CHALLENGE
THE PREMISE

ELECTIONS 2016

PRESIDENT

February 2016 Edition

CONGRESS

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


Republicans


DONALD TRUMP??

Donald Trump has come out
of nowhere and stolen the
show. He seems to have
captured the zeitgeist, the
spirit of the times. Can it last?



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

COMPETITORS
With the inept Obama
Administration in its final
days, one would have
expected that experienced
governors with a record
of accomplishment would
dominate the Race 2 Replace
but outsiders and novices
Trump, Carson and Fiorina
are in the hunt! Seasoned
executives for sure, but
not the ones the beltway
had in mind!


Democrats


BERNIE SANDERS??

The creaky, rusty Clinton
machine grinds slowly
onward, wayward, relying
solely on muscle memory
for movement. Will
Democrats suddenly rise
from their slumber to the
realization she cannot win a
General Election?



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


COMPETITORS
Folks on the right can barely
contain their joy at the
prospect of a Clinton
candidacy. Shouldn't that
give pause to the Democrats?
Biden and Warren are both
better candidates and better
Democrats than Clinton, but
aren't even in the race. And
then there are O'Malley and
Sanders, again, both better
Democrats and better
candidates. Yet the Dems
seem intent on following
Clinton in a lemming-like
charge over the cliff.

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.

Bush ends Campaign for GOP Presidential Nomination

February 20, 2016 - Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has called it quits.

That the Bush Brahmin would be the eventual GOP nominee was considered fait accompli before he even announced his campaign. Then, apparently believing that, he launched his campaign insisting that he would not even consider accommodating the varied and valid concerns of the pitchforks. How well did that work out for him?

The candidacy of anyone named Bush was never going to be an easy sell to conservatives who felt cheated by previous familial iterations, but saying from the outset that he didn't care and wouldn't try...? He left the door wide open for Donald Trump. Trump = zeitgeist; Bush = whatever is the opposite of zeitgeist.

There are now five candidates remaining: Populist Donald Trump, conservatives Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, and establishment moderates Marco Rubio and John Kasich. Cruz needs Carson to disappear ASAP; similarly, Rubio needs Kasich to vanish.

GOP Candidate Jim Gilmore finally drops out

February 12, 2016 - Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has finally dropped out of the GOP presidential nomination process.

He should never have joined and his exit was long overdue. Notwithstanding that he was governor of an influential state, Virginia limits its governors to a single consecutive term so they don't stick around long enough to leave a mark. And Gilmore's term was so long ago that absolutely no one remembers anything about it, save perhaps his near of kin who enjoyed the mansion for a time.

There are now six meaningful candidates remaining: Populist Donald Trump, conservatives Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, and establishment moderates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

Two More Republicans Drop Out: Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie

February 10, 2016 - Governor Chris Christie (NJ) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina have announced the suspension of their respective presidential campaigns.

Christie is a formidable campaigner but his blue state governance did not capture the zeitgeist; and his embrace of President Obama (in the mold of Charlie Crist) was not forgotten.

Carly Fiorina is a good candidate but her time at HP was tumultuous. Tech companies go up and then down like skyrockets, and she presided over HP at the time of its inflection. Not her fault, but it will always be her problem.

In addition to the non-viable bid of former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, there are now six meaningful candidates remaining: Populist Donald Trump, conservatives Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, and establishment moderates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

Two More Republicans Drop Out: Rand Paul and Rick Santorum

February 03, 2016 - Senator Rand Paul (KY) and former Senator Rick Santorum (PA) have announced the suspension of their presidential aspirations.

Paul, a libertarian, was initially expected to be a major player but his soft foreign policy was too similar to the astoundingly unsuccessful Obama approach. Ted Cruz will likely pick up a good portion of Paul's support, though it is unlikely that Paul will support a candidate in the Primary.

Santorum, a populist and someone from yesterday, never rose beyond also-ran status. His constituency was completely eaten up by The Donald. Santorum has endorsed Marco Rubio.

Mike Huckabee Drops Out of GOP Nomination Process

February 01, 2016 - Mike Huckabee has finally dropped out of the GOP nomination race.

Huckabee was out-populisted by Donald Trump, and out-conservatived by Ted Cruz. As a result his campaign had no meaning, and could gain no traction in a large field.

Huckabee's last minute attack-ad bomb-throwing at Ted Cruz seemed like a pointless scorched-earth act of desperation, having the adverse effect of making him look like a sore loser in the eyes of those who might otherwise have been most sympathetic towards him.

Martin O'Malley Drops Out of Democrat Nomination Process

February 01, 2016 - Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has announced the suspension of his campaign.

This is unfortunate for Democrats, because they have narrowed their choice to either Hillary Corrupt Clinton or Bernie Socialist Sanders.

By contrast, O'Malley was by far the most normal of the three, and would have stood a decent chance against the Republicans Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Democrats will rue their strange choice.


2016 - PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES





PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS - AS AT FEBRUARY 01, 2016
Democrat Status Republican
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Running Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump
Lincoln Chaffee, Lawrence Lessig, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb Exited Lindsay Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Scott Walker
Barbara Boxer, Wesley Clark, Andrew Cuomo, Al Gore, Tim Kaine, Joe Manchin, Brian Schweitzer Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren Non-Starters -
Joe Biden Julian Castro, Deval Patrick Irrevocable No Rob Portman, John Thune, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan


2016 Election Archives

January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
Januay 2015

THE REPUBLICANS

1. DONALD TRUMP - Tonight's Iowa result, in and of itself, should not pose a problem for Trump. Neither the state nor the caucus fit his style. Still, a loser is a loser, and the outcomes breathes life into his competitors.

2. TED CRUZ - As we predicted last month, Cruz won Iowa tonight. The question is whether he can build on his momentum and bleed support from Dr. Carson.

3. MARCO RUBIO - Rubio nearly reeled in a big fish tonight, and he can now make a case for Establishment support. Tea Party Rubio from 2010 seems a distant though fond memory.

4. JOHN KASICH - If The Establishment does not rally behind Rubio, then the Governor of Ohio would be the best alternative for those guys to unite behind.

5. BEN CARSON - Carson needed a stronger showing in Iowa tonight. He has the resources to keep going, but Cruz will attempt to pry every last Carson supporter. Carson needs a surge in South Carolina to make it worth fighting through the SEC primaries.

6. JEB BUSH - Poor Jeb. Lackluster. What did that other guy say, "low energy"? Yup. Bush has enough cash to carry on into March, but not much longer.

7. CHRIS CHRISTIE - Christie had a brief "tough-on-crime" spurt after San Bernardino - he'd make a fine Attorney General in a Cruz Administration. New Hampshire will be a cage match between Kasich, Bush and Christie. Then Christie, who is about to run out of money, will drop out.

8. CARLY FIORINA - Carly soldiers on, fighting the good fight. She will stay to the end, hoping to snag a VP slot. Her executive experience would make her a good choice for the Senators Cruz or Rubio.


THE DEMOCRATS

1. HILLARY CLINTON - We've said right from the start that Clinton is an awful candidate. After tonight's tie in Iowa, maybe Democrats are starting to face reality - that she is screwing the party, she needs to win the nomination as a bargaining chip to keep herself out of jail.

2. BERNIE SANDERS - Have the dominoes begun to fall towards Sanders? Sanders is a radical leftist, but if you can't countenance Clinton's corruption, at least Sanders is probably reasonably honest.

3. JOE BIDEN - Democrats absolutely, positively need to do something about their candidates - they are down to two, and they're both awful. Democrats need to seriously think about Plan B, "B" as in "Biden".

4. ANDREW CUOMO - Poor Democrats, what to do? They are down to two horrible candidates, each of whom are certain to lose to Ted Cruz or Donald Trump! If Democrats can't convince VP Joe Biden to jump in, they will need to consider Plan C, "C" as in "Cuomo".

5. ELIZABETH WARREN - Is it too late for Warren to enter the race? She probably doesn't want to shame herself through the Faux-cahontas / Lie-awatha embarrassment all over again.

6. MARTIN O’MALLEY - O'Malley had a decent resume, at least on paper. But he was so bland. He suspended his campaign tonight.

7. AL GORE - Too busy buying his cable channel back from Al Jazeera on the cheap.

8. JIM WEBB - We'll take Webb off the list when we cull it down to seven candidates. Please be patient.



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

Fluke:
1. Barbara Boxer, D-CA (Retiring, jungle primary dilution)
2. Joe Manchin, D-WV (Might retire to run for governor)



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


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