Tag Archives: Cruz

Republicans Have No Ethics Ever, Proven

There may be a few individuals who are not in politics who have some ethics who still call themselves Republicans. One such person, a friend of mine for whom I have great respect, sent me an email the other day apologizing. For the whole Trump and Republican thing.

But at the professional level, there isn’t a single Republican out there that is unwilling to stick his slimy nose right up the ass of whichever other Republican happens to be top dog at the moment, putting their own self interest ahead of the nation, of governing, of the people, even of their own families.

As proven by events of the last 48 hours.

Step away from the hot cup of coffee and have a look:

So, does this mean that Ted Cruz’s father actually did shoot JFK?

19% of Sanders supporters would throw Clinton under the bus

A new poll (March 24th) by Monmouth University says, “Among Democrats who support Bernie Sanders for their partyโ€™s nomination, 78% say they would vote for Clinton over Trump in November, while 12% would actually vote for Trump and 7% would not vote at all.”

The Republicans have a similar problem, where “two-thirds (68%) of voters who back Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination say they would vote for Trump in November, while 13% would vote for Clinton and 10% would not vote. Among Republicans who back John Kasich, just 50% would vote for Trump and 19% would vote for Clinton, with 22% saying they would sit out the general election.”

It is still early to attribute much meaning to such polls, but the question of the “Bernie or Bust factor has been raised, with those who don’t like to think it may be true demanding evidence, those who fear it is true somewhat exaggerating its effect.

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h2>Clinton would beat Trump

According to the same poll, “[i]n a hypothetical head-to-head race, Clinton has a putative 10 point lead โ€“ 48% to 38% for Trump. While Clinton gets the support of 89% of self described Democrats โ€“ a fairly typical partisan support level at this stage of the race โ€“ Trump can only claim the support of 73% of Republicans.”

Clinton would also beat Cruz, but Kasich would beat Clinton.

It is still early to attribute much meaning to such polls, but the question of the “Bernie or Bust factor has been raised, with those who don’t like to think it may be true demanding evidence, those who fear it is true somewhat exaggerating its effect.

Hat Tip: Doug Alder.

Who won the New Hampshire primary?

At about 9 PM eastern, with 90% of the votes counted in the Democratic primary, Sanders is showing a strong win. He is currently at about 60%, while Clinton is at 38%. That gap is significantly larger than what I had intuitively established at the cutoff for a Sanders “lower than expectation loss.” So, congratulations Bernie Sanders! If those numbers hold, that is a decisive win.

(A lot of Sanders supporters were crowing about a 20% lead in the polls, which seemed kind of extreme at the time. They may end up being proven right!)

In the Republican primary, with about 90% reporting, Donald Trump has been declared the winner, with 35% of the vote.

Kasich is being declared second, with 16%

Then we have Cruz (11.6%), Bush (11.1%), Rubio (10.5%), and Christie (7.5%) followed by Fiorina and Carson (insignificant).

Note that the gaps between the third and lower candidates is so small that the sum of “write in” and lower level candidates that could not possibly have won is enough to have allowed for a strategic repositioning of second or third place.

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary

I wrote about what I thought might happen in the New Hampshire primary a few days ago, but enough new stuff has happened to make it worth revisiting.

Who will win the New Hampshire GOP Primary?

And, perhaps more important, who will come in second, third, and fourth?

We know that Donald Trump will win the New Hampshire primary. Polls show him up far above the other candidates, he has been on a modest upward trend since the beginning of the year, and the most recent polls show an abrupt upward swing. He now stands at about 17% above the second place candidates.

New Hampshire seems to like Rubio and Cruz to about equal amounts, but has been showing a preference for the up and coming Rubio over the last week or so. But, Rubio’s performance in the GOP debate is widely seen as abysmal, even embarrassing. The most recent polls seem to show a drop in Rubio’s share since the debate. It looks like nothing more than a squiggle of the magnitude one expects in such polls, especially with so many candidates, but given the debate, it is quite possible that his support is rapidly declining.

So, even though Rubio’s average poll rating over the last several days suggests he is a weak second place contender, I’m going to predict that he does not come in second place. I suspect Kasich and Cruz are tied for that honor, but Cruz has consistently polled ahead of Kasich, and seems to be preferred over other candidates, even Trump, in head to head polls among many New Hampshire voters. In other words, when supporters of Rubio, Kasich, Bush, Christie, and everybody else have their candidates taken away in a hypothetical, they break for Cruz, not Trump.

For this reason, I’m going to predict that Cruz will come in second. The amount of damage suffered by Rubio will determine if he comes in third, or possibly fourth behind Kasich. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, at least until tomorrow night when we find out what actually happened!

Who will win the New Hampshire Democratic Primary?

All the numbers suggest that Sanders will win in New Hampshire, so that is pretty much settled. The question is, by how much. Sanders’ lead over clinton has been steadily increasing in the Granite State since mid January, and it was starting to look like he could be way ahead of Clinton. But, as is the case with the GOP race, the last few days has shown a narrowing between the two candidates. The last few polls have them between 17 and 13 points or so apart, with the gap closing.

While everybody thinks their own candidate nailed the New Hampshire debate, the fact is that Clinton may have faired better, or Sanders worse. Sanders produced at least to really bad answers on foreign policy, and Clinton parried questions that has been raised about her fairly effectively. New Hampshire voters tend to keep themselves open until fairly late in the game, it is said, and these factors may influence the outcome.

If the gap closes to 10% or less, that is bad news for the Sanders campaign and good news for the Clinton campaign. If the gap ends up being around 13% plus or minus a few, then the message being sent by New Hampshire would be similar to that sent by Iowa: “You Democrats have two roughly equal candidates, carry on!” If the gap re-widens to beyond 15%, the there is evidence of a Sanders surge. If one take Iowa’s message as also meaning “Sanders, previously low in polling, rose quite a bit before the caucus” and New Hampshire says something similar, then that would be a very strong message in favor of Sanders.

(We do not expect equal numbers in New Hampshire because of the modest favorite son effect.)

Stay Tuned.

Lessons from the Iowa Caucus

Increasingly, I feel the need to declare my position on the candidates before commenting on the process, because, increasingly, the conversation has become one of comparative litmus tests. So, here’s the deal on that: I like Clinton and Sanders both, and I like each of them for both overlapping and different reasons. As a life long Democrat I’m glad to see such good candidates running. I will decide whom to support in the Minnesota Caucus some time after I walk into the building, most likely. Then, later, I will decide which candidate, if any, I might work for during the time between our caucus and the convention, though most likely it will be neither. I don’t have a lot of money to donate to anything, but so far I have split my financial support evenly. After the convention (or a bit before if there is a clear winner a priori) I will do everything I can to move the chosen candidate into the White House, while at the same time working on my Congressional District and state wide races or issues.

The first thing we learned from the Iowa Caucus is that Bernie Sanders is a viable candidate who can win. I didn’t doubt that before, but his showing in Iowa, a statistical tie, demonstrates this. This is not really too important in the big picture, partly because it simply reifies what was already known, and partly because Iowa (and New Hampshire) provide only a part of information needed to think strategically about the process. The way things are set up, we really won’t know until Super Tuesday, I think, how the two candidates stand. South Carolina may tell us something about the alleged demographic disconnect that favors Clinton over Sanders, and Nevada may show us if Unions matter in this election, and who they matter to. But from that perspective (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada) it will be very difficult to predict Super Tuesday’s outcome.

But, here’s the thing: Bernie supporters who have shown a great deal of angst and jitteriness, to the point of sometimes acting inappropriately for a Primary, can relax a bit now. Your candidate is for real, we all know this. And best of luck to you and to us all.

At the same time, Clinton supporters who may have viewed Bernie as an anomalous inviable insurgent now know that isn’t true. This should have been obvious all along, but for the doubters, stop doubting.

The second lesson is a bit more complex. On one hand, Clinton should have done better in Iowa, given the demographic match up. This puts Clinton on notice. Every campaign is like a herd of bison moving across the plains, with each bison being unique and likely to go in any of several directions. The efficient campaign tends to ignore the bison that are going in the “right” direction (for that campaign) and focus on those that seem likely to stray. I think Iowa demonstrates that some of Clinton’s bison need to have a good talking to.

On the other hand, the Sanders campaign makes the point that the #FeelTheBern surge will not only carry Sanders past the demographic disconnects he faces, but that it will sprout a long and stable coat tail to bring Congress with him. Did going from an obscure(ish) Senator from an obscure(ish) state to nearly besting The Anointed One (for good reason) in Iowa constitute a Bern-Surge? Or was it not enough? The turnout in Iowa was pretty good, but it was not Obama-esque. To the extent that Obama’s 2008 campaign is a model for a 2016 Sanders campaign, something is lacking here. This may or may not be important.

One test of the surgosity of the Sanders campaign may be South Carolina and Nevada. He is unlikely to win in South Carolina and Nevada is obscure. But if he does way better than expectations, that might mean that the surge if getting fueled (by itself, as surges do). I suppose New Hampshire could also be an indicator. Sanders will likely win that state. Not because New Hampshire and Vermont are clones — they are very different. But because among Democrats, Sanders will be seen as something of a favorite son. (New Hampshire and Vermont share a long border, but most cross-state interconnections, I think, are: Vermont-Update NY, and Vermont-Berkshires/Pioneer Valley, MA; and New Hampshire-Greater Boston Areas.) In any event, if Sanders does better than X percent over Clinton in New Hampshire, that could be a post-Iowa surge-fueling effect. X is probably around 12% .

On the Republican side, there are more lessons than I want or need to discuss, but I’ll mention two. First, as per this item, no matter how out of the box some of this year’s campaigns seem to be (i.e., Trump’s celebrity approach), the political process is a real, living entity that can’t be ignored. Trump risks loss for doing so.

See: Dark Money by Jane Mayer

The other major lesson, I think, is that the field is now much smaller than it used to be. I’m not sure if any of the bottom tier candidates can recover, however, New Hampshire might bring one or two back into the race. But right now, it is looking like Trump-Cruz-Rubio. I’ve seen some convincing commentary that Cruz is actually not viable long term. I don’t know if I believe that, even if I can hope it to be so. So, the Trump Will Burn Out theory says that Rubio is the GOP nominee, and based on overall patterns, likely the next President unless the Democrats pull their heads out of each other’s butts and start focusing on the end game. I suppose it could be worse.

Who Will Win The Iowa Caucus?

The answer: One Republican and One Democrat/Independent.

The Iowa Caucus is pretty much up for grabs in both parties. Over recent days, a clear Trump lead has been erased, and Cruz is now ahead in recent polls. Over roughly the same period, a clear Clinton lead has been erased, and Sanders is now ahead in recent polls.

FiveThirtyEight (Nate Silver) is still predicting a Clinton victory for the Dems, but a Cruz victory for the GOPs. The Clinton victory prediction is of high confidence, while the Cruz prediction is not, and Trump is close behind.

One way to look at the polls is to track changes and put a lot of faith in the most recent information. Another way is to use as much data as seems relevant (even looking outside polls) and assume that this gives a better prediction, and go with that. The latter is the method used by FiveThirtyEight. So, Nate Silver’s method will be a big winner if Clinton and Cruze cinch the Caucus, but not so much if Sanders sandbags Hillary and Trump trumps Cruz.

People put a lot of significance on the Iowa Caucus because it is the first real contest among candidates. But then, after the caucus has become history, they are less likely to care too much about it. How important is it as a predictor of the outcome of the entire primary season?

That depends on the party.

Barack Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter and George McGovern all won the Iowa caucus (or came in above the other candidates) and went on to be the Democratic Party nominee. Dick Gephardt and Tom Harkin also won the caucus, but did not become the nominee. One might say that the Iowa Caucus predicts the nominee pretty well for Democrats.

Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, and George W. Bush all beat the other contenders and went on to get the nomination. But most of the time, the Iowa Caucus was either won by an unopposed Republican (so we can’t count those years in assessing its significance) or was won by a candidate other than the eventual nominee (such as Rick Santorum in 2012, Mike Huckabee in 2008, and Bob Dole in 1988). Overall, the Iowa Caucus means little in the Republican Party, if we go on history, especially in recent years.

Despite FiveThirtyEight’s claims, based on a good analysis of hefty data, I’m going to say that there has been too much flux in the polling numbers to call the caucus at this stage, just over a week prior.