Bush Camp News

According to a new Politico article released today, many of the donors in the Bush camp seem ready to move elsewhere. This does not come as no surprise as Governor Bush has struggled with getting momentum for his campaign. The article seems to suggest that donors are waiting around for New Hampshire to jump ship to the Rubio camp (which is the go to establishment candidate right now). Some of the donors in the Bush camp are in a wait and see mode, which seems to be the best tactic at the moment.

I think it is still premature to be looking for a way out just yet. Governor Bush does have an up hill battle but he still has several factors working in his favor:

  1. Iowa is still three weeks away which is plenty of time to make some ground up on the rest of the pack. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee will be the first to tell you anything can happen in Iowa. Both Santorum and Huckabee won Iowa (Santorum in 2012 and Huckabee in 2008) neither was a heavy favorite and their momentum only came on in the closing weeks leading up to Iowa.
  2. There is still one more debate before the Iowa Caucus. Governor Bush did pretty well in last night’s debate and with a stand out performance in the last debate it could be the kick his campaign needs.
  3. South Carolina quickly approaches and that could be a more favorable environment to Governor Bush and his message. Governor Bush needs to perform strong in either Iowa or New Hampshire to carry onward. Even if Governor Bush cannot win, either a strong second place or maybe even a third place finish could be good enough to keep him in the race.
  4. Governor Bush needs to keep in mind that this is a crowded field and he is in the middle of the pack. Governor Bush is, afterall, a Bush with strong donor base. Governor Bush can afford to play the waiting game more so than some of the other candidates. As others being to suspend their campaigns, Governor Bush needs to court those supporters to his camp.

Without the first vote even being cast in Iowa, Governor Bush should not be in panic mode just yet.

Here is a link to the Politico article: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/jeb-bush-donors-loyalty-217802

Debate Takeaways

Last night was an interesting and fierce debate for the Republicans. With only one debate left before the Iowa Caucus, it was do or die for many of the candidates. Here are some of my thoughts on the debate:

Under Card- Carly Fiorina came away as the clear winner of the under card debate. Mrs. Fiorina took a lot of jabs at Hillary Clinton and even some at Donald Trump. The extended speaking time in the debate really allowed her to get her message out. As I talked about in a previous post, putting Mrs. Fiorina in the under card debate could have been a blessing in the sky for her, as it put the attention on her and the message that she had. Governor Huckabee and Senator Santorum both performed strong in the debate but did not stand out quite like Mrs. Fiorina. The criteria for the last debate has yet to be announced, but Mrs. Fiorina has showed that she deserves to be back at the big stage.

Cruz V Trump- It was only a matter of time before Trump and Cruz had to go after one another and that finally came ahead during the debate. In this head to head match-up, Cruz was the clear victor. Cruz was very prepared for the question regarding the validity of him (Cruz) running for president. Trump to his credit was very blunt about why he was even making it an issue, simply suggesting that Cruz’s rise in the polls made the issue interesting. The stage has now been set as both will go after one another as they fight over the same voting bloc (anti-establishment voters). This power struggle will continue to heat up and will make the last debate that much more interesting.

Rubio v Cruz- Reading a lot of the other news outlets last night and this morning, one of the forgotten highlights of the night was Cruz and Rubio going after one another. Rubio listed eleven different attacks against Senator Cruz. Senator Cruz scrambled to respond to all of the attacks but did not come away as the victor in this argument. Senator Rubio appeared almost as if he had been waiting for the right time to launch into his attack, to which he did in the closing moments of the debate. Senator Cruz who started the debate well had started to waiver after the Trump brush up over the “New York Republican” comment faltered here as well. Senator Cruz seemed a little caught off guard and gave a mild response to the allegations from Senator Rubio but clearly Rubio got the better of Cruz in this scuff up.

Bush- Governor Bush had a strong debate performance with good policy discussion and even came away looking presidential but with that said, Governor Bush seemed to not stay at the forefront of the debate. Had this not been a year in which so many candidates were vying for the nomination, Mr. Bush may have continued to be the front-runner but it seems that Mr. Bush now has become the second choice for the establishment candidate (behind Senator Rubio). The good news is that there is still three weeks till Iowa, one more debate before Iowa, and New Hampshire is shortly afterwards, so there is still time for Governor Bush to make up ground on the rest of the pack.

Carson- Dr. Carson the one time alternative to Donald Trump has seemed to fade away and he does not seem to be gaining any momentum. In this debate, Dr. Carson did well to respond to the questions asked by him of the moderators, but was much an after-thought for the entire debate. Dr. Carson had the least amount of speaking time of the seven candidates and stayed out of the fray for the most part. As I had previously talked about, staying out of the fray was a good thing for Dr. Carson, but the issue is that he did not really set himself apart from the other candidates or explain why he was better suited to serve as president. Dr. Carson needs to set himself apart from the rest of the field in the coming days and needs a standout debate performance in the last debate before Iowa to get back into the thick of things.

Here are who I think are the winners from the debate:

Fiorina- For her strong performance in the under card debate. This I think can help her campaign and keep her in this race.

Rubio- Senator Rubio had a great debate and really picked up some points when he went after Governor Christie as well as Senator Cruz. I would not be surprised to see Senator Rubio make some ground up on Senator Cruz in the Iowa Polls.

Final Notes:

I think Donald Trump did more of the same in the debate. His performance did not help nor hurt his campaign. His voting Bloc seems to be pretty settled and so it will be hard to take voters from him. Mr. Trump did what he needed to do in this debate which was get out alive.

Senator Cruz started out the debate well but took some hits later on in the debate which could hurt him some. Mr. Cruz did not fare well with the “New York Republican” comment that keyed Trump with a prepared response (which got claps from all including Senator Cruz). Senator Cruz was also harmed the exchange with Senator Rubio. It will be interesting to see if this debate has an effect on his poll numbers whether for the good or bad.

The race has started to flare up. With less than three weeks to go before Iowa, this race is still wide open.

Hillary Holds Slim Lead in Iowa

According to a new poll released by The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, Hillary Clinton holds a small two point lead over Bernie Sanders. Ms. Clinton had enjoyed a wide lead for most of the campaign but has recently seen her numbers start to slide in Iowa and New Hampshire. Ms. Clinton has seen her support slipping some which in part can be attributed to the news media keeping issues that arose during her term as Secretary of State (whether it be handling of emails or issues with Benghazi) circulating. Iowa is going to be a tight race and Ms. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are going to have to campaign more than ever if they want to win the Iowa Caucus.

Link to Iowa Poll:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2016/01/14/iowa-poll-clinton-slides-leads-sanders-2-points/78738770/

Trump Increases Lead in GOP

In a new Wall Street Journal/ NBC poll Donald Trump has opened a 13 point lead among likely Republican voters over Ted Cruz. Mr. Trump has defied most established political thought and not only maintained the lead but held on to it. As of late Mr. Trump has been challenged by Mr. Cruz who is leading in some polls in Iowa. Even though the new poll shows Trump with a double digit lead over Cruz, there is still three weeks till Iowa and the GOP race is still wide open.

Republican Debate

Tonight will be the second to the last debate before the Iowa Caucus for the Republicans. As time grows closer, each candidate needs to make their case to the voters.  As previously mentioned in the last blog, every candidate needs a solid performance but now I want to get into more specifics about what I think each candidate needs to do tonight to boost their campaign.

Starting from lowest to highest:

Under Card Debate

Rand Paul- By choosing to sit out the debate, Senator Rand Paul has hurt any momentum he could potentially pick up from a strong debate performance even if it is in the lower card debate. Senator Paul should learn from Mrs. Fiorina and Governor Christie that just because you are put in the lower card debate does not mean you will stay there. Both Mrs. Fiorina and Governor Christie put out strong performances that bumped them into the main stage. The under card debate is also an opportunity to get more speaking time and a strong performance could be just what Senator Paul needed but he has choose to sit it out. It is understood that Senator Paul is not happy with being downgraded to them main debate and his argument has merit to it but his point could have been made even while participating in the debate. Senator Paul is hoping that by sitting out the debate, the next debate will include him on the main stage, but this is a great risk and could harm him more than help him.

Rick Santorum- Senator Santorum has had a rough go this primary season without gaining significant traction in his campaign. If one will recall back in 2012, Senator Santorum won Iowa. Four years later, Mr. Santorum has his work cut out for him if he hopes to do so again. In the under card debate tonight Mr. Santorum needs to continue to rely on his Evangelical and Conservative message that allowed him to win Iowa in 2012. One thing that Mr. Santorum has had difficulty to show this go around, is how he is different from his chief voting bloc rivals, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, which has hurt his campaign. Senator Santorum will have to not only perform well but convince voters as to what makes him different from Governor Huckabee and Senator Cruz to try to boost his campaign.

Mike Huckabee- Governor Huckabee won Iowa in 2008 and had some success in the 2008 campaign. Governor Huckabee, like Senator Santorum, appeals to the Evangelical Conservative voter and should focus on that voting bloc. Governor Huckabee has to set himself apart from the other candidates going after the Evangelical vote and show why he is the most electable of the group.

Carly Fiorina- Mrs. Fiorina finds herself back in the under card debate after fighting her way onto the main stage early in the primary debate season. Mrs. Fiorina needs another strong performance like she did back in August to boost her campaign. The under card debate could be a benefit for her as it gives her more speaking time. One of the issues Mrs. Fiorina had in the main debates was that she would have to insert herself to get speaking time. With an economic background that should be her focus tonight in the debate.

Main Stage Debate

John  Kasich- Governor Kasich has maintained a center approach in his presidential campaign this year which has not gained a lot of momentum. Governor Kasich appeal is to the more moderate and left of center Republicans. Iowa Republicans are very conservative and many of Mr. Kasich center to left of center ideas have not fared well in Iowa. Mr. Kasich may be looking towards New Hampshire where he more aligns with its Republican voting bloc. Even if the governor is looking to New Hampshire, he is still going to need to do moderately well in Iowa to keep the campaign going. Tonight Governor Kasich should continue to focus on his success as Governor of Ohio and talk of his evangelical roots to try to gain some of the conservative bloc.

Chris Christie- Governor Christie has had some decent debate performances but has had a tough time getting into the front runner status. Mr. Christie comes from a tough state for Republicans, New Jersey, and perhaps his moderate status on many issues has been hurtful in this Republican Primary. Mr. Christie needs to stand out tonight from the others on stage to keep his presidential hopes alive. The focus of the debate tonight for Mr. Christe needs to be on his past record as governor and his focus should be to go after Senator Rubio and Governor Bush. If Governor Christie can take some votes away from those directly in front of him, it could be the boost his campaign needs.

Jeb Bush- Governor Bush hasn’t got his campaign off the ground since it launched. Governor Bush has made known that he is not a fan of debates but what he failed to realize was how important it was for him to do well in those early debates. Governor Bush already carries the stigma of the Bush last name which was going to be a great hurdle to overcome. By not doing well in the first few debates and not establishing himself as his own, it harmed his campaign. In the most recent debates Mr. Bush has performed well, but he still has a lot of ground to cover if he wants to get back to a front runner in the Republican Primary. Governor Bush needs to do his best to go after Donald Trump. The Governor should make his case as to why he is the better candidate over Mr. Trump. While it may not drive away that many voters from Mr. Trump it could lure votes from the Rubio and Cruz campaign because it shows that Governor Bush is the better alternative to Mr. Trump.

Ben Carson- Dr. Carson once the alternative to Mr. Trump has now stated to fade towards the back of the pack again. Dr. Carson needs a strong debate performance tonight to get him back into the front of the filed. Dr. Carson should continue to zero in on the fact that he is not a politician which is a strong point for him but he must at the same time show why he fares to be a better candidate than Mr. Trump who boast of the same thing. Dr. Carson has not been one to go after or attack other candidates which he should continue with but in a non-subtle way state his case as to why the votes should choose him.

Marco Rubio- Senator Rubio has made gains as of late in the polls but still has his work cut out for him to get to be the front runner. Mr. Rubio draws his strength as being a front runner of the establishment candidate for the moment. The Senator draws his strength from many of his policy ideas which he should continue with tonight. There have been issues that he has had to address such as financial issues and voting attendance but they don’t appear detrimental to his campaign. Tonight Senator Rubio should continue more of the same as he has done in past debate performances. Going after Senator Cruze and Mr. Trump would not hurt him in the debate tonight but it wouldn’t necessarily help him either. Mr. Rubio needs to think long term for this primary season. While Senator Cruz and Mr. Trump fight over the anti-establishment voters, Mr. Rubio just needs to continue to make his case for the establishment voters and show why he is the one to beat the Democratic nominee in November.

Ted Cruz- Senator Cruz has seen a huge rise in the polls as of late and appears to be leading in Iowa in some polls. Now is the time that Senator Cruz is going to have to go after Mr. Trump to get the anti-establishment votes. While Mr. Trump and Senator Cruz have kept from going after one another, being one and two in the polls, Mr. Cruz has to set himself apart from Mr. Trump. Winning Iowa would be a great for the Cruz camp but they must keep in mind that New Hampshire is next where Mr. Trump holds a huge lead. Senator Cruz needs to perform strong in the debate tonight and show he is more electable than Mr. Trump.

Donald Trump- Mr. Trump continues to stay at the top of polls nationally and is leading or close behind Senator Cruz in Iowa. Mr. Trump has been the front runner for quite some time but is in risk of losing Iowa to Senator Cruz. Mr Trump needs to go after Mr. Cruz to lure the anti-establishment candidates away from his campaign. If Mr. Trump could win in Iowa that could take some of the momentum away from the Cruz camp and would solidify what appears to be a huge lead in New Hampshire. Mr. Trump needs to perform more of the same as he has done in his past debate performances.

Concluding thoughts:

Tonight will be an interesting watch to see who performs well and if anyone flounders. With less than three weeks away from Iowa anything could happen.

 

Debates?

A recent U.S. News article asked do  debates matter? (Source: http://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2015/11/13/do-presidential-debates-matter). The U.S. News is not the first nor will they be the last paper to talk about this issue. Recent memory serves that debates can cause a candidate to rise (Carly Fiorina in this years GOP debate) or fall (Rick Perry in the 2012 GOP primary). The goal of a debate for the candidates should be to just get through it.

When I just mentioned Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry could you recall the events of which I was referring to? My guess would be that many would recall the event of Rick Perry where he could not remember the three branches he wised to eliminate or where he bet Mitt Romney 10k, both of which became the downfall to Rick Perry in his 2012 run for president. In my reference to Carly Fiorina, I was referring to her strong debate performance in the August GOP debate. Fiorina’s strong performance bolted her to the main stage for the next debate. Mrs. Fiorina’s success was short lived and the momentum faded as she has now fallen back into the lower half of the GOP field. These are just two simply examples to show the point that debates matter but they don’t.

Campaigns can get the jolt they need from a strong debate performance and see success in the polls. On the other hand, campaigns can be severely harmed by poor debate performances. Jeb Bush was flat thus far in this years first few debates and his poll numbers reflected accordingly. Mr. Bush has since turned in some fair debate performances but still finds himself in the middle of the GOP field.

As the clear front-runner in the Democratic field, Mrs. Clinton has given solid debate performances so far. Mrs. Clinton’s main rival Bernie Sanders has performed very well in the debates also. Until recently Mrs. Clinton had her focus on the GOP field and went after the GOP field in the debates, but her attention has now turned to focus on Mr. Sanders. Mr. Sanders is closing in on Mrs. Clinton in Iowa and currently is leading her in New Hampshire. With another debate coming up, Mr. Sanders needs to perform well and hope that Mrs. Clinton turns in a poor performance to make some more gains on her.

Overall all, Debates are something that candidates must go through, as it is part of the process in choosing a nominee. As general advice to a candidate, he or she should just get through it without any stumbles to give a solid debate performance (this does not apply to everyone). A solid performance can keep one’s presidential hopes alive but a stumble could cost it.