Since we last took a comprehensive look at the 2016 Senate races, a slew of new candidates have jumped in, some promising contenders have dropped out, and intraparty competition has intensified.
Sounds dramatic. Yet what most strikes us is the overall stability, thus far at least, of the Senate picture.
We all know what Donald Trump is saying and the issues he’s emphasizing. Many have noted the strong reactions of the media, pundits, and his business associates, some of whom have cut ties. Now the most recent surveys show Trump in the double digits among Republicans nationally. Two new polls have even found Trump ahead of Jeb Bush, the nominal frontrunner: Economist /YouGov’s survey placed Trump at 15% and USA Today /Suffolk University’s poll showed him at 17%.
The Buzz about Bernie has taken hold on the Democratic side of the 2016 campaign, and it’s easy to see why. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is drawing huge crowds and great poll numbers in the first two states to vote, Iowa and New Hampshire.
Facts, Justice Louis Brandeis taught, are the basis of understanding. Yet facts, even if by definition true, can be misleading when stated imprecisely, without necessary qualifications, or out of context. The misleading power of truth was evident in recent political reporting that invoked history to suggest that Democratic presidential candidates have an uphill climb in winning the White House in 2016 because only once since 1951 has a party won the presidency in three straight elections.
In the aftermath of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) announcement speech on Monday, Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted that “Several Dem strategists confess to pangs of concern watching Jeb speech right now.” Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post replied to Haberman, saying that he was hearing the same thing.
These are just the latest examples of the press citing Hilary Clinton aides or unaffiliated Democrats saying the campaign most fears facing Jeb Bush. Maybe it’s true. But pardon our skepticism. We suspect the Clinton camp would welcome Bush as the GOP nominee, and whispered worries to the contrary could very well just be orchestrated noise. Bush would bring the elimination of dynasty as an issue and no generational contrast. Moreover, the Clinton team already knows exactly how they’ll use the Bush 41 and 43 baggage as campaign projectiles.
Earlier this week, we debuted our initial Crystal Ball Electoral College ratings in Politico Magazine . We’ve reprinted that column below for those who did not see it. As promised, we have elaborated on the map and our reasoning for the initial judgments.
For Republicans looking ahead to 2016, Florida is the pivotal state in the Electoral College. Naturally, we can’t know exactly what will happen a year and a half from now, but from our current vantage point, it appears very likely that the GOP must win the state to have a shot at winning 270 or more electoral votes and control of the White House.
Given the state’s importance, particularly to the Republicans, it seems appropriate that the top two contenders for the party’s presidential nomination in the Crystal Ball ’s rankings now hail from the Sunshine State.
The least shocking announcement since… well… Rand Paul’s presidential launch last week is now in the books: Hillary Clinton is running for president.
The perfunctory announcement came Sunday afternoon via a roughly 2.5-minute video, which is clearly targeted at key Democratic constituencies, like women, minorities, gays and lesbians, and labor. Clinton herself doesn’t appear until after the video’s halfway point, and she doesn’t interact with any of the others in the video.
Last week, a Crystal Ball reader sent us an e-mail asking if now would be the time to remove “low name ID nationally” from our list of negatives for possible presidential aspirant Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN). We absolutely agree, given the turmoil surrounding Indiana’s new religious freedom law: There’s little question that name identification is no longer a problem for the Hoosier State governor.
Admit it: You love a juicy scandal. We claim to be high-minded and policy-oriented, but our noses are buried in the accounts of the latest political calamity -- and we read those stories before anything else.
The Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy is just the latest entrée in a decades-long, calorie-rich menu provided by the former first lady and her husband. But will it make a difference in 2016?