congressional Districts, and losing in all but a half dozen of its 92 counties.

The last win for Cruz was a month ago in Wisconsin. Lopsided defeats since then in six Northeast states created a self-fulfilling negative feedback loop of doom.

Cruz asserted that even though the campaign is suspended, the movement will continue.

Expect Cruz stay in the Senate, lying in wait for another opportunity in 2020 to reclaim rightful place as the leader of the Anti-DC movement, that he must feel was heisted by Trump.



JANUARY 2015 ELECTION NEWS



Romney truncates 2016 bid

January 29, 2015 - After a quick three week flirtation where he received a cold, standoffish reception, 2012 GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has hammered the final nail in the coffin and announced he will not seek the 2016 nomination.

Ryan not running for President

January 12, 2015 - Incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and 2012 Vice President candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI01) has put an end to any speculation by announcing he will not run for President in 2016. We speculate that he may have an eye on the governor's mansion should Scott Walker's presidential ambitions lead to a vacancy.

Senator Boxer Announces Retirement

January 8, 2015 - Four-term Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has announced her retirement, declaring that she will not seek re-election in 2016. This opens up intriguing electoral possibilities for Republicans. The large monochrome blue state of 38 million people is teeming with ambitious Democrat politicians, but like every other state, it still only has one governor and two senators. If Democrats are unable to winnow the field for the state's jungle primary - top two vote-getters go to the general irrespective of party - then two solid Republicans could end up facing each other. This has happened before in 2012 (CA-31) and it could happen again.

Rep. Gibson Announces Retirement

January 6, 2015 - Congress Chris Gibson (R-NY19) has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016. Gibson is non-committal about his future plans, but speculation is rampant that he will spool up for a run for Senate or Governor in 2018.

Rep. Grimm Resigns

January 5, 2015 - The resignation of Congressman Mike Grimm (R-NY11) becomes official today, the day he would have been sworn in, marking the first vacancy of the 114th Congress. Grimm had originally announced his intentions on December 30.



2016 - PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES



PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS - AS AT JANUARY 1, 2015
Democrat Status Republican
no contenders yet Declared no contenders yet
Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, Martin O'Malley Strong Signals Jeb Bush, Ben Carson
Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schweitzer Positioning Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker
Joe Manchin, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Cuomo Mixed Signals Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Mitt Romney
Barbara Boxer, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner Soft No Paul Ryan
Julian Castro, Deval Patrick Hard No Rob Portman, John Thune


2016 Election Archives


THE REPUBLICANS

1. SCOTT WALKER - A sitting governor does not get a lot of attention for two reasons. First, people speculate about what unemployed ex-governors might do to keep themselves busy, like run for President, perhaps. They don't ponder such things about folks with daytime jobs. Second, people keep an eye on their own governor and the players in DC, but largely ignore the other 49 governors. So if you're not from Wisconsin you're probably not thinking a lot about Scott Walker. But you will.

2. JEB BUSH - What exactly does Jeb Bush bring to the table? He likes Common Core, he likes Amnesty, his brother dragged us into the Iraq War. Ummm... Jeb Bush seems like a "Big-Government-not-very-Conservative". He is like the 800-lb inflatable gorilla in the room. He takes up a lot of oxygen, but it won't be that hard for Walker to poke some holes in him and let the air out of his tires.

3. MITT ROMNEY - Romney has been making noises about running that make it sound like he really wants to, and at the same really doesn't. Mixed emotions lead to mixed signals.

4. CHRIS CHRISTIE - A Christie / Warren Presidential debate would be exciting. A Christie Presidency would get tiresome in a hurry, in case you're not yet tired of being hectored by Obama. His Crist-like embrace of Obama in 2014 is hard to forgive. Hmm... Crist and Christie. And he's not that conservative. And New Jersey is drowning in debt. In fact, the more we think about it, the more he reminds us of... Obama!

5. BEN CARSON - Ben Carson is yet another Republican candidate we really, really like. However, he's never conducted a campaign, never legislated, never governed. But he's a great man, and would make an outstanding Surgeon-General or HHS Secretary.

6. JOHN KASICH - The former Congressman and current Ohio Governor has been coy about his plans. We are big fans of his Congress/Governor resume, but less certain of his conservative cred. BUT: no Republican has ever been elected President without winning Ohio, and Kasich was re-elected last fall by a whopping 31% margin over his (admittedly weak and damaged) Democrat opponent. What did Lincoln say, "I hope to have God on my side but I must have Kentucky"? For the GOP, it's Ohio.

7. MIKE HUCKABEE - There are a lot of folks around who really like Mike Huckabee. Not in New York or California, but definitely in those other 48 states that you never hear about. But there is an even larger "Oh no, not Mike Huckabee" crowd - he's too many people's last choice. And he's yesterday's news. He has a ceiling he won't rise above, maybe 15% even as the field narrows? Huckabee's fans will warm up to Scott Walker.

8. RICK PERRY - Perry was our favorite in 2012. Ooops. Too late, Scott Walker is the guy with the new car smell. Too bad Perry damaged his brand so badly. Perry will be a more than acceptable alternative should he outlast Walker, but we'll have to wait for that scenario to unfold.

9. MARCO RUBIO - Marco Rubio is a fine candidate but he should cut a deal with Florida Governor Rick Scott to trade places in three years when Scott is termed out. Rubio is only 43. He has two tracks to the White House: one track, which he controls, is to get re-elected Senator in 2016, run for governor in 2018, and get re-elected in 2022. Then run for President in 2028. He'll only be 56. And he will be unbeatable. The fast track, which is strewn with competitors, is to angle for the VP nomination in 2016 and line up his ducks for 2024.

10. RAND PAUL - There are a lot of things about Dr. Rand Paul we really love. And a lot of things, well, that leave us scratching our head. His long-serving Congressman father, Dr. Ron Paul, was 60% wonderful and 40% weird; Rand Paul seems somewhat more conventional, perhaps 80% wonderful and "only" 20% off-beat. But neither Dr. Paul has any governing track record, they both run for President while steadfastly avoiding executive office. It just doesn't work. He should run for governor of Kentucky, let the voters see the real Rand Paul.

11. TED CRUZ - Legislating is easy, governing is tough. Like Senators Rubio and Paul, Cruz has never held a governing office. Nor is he noted as a great political tactician. We like Ted Cruz, we generally agree with his views, and respect his principals. But that does not make him a good candidate for President, at least not right now. With no chance to move into the Governor's mansion in Austin for a long time, we suspect that he will come to be noted as one of the greatest Senators in our history.

12. PAUL RYAN - Ryan is pretty happy in his new role as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, but we suspect that if Scott Walker is successful in his bid for President then Ryan will be keen to replace Walker as Governor. Ryan's hometown of Janesville is a mere 20 miles south of the state capital, Madison. Look for Ryan to go all out in support of his Badger State buddy Walker.


THE DEMOCRATS

1. ANDREW CUOMO - Hillary Clinton has again announced a delay in officially declaring or declining her candidacy. Why? Well, new revelations showing US involvement in the Libya debacle is her fault don't help. And her heir, Andrew Cuomo, may be on track for a heap of trouble after his enabler NYS Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, was arrested on federal corruption charges. Will Cuomo get dragged into the quick sand? Well, we'll have to wait and see. So Hillary has pushed out her announcement to July.

2. HILLARY CLINTON - She is not a good candidate - she's stiff and awkward. Democrats want to think she's great, but she really isn't. Neither is her record. In fact, as First Lady (HillaryCare) and Secretary of State (Reset, Libya, Syria, and so on) her record is atrocious. And gaffes? Let's start with "Businesses don't create jobs". No wonder Republicans want at her so badly. It's hard to understand why Democrats are so willing to oblige. A dull boring election between Walker and Clinton would favor Republicans.

3. ELIZABETH WARREN - Warren is frequently misrepresented as a "populist" by the compliant liberal mainstream media, but in fact she is a hard core leftist radical. If - if - the Democrats were to nominate Elizabeth Warren, the Republicans would be forced to counter with Chris Christie, not Scott Walker. You think this country is polarized? Just let these two have at it. There is "War" in "Warren". An electric election, a brawl between Christie and Warren, would tend to help Democrats.

4. MARTIN O’MALLEY - The buzz (or lack thereof) surrounding the presidential aspirations of former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has probably fallen (far?) short of his expectations. Maryland did quite well during his tenure, but that just happened to coincide with the largesse of Obama’s Big Government agenda. No wonder no one outside the beltway really cares much for his stat sheet – you can put an asterisk beside it, it’s the equivalent of the baseball steroid era. O’Malley is the A-Roid of governors.

5. JOE BIDEN - Occasionally mumbles about wanting to be President. As Vice President, Biden is welcome comic relief when we get tired of Obama droning on and on, demagogging Republicans as terrorists while praising terrorists as freedom fighters. Wait, sorry, back on topic, this is about Biden, Biden for President. (…pause…) Really? President? That is NOT the place for comic relief.

6. BERNIE SANDERS - There are Senators who run for President, and there are crank Socialists who take a shot at it as well, but since when are they the same person? First time for everything. A 2-sport athlete (Senator, Socialist), so to speak, like his namesake Deion Sanders (Falcons, Braves) and fellow New Englander Sam Adams (Brewers, Patriots). Kidding aside, Bernie could make it to the final four – the Dem bench is so depleted. Sanders is the stalking horse for Elizabeth Warren – if she drops out fully and irrevocably, it will be interesting to see if the Democrat base coalesces around Sanders.

7. BRIAN SCHWEITZER - A candidate in the mold of Jim Webb, the former Montana governor pursued a policy mix like you might expect from a reddish-state governor. Which means he will also be competing against the Clinton/Cuomo faction. But his "gay-dar" slur at Eric Cantor has mostly killed his chances. But people (like us) still talk about him, because there are just so few Democrats to talk about.

8. JIM WEBB - Jim Webb would be an excellent candidate for some previous iteration of the Democrat Party, but has no chance of becoming the nominee of the radicalized PC contemporary Demographic Party. A Marine Corps officer, Webb was Reagan's Secretary of the Navy, and a US Senator (D-VA). He is the true populist on the Democrat side, frequently breaking philosophical rigidity to appeal to the common good of all Americans, not just pressing the buttons of some favored demographic.

9. JOE MANCHIN - It’s no secret that the West Virginia Senator is not enjoying his job. It is speculated that the former governor is contemplating a return to his old job, but hey, as long as you are at HQ, why not take a stab at the CEO title. If it doesn’t work out, then go back to the division office. Manchin is an interesting possibility because of his prior governing experience. Plus, unlike his fellow centrists Webb and Schweitzer, Manchin is a current DC office holder who can spontaneously generate national media attention.

10. MARK WARNER - A successful and wealthy entrepreneur, Warner, like fellow Democrat Tim Kaine, is also a current senator and former governor of Virginia. This is a pretty good resume for a candidate, if he didn’t already seem too much like Mitt Romney. Not to worry, it’s OK for Democrats to be rich, just not evil Republicans. It is uncertain what impact the unexpectedly narrow re-election margin in November might have on any ambitions Warner might have, but even if a bid fails he will still have four years to recover and prepare for his next senate contest in 2020.

11. TIM KAINE - A current senator and former governor of Virginia, like Mark Warner. Virginia’s unique one-term limit creates a steady stream of undefeated seemingly solid former governors who seem decently situated for a shot at higher office. And the proximity to the DC beltway and media spotlight seem to pre-position their candidacy on the runway with a take-off clearance. But will he push the power lever?

12. BARBARA BOXER - Some people speculate that 4-term California Senator Barbara Boxer, who is due to face the voters again in 2016, might take a shot at the White House instead. She would be a viable far-left alternative to Elizabeth Warren. But her campaign filing of September 2014 shows she had less than $150,000 cash on hand. That’s not the war chest of an ambitious DC veteran.



The 114th Congress will see Republicans Mitch McConnell and John Boehner repair the damage done to the institution by deposed Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid.


SENATE PREVIEW

Long Term Outlook:


DEMOCRATS NET +2

A net gain for the Democrats is widely expected. They have only 10 seats to defend against 24 for the Republicans. Also favoring Democrats is the demographic makeup of the turnout in an "on" Presidential year such as 2016.

Republicans would do well to limit losses to low single digits and retain control of the Senate, where they presently hold a 54-46 advantage. Still, none of the Republican seats are seen as lay-ups for the Democrats yet, with the possible exception of Illinois.

Democrat Pick-ups:
1. Mark Kirk, R-IL

Republican Pick-ups:
1. Harry Reid, D-NV

Even:
1. Ron Johnson, R-WI

Close:
1. Pat Toomey, R-PA
2. Michael Bennett, D-CO
3. Richard Burr, R-NC

Marginal:
1. Marco Rubio, R-FL
2. Rob Portman, R-OH
3. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH

Jungle Primary Fluke:
1. Barbara Boxer, D-CA (Retiring)



HOUSE PREVIEW

Long Term Outlook:


DEMOCRATS NET +10

A Republican tide swept the Democrats from control of the House in 2010. The wave receded a bit in 2012, then a swell pushed the GOP waterline even further into Democrat territory in 2014. We expect the wave to recede again - just a bit - in 2016.

We expect Republicans to remain in control of the House over the next few cycles, with some fluctuation in the absolute seat count. With GOP totals at a 90-year high-water mark, expect some fall back.

Of great help to the GOP is there success in finally dislodging four Democrats who had stubbornly hung on in conservative districts: UT04, NC07, WV03 and GA12. Don't expect Democrats win back any of these four in your life time.

Here's a starter list of some of 2016's most vulnerable Representatives:

Democrat Pick-ups:
1. Martha McSally, R-AZ02
2. John Katko, R-NY24
3. Frank Guida, R-NH01
4. Bruce Poliquin, R-ME02
5. Bob Dold, R-IL10
6. Rod Blum, R-Ia01

Republican Pick-ups:
1. Brad Ashford, D-NE02

Even:
1. Lee Zeldin, R-NY01
2. Carlos Curbelo, R-FL26
3. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-AZ01

Close:
1. Gwen Graham, D-FL02
2. Cresent Hardy, R-NV04
3. Collin Peterson, D-MN07


Election Archives
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