Saturday, September 12, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 37

We are leading up to the second GOP debate, which will take place on CNN Wednesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. Eleven GOP hopefuls will take the stage at primetime, with Donald Trump once again at the center podium. Before that though, a smaller number of candidates will debate in the afternoon. There will be three less than August's GOP "Happy Hour" debate in Ohio. Carly Fiorina has graduated to the main event, Jim Gilmore did not qualify based on CNN's standards, and as of yesterday, Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas, became the first White House aspirant to drop out of the race.

The departure of Perry is not a huge surprise given the past few weeks, but he certainly expected to fare far better when this cycle began, in making his second bid for the Presidency. Four years ago, he was leading GOP primary polls nationally at this point before faltering. In 2015, he barely got out of the starting gate. The longest serving Governor of Texas history just did not fit in with this summer's conservative infatuation with "outsiders." So, Perry is out, and in making the announcement he said he believed the field is strong and the party is in good shape. Clearly though, he does not feel that way about Donald Trump, based on his statements. The Perry SuperPAC actually still has a lot of money to spend and apparently they are preparing to do so, even without a candidate to support. Might they be running anti-Trump ads over the airwaves?

Political watchers keep waiting for "Peak Trump" and the end of the boomlet. It is interesting that Trump is now getting involved in fights with the other two "outsiders" , Ben Carson regarding religion, and Carly Fiorina regarding her "face." All of this continues to be very odd, and I think it is even more risky for Trump to get into these battles with other candidates who are also not seen as representing the "establishment."

In this past week, after Carson seemed to question Trump's religious sincerity (correctly in my view), Trump fired back angrily at Carson, accusing him of being just an "ok" doctor and practically calling him an abortionist. As if that was not enough, a Rolling Stone interview featured Trump talking negatively about Fiorina's face and saying he could not see that as the face of the next President. She has largely taken the high road in response, but it will be interesting to see the interaction between the two candidates on Wednesday night.

For his part, Trump is saying he was only talking about her "persona" , which seems like a completely non-sensical thing to say by a candidate known for saying such things and that he sometimes speaks as an "entertainer," Gee, no kidding.

With all this Trump news, it is almost easy to forget events from earlier this week, such as the dragged out controversy regarding Kim Davis, the elected Democrat Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who had been refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, and who was found in contempt of court and jailed by a Republican appointed federal judge. The large GOP field, all of whom opposed the Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage, have come down on different sides as to whether Davis had the right to do what she did. In my view, clearly, she did not, even if I also oppose same sex marriage. In particular, Mike Huckabee rallied to her cause, and showed up when she was released from jail (though her actions this upcoming week may be unpredictable) and his campaign staffers got into a bit of a tiff with fellow GOP candidate Ted Cruz, who also wanted to be part of the event. Davis, the Democrat though, appeared to mostly want Huckabee to be there. The former Arkansas Governor said he would be willing to go jail in her place. Talk about fake pandering..

The Democrat race is also interesting to political junkies, beyond the formal entrance of liberal college professor Lawrence Lessig into the race.

Hillary Clinton, after months of evolving statements and steadfast refusal to admit wrongdoing. In an ABC News interview this week, she finally said she was "sorry" about having a private server, although it appeared to have all the conviction of a hostage video. She got emotional at other points in the interview as well, which is something that briefly worked for her politically in 2008. Still though, Bernie Sanders has now moved ahead of Hillary Clinton in one Iowa poll, in addition to leading her in New Hampshire, and a national poll now shows Clinton under 40 percent and leading Sanders by just 10 points. While I do not think Sanders has the political advantages of Barack Obama, this is starting to look a whole lot like how 2007 turned into 2008 for Clinton.

If there was not enough reason for Clintonites to panic, additional general election polls show considerable slippage for her. She now trails Ben Carson and Jeb Bush (after leading him by a solid margin in a previous poll) and is merely tied with Donald Trump. Another national poll out this week showed Bush ahead of Clinton 47-40/

Clearly, there is more and more rationale for Democrats to want to turn to Joe Biden. He continues to give conflicting messages publicly though as to if he is going to run, but clearly he is thinking about it, especially since these polls all show him as a much stronger general election candidate than Clinton.


At 1:39 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey, I just DON'T see Biden making the jump due to obvious factors!

On my former Governor, Rick Perry (R) dropping out: I'm not that surprised he did this due to lack of fundraising, $$$$ & campaign staff leaving him, his political career is now officially over!


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