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“The Sunday Political Brunch” - February 14, 2016

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Iowa and New Hampshire have now cleared the deck. We are down to the “Lucky 7” candidates who could still be President of the United States – two Democrats and five Republicans. Assuming no one else gets in, let’s handicap the chances of these seven as we “brunch” this week:

“Hillary Clinton” – She is going to be the Democratic Party nominee. Bank on it! Yes, she had two disastrous outcomes in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the calendar is now her ally. South Carolina Democrats love the Clintons, and so too, do those in Nevada – the next two contests. On March 1 – Super Tuesday – there are 12 Democratic primaries, seven of which are in the South. She will have way surpassed Bernie Sanders in delegates by this date. Odds 5 to 4.

“Bernie Sanders” - Yes, he’s running as a populist Democrat, but Sanders is an avowed Socialist. The United States - which fought a bitter Cold War with Russia and has trade and security issues with China – is simply not going to elect a Socialist to the White House. That said, Sanders can be a thorn in Hillary Clinton’s side for a few more months. While Super Tuesday is skewed to the South, he could score major upsets in liberal strongholds such as Massachusetts and Minnesota. His native Vermont votes that day, too. And he has a shot in Colorado. Odds 40 to 1.

“Donald Trump” – Republicans need to at least accept the possibility that he will be their nominee. Some party elders have also said begrudgingly that Trump would be a more acceptable candidate over Senator Ted Cruz whom they loathe. Trump actually toned down his bombast in the New Hampshire debate last Saturday – in fact, at times, he acted downright Presidential – and the Super Tuesday calendar may favor him. Republicans have 14 contests on Super Tuesday, and only Trump and Jeb Bush have the money to adequately campaign in all at the same time. Odds 4 to 1.

“Ted Cruz” – Cruz had a great ground game in Iowa, where he was the only candidate to campaign in all 99 counties. That’s impressive. But how do you campaign in 14 states, which all vote the same day? If Cruz does very well in South Carolina and Nevada (meaning at least second place in both), then he has the momentum to challenge Trump. But Cruz really needs to grab a lion’s share of conservative votes in the Deep South on Super Tuesday, and Trump has made great inroads with those voters. Odds 10 to 1.

“Jeb Bush” – The former Florida Governor is hoping for a strong finish in South Carolina, and especially on Super Tuesday. His fourth place finish in New Hampshire (ahead of Marco Rubio) helps, but Bush has to beat him again all over the South. If not, I am starting to doubt that Bush can make it to the Florida primary on March 15. Yes he has the money and manpower to get there, but if he’s lagging behind in the polls (especially behind Rubio), he risks embarrassing the Bush family name. If Bush drops out, he could still be viable in 2020. Odds 30 to 1.

“Marco Rubio” – His pummeling at the hands of Chris Christie in the New Hampshire debate was painful and embarrassing. Here’s the GOP dilemma: In 2008, Republicans railed against “a popular ethnic politician in his forties, who had an inspiring ‘up from the bootstraps’ story, but whose only real experience was as a first-term, junior U.S. Senator, with no resume of significant legislation.” Sound familiar? Republicans will have a tough time sincerely backing Rubio – a candidate with the same meager credentials as Barack Obama eight years ago. Odds 50 to 1.

“John Kasich” – Ladies and gentlemen, meet your Republican Vice Presidential nominee for 2016. Kasich is your VP for two reasons: a) he’s the most qualified Presidential candidate on either stage, and; 2) Republicans needs to win Ohio, to win the White House. There’s no doubt about it, Kasich’s effort in New Hampshire was impressive with a solid, second place finish. But he’s the most moderate Republican in a race where the party is yearning for more of a true conservative. He has neither the money, nor the manpower to be successful through Super Tuesday, but I suspect he stays on through the Ohio primary on March 15th. Presidential odds 80 to 1; Vice Presidential odds, 5:4, basically a sure bet!

“All Bets are Off!” – My odds are contingent on these seven only being in the race. I do think that if Hillary Clinton stumbles badly some more, that VP Joe Biden will re-think his decision and may get in the race. I also strongly suspect that Michael Bloomberg may get in as a forceful and viable third-party candidate. If one of both of these events happens, I will withdraw my odds, and we will recalculate! By the way, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina officially dropped out this week, but Ben Carson did not. However statistically speaking, he’s done and that’s why he’s not in my analysis.

Who is your ‘dark horse” in this race? Just click the comment button at http://www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

© 2016, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.


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