For months we’ve argued that Kentucky’s increasing lean toward the Republican Party and the state’s antipathy toward President Barack Obama gave businessman Matt Bevin, the Republican nominee, a generic edge in the open Kentucky gubernatorial race. While Bevin is not a strong candidate, we thought that ultimately those inherent advantages — advantages that have nothing to do with Bevin’s campaign — nonetheless made him a small favorite over state Attorney General Jack Conway (D).
Whatever else it is, the Republican presidential contest has become a full employment act for reporters and analysts. With the largest (though gradually shrinking) field of any major party in U.S. history and a Republican electorate that appears mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore, the GOP caravan is careening down the highway with drivers hurling insults at one another and racing recklessly to get into position for the voting that begins in a little over four months.
The 2012 nomination battle had plenty of ups and downs, too, but this one has become an expensive multi-front contest in record time. With debates drawing massive audiences and stoking the fires at regular intervals, there’s little chance the race will settle down soon.
It was a debate with winners (certainly Carly Fiorina) and losers (sorry, Scott Walker). Mainly, though, the Reagan Rumble reinforced the strengths and weaknesses that voters already associate with each of the candidates. Already, millions tuned in mainly to cheer for their current choice.
Take a deep breath. It won’t help you understand what’s happening in the contest for the presidency, but it won’t hurt either.
By contrast, many media analyses of the state of the race have reached the breathless level. Supposedly, there’s never been anyone like Donald Trump on the political scene. In fact, there’s a long tradition of anti-establishment outsiders making a splash. Conventional wisdom says Hillary Clinton is close to throwing away her second chance at the White House. Actually, while she’s been very unimpressive as a candidate in this cycle, Clinton’s many advantages still make her a strong favorite to be the Democratic standard-bearer (absent an indictment).
Whatever you think of him, Donald Trump is a stick of dynamite thrown into the presidential pond. All the boats have been rocked, and given Trump’s potential for more explosiveness, the political waters show little sign of settling down anytime soon.
Donald Trump is so special that we’ve created a category (and perhaps a word) just for him in our Republican presidential rankings: “The Un-Nominatable Frontrunner.”
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.