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?
Hillary Clinton went before cameras and reporters at the United Nations last week to address the ongoing controversy over her use of a private email system during her time as secretary of state. She was terse, combative, and essentially told the American people to “trust her” when she says that she didn’t do anything wrong and isn’t hiding anything. Clinton’s visceral dislike of the media was obvious and can be summed up by three words (“Go to Hell”), which was how Politico ’s John Harris put it after Clinton’s presser.
The new first tier is Jeb Bush , the former governor of Florida, and Scott Walker , the governor of Wisconsin.
Well, that didn’t last long! By that, we mean our pre-Christmas ordering of the GOP presidential field. We shouldn’t be surprised. Politics never takes a long holiday break anymore.
First prize for early maneuvering goes to Jeb Bush. His unexpected, all-but-in announcement on Dec. 16 stunned his competitors and the political community. Bush didn’t just accelerate the entire process, including forthcoming announcements by rivals, but he also gained a leg up in conventional wisdom’s positioning.
Thank goodness the midterm election is fully behind us so we can focus your attention on the White House sweepstakes of 2016. Oh, we can hear a few spoilsports among you moaning and whining: “Give us a break! Couldn’t you at least wait until after the holidays?” No, we couldn’t. Super-early analysis of future elections is what separates the possessed professionals in our business from the sane amateurs.
It might not have been 1994 or 2010, but 2014 was a wave all its own: A late-breaking surge that lifted Republicans to some surprisingly strong performances across the country.
Notably, though, the argument for this election being a “wave” has more to do with the House and gubernatorial races, as opposed to the main event, the Republican Senate takeover.
The GOP is likely to bump up its House majority to its highest total since the one it held after the 1928 election, netting at least a dozen additional House seats.
As is our longstanding tradition, we at the Crystal Ball attempt to call every election for House, Senate, governor, and in presidential years, the Electoral College. After studying these campaigns for months or years, we believe we owe you our best judgment about the outcomes. While we’re proud of our overall record over the years, we always miss a few calls, sometimes more than a few. Toss-ups are vexing, and the massive amounts of intelligence from polls, analysts, campaign managers, and party officials can be exceptionally contradictory. Not many of our sources have ever attempted to mislead us; they sincerely believe this candidate or that one will win — and smart people on the other side of the aisle are equally convinced their nominees will triumph.
The day after any election (or runoff or recount), when the actual winners are known, it all seems so obvious in retrospect. But of course it isn’t, pre-election. We apologize in advance — and we’ll do it again post-election — for all the races we will inevitably miscall. Our goal is perfection, and we’ll achieve it on the proverbial twelfth of never.