Saturday, August 15, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 33

The self-professed "Summer of Trump" goes on. George Costanza would surely be proud. It is hard to deny though just how saturated American political news is though with the unabashed utterings and activities of Donald Trump. He is getting more than ten times the media coverage of any other GOP candidate and in the summer before an election, that is clearly significant, and is part of the explanation for his continued placement atop Republican polls. Other candidates are struggling to be heard, and struggling to raise money in some cases. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who at this point last cycle, was leading national polls by a wider margin than Trump is, is now not paying many staffers. There is the possibility that his SuperPAC will be able to keep his candidacy afloat, but the Perry campaign is clearly having some issues, and for many the political "death watch" is on for them.

Much focus has been on how the Fox News debates from August 6, which received huge ratings, have affected the candidates in the polls. The news for Donald Trump is mixed, with some surveys showing he has lost ground, while a few others, show he continues to lead. A CNN poll showing him ahead in Iowa, with former front-runner Scott Walker now in third place is clearly a worrisome factor for a neighboring Governor who has been expected to eventually win the Caucuses there. In second place in that poll, is another non-politician, Ben Carson, who has surged after the debates, along with the third candidate who has never held office, Carly Fiorina. The rise of Fiorina based on the debates was expected, but Carson's surge is a bit more of a surprise, since he was not seen as having that strong of a debate for most of it. People are gravitating though towards candidates whose style may be a little rough around the edges. Yesterday, Carson said he supported giving rape victims an "abortion pill" in emergency rooms, but it seems to me like the physician was really talking about the "morning after pill" and that he made a significant gaffe in speaking of the RU-486 pill. Nonetheless, this does not seem to be getting a lot of coverage.

Marco Rubio has improved his standings in the polls after the debate, as expected, with Scott Walker apparently moving backwards nationally. Jeb Bush has stayed fairly consistent, but the well-funded candidate is definitely not near the front of the pack in Iowa at the present time, and that may be a tough lead-off contest for him to win. Ted Cruz has gotten a bit of a bump after the debates, and many feel that a lot of Trump and Carson supporters will eventually gravitate towards him. Many expected John Kasich to get a bump in the polls after the debate, but that does not seem to have happened, and he is only showing strength in New Hampshire, where his campaign has already spent a lot of money advertising. Rand Paul continues to struggle in polls, which probably comes as surprise to what many would have expected when the year began, while along with Perry, other GOP candidates, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who once had their moments of Republican primary glory in past years, are still struggling to break through.

This week, a multitude of candidates in both parties are converging on the Iowa State Fair, which is getting a lot of attention on cable news. Most candidates are stepping on a soap box to make a 20 minute speech and take questions, which can often be unpredictable, while other candidates, such as Trump and Hillary Clinton are not risking it and just speaking briefly to reporters. Trump is giving kids rides on his helicopter, while Clinton is touting the endorsement of former Democrat Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Jeb Bush has made a lot of headlines this week, giving a big foreign policy speech at the Reagan Library in California, where he placed blame on Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State for the rise of ISIS, and later dealing with questions where critics in both parties are trying to tie him to the policies of his brother in Iraq.

Moving on to the Democrats, there can be little doubt that the "Summer of Trump" has not proven to be a strong season for Hillary Clinton. While she remains the front-runner for her party's nomination, her favorability numbers continue to nosedive, and she struggles in many ways against GOP candidates, even holding a less than impressive lead over the nuclear Mr. Trump. Now, she is behind Bernie Sanders by a 44-37 margin in New Hampshire. I am certain her campaign never expected to be facing that this soon in the cycle.

Of course, most of Clinton's problems involve continued controversy over her emails and the continued dripping of news regarding FBI investigations, now that the Justice Department has taken possession of her server. It is clear that Hillary Clinton's evolving defenses regarding classified material on her email shows she has been less than honest on that front. Her online campaign fan club may seem to believe that there is nothing there to cause her concern, but Democrat Party insiders are said to be increasing in worry about her viability in a general election. With that in mind, the eyes of the political world are looking at Vice President Joe Biden, who many expect will announce his intentions this upcoming week. Frankly, I think he could go either way. They may very well see Hillary as vulnerable, but may also recognize that is would be a very tough and difficult campaign.

There were some headlines this week that former Vice President Al Gore, who was of course the running-mate and second in command to Clinton's husband, is seriously talking about running again for the President. Gore and the Clintons apparently had a major falling out while still serving in the White House, but a Gore run looks like a long shot. The current Secretary of State John Kerry is getting some discussion as well, but I consider that a longshot, and find it funny that the 72 year olf Kerry talks as if he may run in a future cycle. Biden is clearly the person who has the most potential to shake-up the Democrat Party race, but if he declines, will talk of John Edwards or Michael Dukakis be far behind?


At 7:06 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey, sooner or later, Trump will implode by the end of this fall!


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