Monday, January 4, 2016
2016 Political Prognostications
Four weeks before the Iowa caucus; the voters and not the polls will speak. Here are my predictions for this year's election cycle. Assume the opposite because my predictions have a high degree of unreliability. Donald Trump will not be elected President in December. Indeed, he will not even win the Republican nomination. He’s beginning to slip in the polls. Voters are starting to take a serious look at the candidates – the side show is ending. Donald trump is a highly successful businessman. He is also a highly successful real estate developer, who is often heavily leveraged. That means his free cash flow and cash reserves are low, with substantial debt. The Donald is probably land and building rich, but cash flow. He will soon have to decide how much of his own fortune he shoud invest in the campaign. He’s lived off free publicity until now. He’s promising $2 million a week for 4 weeks in ads. $8 million is chump change in a Presidential election. At what point will he decide to cut hislosses? One by one the candidates will drop out of the race, accelerated by the Iowa Caucus in a month and then the New Hampshire Primary And one by one, the survivors will receive increasing support as the majority of Republican primary voters will coalesce around the non-Trump. Will it be Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Chris Christy, Governor Jeb Bush, or Dr. Ben Carson? Senator Rich Santorum and Governor Mike Huckabee had their Iowa moments in past elections. They won’t be winning this time. Governor Kasich is effectively running as a compassionate conservative. That may appeal in a general election, but will not triumph this year with the Republican base. Chalk him up as a VEEP candidate. Senator Ted Cruz has four advantages. First, he is as outspoken as the Donald, but with more refinement. Second, he is undoubtedly the most brilliant of all the candidates, Republican or Democrat. Third, he is a debater par excellence. He will probably eviscerate Senator Clinton in the debates. Fourth, and most critical in the Iowa caucuses and then New Hampshire, he is reported to have the best ground game. However, he is a lone wolf with an inimitable ability to antagonize people. Hardly anyone who has dealt with him wants him to succeed in anything except failure. He will have trouble winning the nomination. Senator Rubio is currently the consensus choice of the party establishment and the feared candidate of the liberal establishment. The New York Times periodically takes pot shots at him. He has student loans, a mortgage, car payments, and speeding tickets, all of which make him a normal American- quite a rarity in recent Presidential elections. He is even accused of being highly ambitious. What Presidential candidate is not highly ambitious? He is an accomplished politician, having been Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. He comes across as a warm, caring, competent. Governor Christie is a great personal campaigner. He will gain momentum through the primaries if he can survive Iowa and New Hampshire. His big problem with the base is not Bridgegate but the photo op with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy devastated coastal New Jersey. He was absolutely right in working with the President in seeking recovery funds and resources for his state. Unfortunately for him, the photo op was at a critical time in the 2012 Election. Republicans remember Governor Jeb Bush, if nominated, has a great chance to defeat Senator Clinton and become a great President. He hopes to win the nomination by surviving the primary gauntlet. Unfortunately he is too soft spoken in a year the voters want red meat. Both Senator Rubio and Governor Bush are forthright about the need for immigration reform. The Senator was part of the “Gang of Eight,” which handicaps him in the Republican primaries, bit would be of value in the general election. The Republican Part cannot last by running off the growing non-white population. Governor Bush has been steadfast in the need for immigration reform and continues to support the Common Core educational curriculum. He proved himself a successful conservative Governor of Florida for eight years, but he may prove too moderate in this election cycle. Dr. Ben Carson has the most compelling personal story, but he peaked too soon. His supporters have apparently been shifting to Senator Cruz. He’s too soft-spoken in the debates. It’s as though Governor Bush and Dr. Carson are competing to see who is the adult in the room. My choices therefore are Senator Rubio, Governors Bush and Christie, and Dr, Carson. The Democratic campaign is currently a snoozer as the media is concentrating on the highly competitive Republican campaign, especially on the statements and mis-statements of Donald trump. They believe Senator Clinton has the Democratic nomination in the bag, and will be anointed President in November. Don’t be so sure. Senator Bernie Sanders has the potential to defeat Senator Clinton in both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary. If he pulls the double upset, then the socialist has the momentum to win the nomination. Senator Clinton has a major problem. Her success may be a mile wide, but it’s only an inch deep. Senator Sanders is doing his best not to savage Senator Clinton in the caucuses and primaries, but the voters know who she is. The Senator has a major league credibility problem and probably cannot make it through the campaign without one of her snarly remarks or out of place cackles. She does not connect with the people, unlike her husband who was a natural politician. Senator Clinton comes across as smarter than any of us. And she knows it! Hillary Clinton will be running with two albatross’ around her neck. Senator Clinton will be no more able to run against the legacy of President Obama than Republican nominee Mitt Romney could run against the legacy of Governor Mitt Romney. As Secretary of State to President Obama’s failing and flailing foreign policy, she’s stuck with Benghazi, Iran, Israel, and emails. Any blowup with terrorism, Iran, or Israel will hurt her campaign. Vice President Al Gore partially lost to Governor George W. Bush because of the dislike for President William Jefferson Clinton. Her husband at some point will probably remind the American people that his Administration was political and personal scandal after scandal. President Obama will spend much of the year, when he’s not golfing or vacationing, campaigning for the Democratic nominee and fundraising for the Democratic Party. He is campaigning for his legacy. President Obama has found relentless campaigning is easier over the past seven years than governing. He will try to turn out his coalition of minorities and woman for the woman candidate. The money will flow, but the votes won’t. The Republicans will pull a clean sweep with the Presidency, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and local races. They may lose a few seats, but they may also gain a few.