Saturday, August 29, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 35

Questions big and small hang over Campaign '16.

Some have now been answered, such as the move recently approved by Republicans in Kentucky to allow Rand Paul to seek reelection to the Senate while also running for President. Of course, the Senator's campaign has had a very hard time taking off. He was supposed to be more of a serious challenger for the nomination, than his father, who ran in the last two cycles, but he seems to have nowhere near that level of support. Rand Paul seems to be hurt the most by the Trump Phenomenon , as he has attracted supporters who deliver a cult-like devotion to a candidate, despite the fact that Donald Trump and Ron Paul  are very far apart on many issues.

With Trump continuing to lead in the polls, and continuing to dominate in media coverage, unlike any primary contender, even Barack Obama, in recent history, the other GOP candidates are hoping that they will eventually break through. I do think that will gradually develop as summer turns to fall, but not every candidate is going to have the opportunity to gain traction. Figurative vultures continue to swirl around Rick Perry, whom many thought would be a serious contender, as well as Lindsey Graham, who has always a long-shot. Perry even saw his once highly touted top Iowa heavyweight, defect to the Trump campaign, despite previous criticism of him.

 Even Jeb Bush, the candidate that many still feel will ultimately win the nomination, is said to be taking measures to cut campaign spending, even though he has easily raced the most money. This is not necessarily a sign that the Bush campaign is in crisis, but they seem to recognize that this is going to be a long fight, and spending too much money at this stage of the game will not yield much returns. Still though, the Jeb Bush SuperPAC is to begin a large ad spree in September. Currently, John Kasich has been spending the most money on the air in states like New Hampshire.

In the meantime, Republicans will continue to pour over polls. Presently, the outsider candidates, like Trump and Ben Carson are at the top nationally, but I will be surprised if that continues into 2016. There is no doubt though that just about every Republican candidate will have to step up their game. Chief among them is Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, whom many thought had a plausible path to the nomination, but who has struggled at the expense of Trump and a less than stellar campaign. Marco Rubio, while still in single digits nationally, remains a candidate that many will continue to watch as someone who could gain a lot of traction down the road.

However, the main question of all of Campaign 2016 involves the sitting Vice President. As of now, Joe Biden has yet to make a decision, as to whether or not he will run, although reports have had him leaning towards yes for some time now. Polls out this week show that he has the most favorable numbers of any major candidate in either party and would be stronger in a general election, than Hillary Clinton.

For her part, the Democrat front-runner, everywhere except New Hampshire, where she trails Bernie Sanders, is still pressing the concept of inevitability, making note of all the superdelegates that have endorsed her. Of course, many of those people did in 2007 as well, only to eventually abandon her for Barack Obama. It would be redundant to say that the email controversy has continued to hurt her, and a poll out this week which asked voters to pick words to describe candidates was brutal for Clinton in regards to having her being called a liar, dishonest, and various negative attributes along those lines.

Democrats though are far way from a first debate and many in the party continue to at least publicly express confidence in Hillary Clinton. She is trying to appeal to her party base by being very antagonistic towards leading Republican candidates, and yesterday seemed to compare them to terrorists. The fledgling Martin O'Malley though, at the same DNC meeting, denounced party bosses for not scheduling debates and claimed the process was being "rigged."

So, will Biden get in? A week ago, I would have said it was a near certainty. Now, I am not so sure. He may very well do it, although he realizes that as soon as he becomes a candidate, all the positive publicity towards him, especially in the wake of his eldest son's death will start to dissipate. Allies of the Clintons seem to be conducting psychological operations over the airwaves and probably behind the scenes to try to keep Biden out, trying to make him think that it would be too emotional and arduous of a venture. If he gets in, it might get very dirty, and it will be interesting to see if allies of the Clintons, with their own marital saga, might somehow try to make an issue over the fact that Biden's surviving son was linked to an Ashley Madison account, after the infamous leak of thousands of names, and how Hunter Biden is pretty outrageously been trying to claim that he is being set up by the Russian government.

Major questions in both parties remain. Is Trump planning to eventually leave the Republican race to run third party? Many are saying he might soon be prepared to rule that out. He might really think he is likely to be nominated at this point. Democrats would love for him to run as an Independent in the general election though.

Nonetheless, the biggest question surrounding the race as September approaches is the eventual decision of Joe Biden.


At 3:08 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

I don't see Biden running for the White House because he's 72 years old & also the fact he just recently buried his oldest son during the summer!


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