Why the Electoral College Works

For the 2nd time in 5 elections, the person who did not get the most votes won the Presidential election. With Trump winning the election while looking like he will lose the popular vote by about 1.5% when all the votes are counted. This has some people calling for an end of this system because the “wrong” person won.

First off, it is really unfair to Trump to say that he didn’t really win, he did, fair and square. To judge who ran the better campaign on something other than what determines the winner really makes no sense. Trump clearly had a strategy, which was to take the close swing states and break though the “blue wall” in the Midwest. He could have got more popular votes I am sure with another strategy (of course Clinton could have gotten more popular votes too). The way to become President though is to get 270 Electoral Votes, not a plurality of the popular vote.

I want to go through why the Electoral College works.

#1 The Electoral College makes a candidate appeal to a wide variety of interest.
The United States is a huge country. For any one person to represent all of America really is an impossible task. What the Electoral College does is it forces each candidate to appeal to a wide variety of voters and understand their concerns. Take this election, there were swing states in each region of the country. Both candidates spent a lot of time in New Hampshire, in the Northeast. Same for North Carolina and Florida in the South, Ohio in the Midwest, Nevada in the west. Without the Electoral College, the Democrat would spend almost all of his or her time raking up votes Image result for acela corridorin the ACCELA corridor (Boston to DC) and California. It would make sense to literally fly over most of the country, apart from Detroit and Chicago. The Republican would do the same thing, except in the suburbs of the same cities. People in Appalachia care about Coal, so the candidates are forced to care about their concerns if they are looking for votes in Southeast Ohio or Western Pennsylvania.

Even on the same issue it forces the candidate to consider a variety of perspectives. The view on NAFTA is different in the Rust Best than in the Pacific Northwest. It really helps with people who hold a strong minority interest. For example every candidate takes a position on ethanol subsidies since it matters so much in Iowa. In a pure popular vote campaign, the candidate would never be in a place that cared about the issue.

#2 The Electoral College creates mandates & pinpoints close elections

Donald Trump looks like he will get over 300 Electoral Votes with 47%. Ronald Reagan won 525 Electoral Votes with 59% of the votes in 1984. This helps a President move the country forward and install policy. It makes the country more stable. If what he does not work, he gets the blame for it. At the end of the day, the country votes and that person gets to lead.

If we have a close election, it is really even more useful. The election of 2000 is considered a nightmare election because of how close it was. The election was so close that we really don’t know who actually “won” the election. Of course Democrats claim it was stolen from them, and Republicans claim this is false. The truth is every election counting method has some degree of error, and it is impossible to say for sure who got more votes. The beautiful thing about the Electoral College is that is brought the electoral crisis down to 1 state, Florida. All of the lawyers ended up in the same place because of the Electoral College. The state laws were followed and a winner in the state was declared.

Image result for hanging chadThink of what would happen with a similar scenario if the President was chosen by national popular vote. An election so close would be open to interpretation from precincts all over the country, not just a particular state. There would be no confidence in such a president. Of course this person would win by the narrowest of margins with under 50% of the vote and would be able to do nothing after getting into office. When you look back at 2000, there was a lot of yelling and it went all the way to the Supreme Court, but in the end George W. Bush was able to run the country and the small mandate that was created by the Electoral College was able to help move the divided country forward.

 In Conclusion

The Electoral College is far from perfect. If you really want to select purely on the majority, it is not the best way to go. From the founding of the country though, laws are put into place to protect the minority. The Electoral College fits well into this tradition. It forces the presidential candidates to go places and see people they would not approach without it. It really is beautiful in how it protects the minority and creates mandates. Does this come at the risk of the will of the majority? For sure, but the American system of government bends over backwards to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. I am more than happy we still use it today. For me, coloring in the states on the map and swing states, that is just fun too.

Donald Trump Shocks the World

As the polls closed at about 7PM, I told a friend I thought Clinton had a 94% chance of winning the election. Well as you all know, that did not come to pass. What happened is quite amazing. Basically, the lower class White working class has totally left the Democratic Party and joined the Trump train. This was enough for him to win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and probably win Michigan as well. He won Ohio and Iowa by 9 points! Barack Obama won Iowa by 6 points, thus a 15 point swing. Really the story of the election can be seen here more than any other.

Pick a random rural county in the heartland of America and you will find the same thing over and over, Trump dominated it like has never been done before. Clinton did fine in urban America. Look at Philadelphia, which Obama got 85% in 2012. Clinton got 82%, which is great when you factor in that Obama was the 1st African-American President. I just picked a random rural county in Pennsylvania, Elk. Obama got 41% here in 2012, while Clinton only got 26%. This is how a Republican wins Pennsylvania for the 1st time since 1988.

Who would have thought of a map where Trump wins Wisconsin yet loses Nevada? This phenomenon in Rural America was by far more pronounced in areas of the country with fewer minorities. Now the question becomes do the Democrats fight back for these voters or and they just on pause until the minority groups that support them get larger?

I am happy for a few reasons. First and foremost, we have a better shot of getting better judicial appointments with Donald Trump as President. Many of my fellow Evangelicals held their nose and voted for Trump because of our opinion on Pro-Life issues. I did not  vote from Trump because I did not want to vote for a man who does not value women and has no idea how to run a country, and did not believe the possible pro-life benefits outweighed that.

Second, I am happy the Democracy works. Before everyone voted, just about everyone though Clinton was going to win, myself included. Truth is, the heartland wanted to send a message, and the message is received. People are acting like the world is going to end because a bigot got elected POTUS. It isn’t. People have voted for bad leaders in the past, and the world moves on. The joy of our system is that if Donald Trump is a bad leader, we get to vote again for President in four years, and the other party takes charge. We get to vote for Congress again in two years. If something truly terrible happens, the legislature can impeach him. Trump is just the biggest cog in a giant wheel.

What am I worried about? Mostly my party, the Republican Party. It is now clear that the Republican party is the anti-intellectual party. It is the party of populist misguiding. It is the party where racist and the alt-right have a voice. I used to be proud to be a Republican. I am proud no more. I don’t fit into the Republican party of today. Nor do I fit into the Democratic party. I am a nomad, and I really don’t want to be one of those people voting for 3rd party candidates every 4 years. I voted for Evan McMullian hoping to send a message repudiating Donald Trump and his style of politics, well that message was DOA.

I worry for America, but only slightly compared to those on the left. I hope that Donald Trump starts listening to smart people on the geo-political stage, but I don’t see why he would start now.

It is still hard to process that a Reality TV star is going to be President. I hope that he is a quick learner and leads this country well. I still hold out hope.

Semi Super Saturday

Super Tuesday has come and gone. Donald Trump slightly underperformed expectations, but winning 7 states is a nice way to underperform. Ted Cruz had a nice night, with a solid with in Texas and two impressive wins in Oklahoma and Alaska. Rubio is injured, but survived what was always going to be his hard night. It was an important narrative victory for him winning Minnesota.

On the Democratic race, I am calling this race over. At worst Hillary can great out a win, and best she will rout this one over.

Onto Saturday!

The Louisiana Primary

Louisiana is a closed primary. This is important because you have to be a registered Republican in order to vote in it. The last two cycles, the evangelical candidate won this primary. These things together bode very well for Ted Cruz. Cruz of course won Texas and Oklahoma and did a great job getting a very close second in Arkansas.

There are two major advantages for Trump in Louisiana. For one it is in the Deep South, which is the region where Trump has done the best in. Also, Trump has done very well with low education voters, of which Louisiana certainly fits that mold. If someone wants to know the American politician who is closest to Trump historically, look up Huey Long. Long was from Louisiana.

For Rubio, Louisiana is just a terrible fit. Rubio does best with suburban higher educated voters, not a strength here. His one big advantage is that it is a closed primary, and Rubio is the man of the establishment.

My Prediction- Cruz 37% Trump 34% Rubio 22% Kasich 3%

Delegates (Proportional)- Cruz 19 Trump 17 Rubio 10

 

The Kansas Caucus

The Kansas Caucus is a closed caucus, and really will only draw in the party faithful. I would think of it as a hybrid of the Iowa caucus and the Minnesota caucus. Huckabee dominated the Kansas caucus in 2008 and Santorum dominated in 2012. Kansas is one of the most pro-life states in the nation. Trump has been underperforming in the Midwest. I think this could very well be a distant third for Trump.

Cruz is the favorite in the betting markets for Kansas. I am not so sure he is the winner. I think Rubio will pull this one out because Kansas is a bit more urban that Kansas. It is very similar to Minnesota in my mind. I would not be surprised if Cruz wins Kansas, but I am picking Rubio

My Prediction- Rubio 35% Cruz 33% Trump 21% Kasich 8%

Delegates (Proportional)- Rubio 16 Cruz 15 Trump 9

 

The Kentucky Caucus

Kentucky a great poor, low-information state for Trump. It also has a large cultural evangelical base that Trump does well with. It is a state known to have a higher percentage of racist tendencies, and it is a state with few urban voters. The only thing really going against Trump is that Kentucky is a closed caucus state, meaning that many of the non-traditional Trump supporters will not be able to infuse the vote while not being in the party.

Cruz has an advantage of Kentucky being a very conservative state. Rubio biggest help is probably the influence Mitch McConnell has there, who has not endorsed him but seems to be leaning his way. Nevertheless, I don’t think this means much

My Prediction- Trump 42% Cruz 25% Rubio 22% Kasich 5%

Delegates- Trump 19 Cruz 12 Rubio 10 Kasich 2

 

Maine Caucus

Fun fact: Who won the 2012 Maine Caucus? Mitt Romney, but only by 1% over Ron Paul. I don’t think of Maine as a rural state, but it is the least urban state in the country at only 39%. No public polls for Maine have come out since 2013.

Maine seems to be a state that will run well for Trump and Kasich. I don’t think a Kasich win is out of the question here. He had that narrow miss on Super Tuesday in Vermont. His strength has been the northeast. The downside for him is with less states voting, he has less of an opportunity to fly under the radar.

Rubio should have some appeal, but I think his attacking Trump of late helps Kasich more as looking as the adult in the room. Cruz big advantage is that he is the most Rand Paul like, but really that isn’t worth much

My Prediction- Kasich 30% Trump 28% Rubio 22% Cruz 17%

Delegates- Kasich 8 Trump 6 Rubio 5 Cruz 4

Saturday Results

This would be a fun result if it happened, 4 states, 4 winners. Despite my predictions, my guess is that Trump ends up winning 2 of these, b/c I think Trump is very close with Kasich in Maine and Cruz in Louisiana, thus winning 1 of these along with Kentucky.

There are 155 delegates up on Saturday March 5th. I have it combined: Trump 51 Cruz 50 Rubio 41 Kasich 10. If this is the case, it keeps us marching to a brokered convention. The question is should Trump focus on winning Florida and Ohio, which if he does it is game over, or should he fight all these smaller battles. Will be interesting to watch.

I endorse Marco Rubio

In August last year, I endorsed John Kasich for President of the United States. He is my Governor, a fine man and would make a great President. Sadly for him though, he will not become the President of the United States. Prediction markets show he has about a 1% chance of winning the nomination. Ted Cruz chances are basically the same, around 4%.

Donald Trump is now the clear favorite to win the nomination. His trouncing in the Nevada caucus is very impressive. The Nevada Caucus is one of the worst run caucus, with different start times based upon county and horrible counting methods. It is a field person’s nightmare. Yet, the Donald had his voters turn out strong.

marco-rubio_full_600-e1359174969430I switch my endorsement because Marco Rubio is the only hope left from stopping this terrible candidate from becoming our nominee. Donald Trump shares few of my values and it would be shameful if he was the man we chose to represent us to the world. He claims that he will be strong, yet never tells us how. He says that we are going to make Mexico build the wall, which is absurd. He keeps saying we are going to “take the oil.” He claims to be against Obamacare, but was a former advocate for single payer.

On the issue I care most about, his history is clearly pro-choice. The man claims to be a Christian, but does not act like one at all. He says he has never had to ask for forgiveness. He insults people who disagree with him, shouts them down and publicly shames them. He seems to be sexist, or at minimum has sexist tendencies. He wants to not allow an entire religion into the country. If Trump feels we can shut out Muslims, what about the next guy who wants to shut out Christians. I am just getting started, but I don’t want this whole post to be on my Donald Trump would be the worst nominee in the history of the GOP, and it isn’t even close.

What makes it all the more frustrating is that we have some great qualified men running for President this year, all of which I would be happy to support. I really love John Kasich, great man, great record. I also though am so impressed by Marco Rubio. He is so knowledgeable on foreign policy. He has a great pro-life record. He is principled, yet willing to work with the other side for the betterment of the country. The attacks he gets on comprehensive immigration reform are unwarranted, in my opinion. We want a candidate who bring people into the party, not someone who is going to drive people away.

Right now the GOP base is being led by their fears. This is not the right way to lead. Donald Trump is great at what he does, being a reality TV host and running a “world class” hotel chain. He would be a terrible nominee and a terrible president. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich would make great presidents. Cruz is the most ideological consistent. Kasich is the most electable in November. Rubio nearly as consistent as Cruz, and nearly as electable as Kasich. Trump is the least electable and the least consistent. Rubio has a path, while Cruz and Kasich don’t. The path for Rubio is closing and everyone who is not with Trump needs to get behind Rubio, or his chance will end too. Time is running out.

Super Tuesday Preview: The Alaska Caucus

With Super Tuesday exactly 1 week away, I will be previewing the races in many of the Super Tuesday states. I will focus on the GOP, but there may be some analysis of the Democrats as well. I start with Alaska, which will probably be the least covered of the 12 states voting on that day. Why? Mostly because the caucus will close at 12AM Eastern, since Alaska is one time zone behind Pacific. Also, it is a small state with few delegates (28). Lastly, no campaign is going to waste time going to Alaska, and the time vs the reward is just not there in terms of delegates. Despite this, Alaska is a state and someone is going to get the most votes there and often who “wins” Super Tuesday is judged by who wins the most states. Delegates are really what matters, but don’t tell that to whoever wins the Alaska caucus.

A few things about the caucus. It is a caucus with a primary style vote. People can vote between 3PM and 8PM and are encouraged to participate in the district convention that happens at a later date. What is most important about this caucus? The fact that is considered “closed” which means that you have to be a member of the Republican Party in order to vote in it. Voters are allowed to become a member of the party on the day of the caucus. Still, expect the vast majority of voters to be loyal party member.

Polling in Alaska has been almost nonexistent. There has only been 1 poll this year, taken by the Alaska Dispatch News in late January. The only same I care about is the one of registered republicans, which had the following result: Trump 28%, Cruz 24% Carson 9% Bush 7% Rubio 7% Kasich 2%. When this poll was taken, these were the number nationally: Trump 35% Cruz 19% Rubio 11% Carson 8% Kasich 3%.

Of course a lot has happened since late January, including 3 contest. Nationally Trump and Cruz are at about the same percentage since then, but Rubio and Kasich have moved up as lesser candidates have dropped out. Still, with the independent spirit of Alaska, it feels like a very Trump or Cruz state. I think Cruz will be able to target Alaska with his very conservative message. There is talk of Trump winning all 12 states, and I think Cruz would be wise to invest a little in making sure this does not happen.

Alaska has proportional delegate selection, so I don’t see a big gain either way, but I am going to predict a victory for the Cruz campaign in Alaska. In a state where organization matters, I suspect that the hardcore Cruz support will do more to bring out the vote than the new to the process Trump supporter. I think Rubio will underperform here, and will hope just to break 15%, which is the threshold in order to get any delegates

My Prediction: Cruz 38% Trump 31% Rubio 17% Carson 6% Kasich 6% Others 2%

This gives delegates: Cruz 13 Trump 10 Rubio 5

Cruz’s Delegate Problem

Right now, there are 3 people who have a realistic chance of winning the GOP nomination before the convention. These three are Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. While these contests are going on, delegates are being awarded for the national convention in Cleveland, Ohio. If no candidate gets a majority of the delegates before the convention, the convention will be brokered.  Ted Cruz in particular is going to have a problem getting the delegates he needs in order to win the nomination.

Why? Each state party sets the rules of how delegates are awarded. Some states give all of the delegates to whoever wins the primary, called a “Winner Take All” system. Other states allocate delegates proportionally dependent upon primary/caucus results. Some states have something in between. The problem for Cruz is that most of the states you would expect him to do well in have proportional representation. So if Cruz gets 40% of the votes in these states, he only gets 40% of the delegates in that state.

What I want to do is look at what the delegate count will look like if Trump does well in seven states that matter to him before March 15th, and what the count will look like if Cruz does well in seven states that matter to him.

First let’s look at 7 states for Cruz. I picked states that have a high amount of very conservative voters, with a bias toward states that are bigger, and thus have more delegates.

State # of Delegates Cruz (40%) Trump (30%) Other (30%)
Texas

155

99 20

0

Minnesota

38

16 11

11

Kentucky

46

19 14

13

Louisiana

46

19 14

13

Kansas

40

18 11

11

Georgia

76

42 24

10

North Carolina

72

29 22

21

Total 473 242 (51%) 116 (25%)

79 (17%)

 

So Cruz is only getting 51% of the delegates in the 7 bigger states that I think he has the best shot of winning before March 15th. Most of the southern states with a high number of evangelicals have proportional representation. Cruz really has to start getting 50% of the vote in his best states to rake in the delegates, and I see that as nearly impossible with Trump, Rubio and Kasich in the race, which I don’t see any of the leaving until at least this date, which is why I picked it. These numbers are far from exact, but they do a good job of showing the general idea.

One last point on these states, Cruz must win Texas decisively. Trump said the other day he could take Cruz out by winning Texas, and it is 100% true. There is no way for Cruz to win without a solid win in Texas. Texas has a winner-take-most delegate selection. If the race is close, Trump will surly win many congressional districts and valuable delegates that Cruz needs in order to run up the score

Now let’s look at what I believe are the top 7 states for Trump through March 15th.

State # of Delegates Trump (40%) Cruz (30%) Other (30%)
Illinois

69

69 0

0

Michigan

59

24 18

17

North Carolina

72

29 22

21

Georgia

76

43 23

10

Virginia

49

20 15

14

Tennessee

58

31 18

9

Missouri

52

47 5

0

Total 435 263 (60%) 101 (23%) 71 (16%)

 

So if Trump gets 40% of the vote in these 7 states, he gets 60% of the delegates. Some of these states appear on both list because they are the states where Trump and Cruz will be battling it out as they both have strength there (North Carolina and Georgia). Illinois is an example of foreshadowing that will really hurt Cruz even more past March 15th. Illinois is a winner take all state, where whoever gets the most votes gets 100% of the delegates. Most of the states that are winner-take-all are not the states Cruz that are naturally Cruz voters.

Cruz really needs Marco Rubio to drop out of the race, but Marco really has the better argument to be able to build enough delegates to pass Trump. This does not make intuitive sense because Cruz won a state, while Marco has not. Still due delegate math, Cruz has to perform much better in order to win the nomination than either Trump or Rubio.

Iowa Happened- GOP Report

So yesterday that polling got it wrong. Donald Trump was favored to win by 4.7% according to the RCP polling average of recent polls. Instead, Ted Cruz ended up winning by 3.4%. Marco Rubio showed some momentum late, ending only 1.2% behind Trump and 4.6%. So what happened?

Ted Cruz shows that running a traditional campaign in Iowa still works, in some respects. He did what is known by political insiders as “The full Grassley” travelling to all of Iowa 99 counties. With some counties having so few votes, I personally thought this effort was misguided in 2016. I think he won despite doing this, not because of it. On the other hand, Ted Cruz was not traditional at all. He won while being against ethanol subsidies, which really had been considered a death knell in Iowa. Clearly this was not the case. A famous political saying is “All Politics is Local” by Tip O’Neil. It seems this really isn’t true anymore. He had the popular governor give an anti-endorsement to him and prevailed anyway. Lastly, I want to note how well Cruz got out his voters. They were taking fire everywhere, they knew who their voters were and they got them to the polls, well done

Donald Trump ended up fading a bit in the end here. Still, taking a 20,000 ft view of the Trump campaign, one has to be impressed with him. Donald Trump had no business winning Iowa. The fact that he put himself in a position to win shows he is great with modern media and controlling the media narrative. I believe that he made a major mistake however skipping the final Iowa debate. It was a move that was “too cute by half”, and went against his brand of being the strongman. He goes into New Hampshire as the favorite, but it is no longer a guarantee for him.

Marco Rubio gave a speech last night like him won the Iowa caucus. On one hand, this seems absurd, because he clearly did not win. He has a great reason to act like he did through, because this result basically just the same as a win for him. He did a late storm into Iowa and had the late momentum, as entrance polls showed that late deciders clearly broke Rubio.  He is the clear favorite to win the nomination, and the prediction markets reflect that, giving him a 55% chance to win at the time of writing (Trump 2nd at 26%, Cruz 3rd at 12%). Why this jump? Well, he has effectively position himself as the establishment choice, and the money and party back that comes along with that will be in full force. Still, he is not only an establishment candidate like Bush or even Kasich/Christie. There is really two different visions among the conservative movement, one led by Ted Cruz and the other led by Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio is the center Right candidate, and his two biggest contenders are going to be fighting for votes to the right of him. Rubio is enough to the right himself that this strategy should work wonders.

Ben Carson is a dead man walking, I never understood his campaign. Rand Paul kinda goes back to his libertarian roots, and will draw his small enclave of voters and will not be a factor. The biggest losers in my mind though are Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Chris Christie. Bush and Christie tried to play in Iowa just a touch to look respectful, and they did not. Kasich did not, but the establishment choice has been made before he even had the opportunity. These guys needed Rubio to get no momentum, and that just didn’t happen.

Last I want to note Mike Huckabee, who was a nonfactor this time, but I will always remember being at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Wes Des Moines, Iowa 8 years ago when he won the caucus. I can’t think I will have a better personal political moment in my life, giving him a high 5 right after his victory speech. And thus, like Huck said 8 years ago “I Love Iowa!”

It is December, where are we?

If you would have told me back in August that Donald Trump would still be leading the field in December, I would have been skeptical. The truth is that he still does in fact lead in just about every public opinion poll out there. Still, let me tell you that Trump is not the favorite to win. If you don’t believe me, check out betting markets, where people are putting their hard earned money on who will win the nomination. These are the odds currently at a traditional sportsbook online, bovada:

Rubio +160

Trump 3/1

Cruz 3/1

Bush 10/1

Carson 12/1

Christie 20/1

Kasich 25/1

Fiorina 50/1

Rubio being +160 means that if you bet $100 on Rubio to win, you profit $160. This is slightly better than 3/2 odds. I will go through the contenders and tell you if you should buy, sell, or hold:

Rubio– I think Rubio is a buy at +160. Things are running just so well for him. Bush, as the numbers show, has imploded. Thus he has no competition. Scott Walker, the man closest to him in terms of taking the same voter, is out of the race. Kasich is throwing a Hail Mary in New Hampshire.

Rubio is showing to be a great candidate. He is great at debating, he is fresh with new ideas. He makes a great contrast with Trump. Rubio has for months been playing the slow and steady wins the race game, and it slowly is working. He is setting himself up to peak at the right time. He just came in 2nd in the national Quinnipiac poll released earlier this week. I don’t think winning Iowa and South Carolina is beyond his grasp, and doing so would make the race a lot less crazy then everyone has predicted. Even if he does not though, he will get the establishment to rally around him and can grind out a victory as well.

Trump– Sell Trump at 3/1, but only slightly. I now see way for Trump to win the nomination, albeit slight. He would get to the general election and have no chance of winning. The idea that the GOP would nominate a clown like this guy makes me sad about the party. People in a fury do stupid things though, and looking hard at the number, Trump has the highest floor of any of the guys polling right now, and that means something. I don’t see how he falls below 2nd in New Hampshire and that alone makes him a factor.

Cruz– Cruz is a hold a 3/1. I personally don’t like Cruz, but he could be the alternative to Trump if the radicals in the party won’t eat the dog food of Rubio or more moderate candidates then he. I like Cruz has to win Iowa to really have a shot at winning the nomination.

Bush– I would buy Bush stock at 10/1. Bush clearly has fallen, far. His debate skills are horrible, to say the least. His polling in in the tank. The Bush team still has the most money and that does mean something. Do I think Bush will win? No, but 10/1 is an overreaction. I would say 7 or 8 to 1 would be fair.

Carson– I say sell Carson at 12/1. Carson was always a joke, it just took some serious events for that to become clear to the voters. People thought the same of Trump, but at least he has a pulse. I am sure Carson is a nice man, but he just does not fit the timbre of a President, and that got exposed.

Christie– Buy at 20/1. Christie is getting love in the press, but that is because the press has always loved Chris Christie. His style does work well in the New Hampshire though, and with Kasich and Bush fading, Christie could be the dark horse who vastly over performs expectations when the New Hampshire Primary comes around

Kasich– Buy at 25/1. Kasich is fading, but he still has a pulse in NH. This makes him worth more than 25/1. He is now taking the attack Trump strategy, which will probably fail for him but it is fun to watch. Still, if he can hang around till post-Christmas, the voters may wake up and say, “Really? Trump” and he made be able to pull off a win in New Hampshire

Fiorina– Hold at 50/1. I love Carly, she is tough as nails and a great attack dog. I am sure she would hate to hear this, but she would make a great Vice President. For her presidential aspirations though, I think her moment has passed.

The October GOP Nomination Rankings

#1 Marco Rubio (50%)- Marco Rubio is running a fabulous campaign. He is slowly gaining in all of the early primary states. Nationally Rubio sits at about 10%, in 3rd place behind Trump and Carson. He has had two good debate performances. He is sitting in a great position in particular now that Scott Walker is out of the race. It feel like this race is going to end up being Donald Trump vs. someone. Rubio is poised to be that someone. He is acceptable to both the establishment and the mainstream conservative.

The biggest reason though Rubio goes up though is. . . .

#2 Jeb Bush (25%)- Jeb Bush is running a terrible campaign. Bush is the man with all the built in advantages, and he is kicking it away. I still rate him #2 for his built in advantages only, which are significant. He could still end up being the one. The establishment will rally around someone, and that person should have been Jeb Bush. Instead, it looks more and more likely it will be Marco Rubio. Why does Bush keep saying that his brother “Kept us safe” While true, Bush need to be forward-thinking, not looking back. While most Republicans like G.W. Bush, they don’t want to be reminded of how Jeb and George are linked. Jeb, if he wins, needs to get past his brother. Also, he needs to stop attacking. . .

#3 Donald Trump (10%)- Trump is finally getting some respect from me. I think he has a chance to be the Republican nominee. Why? Trump appears to be ramping up a campaign organization, something that is unsexy yet vital.  The Trump campaign is now getting serious about getting him on the ballot in all states. Also, Trump is aware he needs to tone it down at some point, read this quote:

“I’m running against a lot of people,” he said. “Many are going to be dropping out, I think very soon. If they’re smart, they’re going to be dropping out. Many. Too many people.” 

“When it becomes a different kind of situation, we’ll see I’m going to be much less divisive,”

Being divisive was working great for Trump, but I feel like he has toned it down just a bit even of late. Being self aware like this shows me that Trump has political acumen that I just didn’t think he had in him. It will be interesting to watch for sure.

#4 John Kasich (5%)- Kasich has all his eggs in the NH basket. He needs a big win there, and with Bush falling a bit, I think it hurts Kasich big time b/c Bush will have to build a firewall himself there as opposed to spreading a more balanced campaign.

#5 Ted Cruz (3%)- Cruz just personally annoys the heck out of me. I feel like he is a dweeb. That said, he is trying to set himself up as the Trump implode pick up the pieces candidate. I feel less and less likely Trump will implode, so that is a negative for him. On the positive side I can’t deny he is slowly moving up in the polls himself, much like Rubio

#6 Carly Fiorina (3%)- Carly seems to lose traction between debate times. It is hard to pin down exactly why. I was sad to have to move her to 3%

#7 Ben Carson (2%)- I still have no respect for Ben Carson. I don’t get why he is the clear second choice in the polls right now. He is extremely unqualified for the job of president, even less so that Donald Trump. He says crazy things, just not in a crazy voice. His comments on the tragedy in Oregon were totally tone deaf.

#8 Chris Christie (1%)- Call him the Guns n’ Roses candidate, he is living on a prayer. I know he likes the boss more.

#9 Mike Huckabee (1%)- Huck sticking around to keep his media profile up

#10 Rand Paul (0%)– Rand more than anyone except possibly Rick Perry got torpedoed by Donald Trump.

The Rest- #11 Bobby Jindal, #12 Lindsey Graham, #13 Rick Santorum, #14 George Pataki

I though Jindal may have a shot of becoming relevant, I now that that window has closed.

The September GOP Nomination Rankings

As we flip the calendar to September, the ratings come back.

#1 Marco Rubio-35% (pvs #2)

Marco Rubio sits at 4% in Iowa and New Hampshire. In his home state of Florida, he does only slightly better at 11%, good for a tie for 3rd place. So why the heck do I think he is most likely to get the Republican nomination? Two things. First, he has yet to have a significant pop in his numbers, which Walker already enjoyed in early 2015, Trump is enjoying now. He has shown the political talent that lends me to believe that he will pop at some point.  The second reason is that Rubio has very high favorable/unfavorable ratings. In Iowa, for example, a poll came out today with his net favorable rating at +51.

This favorable rating is the highest of the “typical” politicans. After voters stop dating the crazy business people, they will want a fresh face. That face isn’t Jeb Bush, it is Marco Rubio.

#2 Jeb Bush-33% (pvs #1)

Jeb Bush is having a bad slog. Donald Trump is attacking him like crazy and it is hurting. Bush is the opposite of fresh. He won’t win Iowa. This means that he needs to win New Hampshire. The biggest problem for Bush isn’t Trump, it is John Kasich. Kasich takes up the same lane of voter as Bush, and he is doing it better in NH without the baggage of the Bush name.

How can Bush win? He still has by far the most money, and he has the most endorsements. The establishment is getting beaten around like a rag doll this summer. The thing is, this usually happens. The summer is when the crazies show their love, and then when it gets near voting time, somehow the establishment pick usually wins. If he can be that pick still come voting time, Bush can still very much win.

#3 John Kasich 16% (pvs #4)

John Kasich is running a very nice campaign. What is the case for Kasich? He can be loved by the establishment with some of the flair of the insurgents. The path for Kasich is clear, and that path involves winning in New Hampshire. If he does that, he takes the mantle of the establishment candidate. This basically means that he will face off against whoever the insurgent is come super Tuesday.

#4 Scott Walker 6% (pvs #3)

Scott Walker seemed to be on top of the world early this year. He had a very clear lane, running very much in the center-right of the primary. He took it to the unions in a blue state! He came out last winter and took hold of the lead in Iowa with some great speeches. Then he kinda just faded. At the debate he was a nonfactor. He has to find a way to get a second look from the Iowa voters. He must win Iowa. Being from the Midwest, if he loses, he might as well end his campaign.

#5 Carly Fiorina 3% (pvs #5)

Carly Fiorina got her foot in the door with her debate performance last time. Being a woman, this gives her a unique advantage in the general election of being able to attack Hillary Clinton without being labeled sexist. She need to keep her nose to the grindstone and slowly move up in the polls. Basically, do exactly what she is doing now. By the way, there is no way she misses the CNN debate, despite those terrible rules.

#6 Ted Cruz 2% (pvs #10)

Ted Cruz is a man charging on a horse. He basically has to keep charging and wait for Donald Trump to fall so he can pick up his voters. Trump and Cruz are actually going to be at a rally together in order to protest the Iran deal. I still see it hard for the GOP to make this guy the nominee

#7 Donald Trump 1% (pvs #14)

Donald Trump will not be the nominee of the party. Everyone says he is the frontrunner, but he isn’t. Who has endorsed Donald Trump? Zero Governors, Zero Senators, Zero Congressmen. How much money has Donald Trump raised? Little. How is his organization? Average at best. What Trump is good at is leading right now in the polls. Trump knows how to use free media attention. I have watched several speeches and he clearly is entertaining.

At some point, Trump will stop being the center of attention. When this happens, he will deflate. I used to think it was impossible for Trump to win a primary. He may win a primary or two, but I don’t see him having a serious chance of the nomination. That said, I used to believe that he did not have a serious chance of winning of winning a primary, and now I think he does.

#8 Ben Carson 1% (pvs. 11)

Carson is showing some movement in the polls. His favorable/unfavorable ratings are the highest of any candidate. He is going to lead in some polls in Iowa very soon. Why? Because he still has room to rise since he isn’t known to everyone. He has been building a much better campaign base than his fellow outsider, Trump. Carson’s problem is that he is too low energy. He is riding the wave well now, but I don’t see sustaining power out of him.

#9 Mike Huckabee 1%(pvs #8)

Huckabee had his moment winning the Iowa caucus in 2008. He will have to find that evangelical Iowa magic again, and even that makes him a long shot.

#10 Chris Christie 1%(pvs #6)

At least Huckabee had his moment in 2008. Christie could have had a moment in 2012, but he chose not to run.

#11 Rand Paul 1% (pvs #7)

Paul attacking Trump makes him look like a petulant child. He is dropping accordantly.

#12 Rick Perry 0% (pvs #9)

I believe that Rick Perry will be the first to drop out of the race. The second act of Perry was worse than the first, and that is saying something.

The Rest: Santorum, Jindal, Graham, Pataki, Gilmore

None of these guys are really notable. The only one with even a small amount of upside is Bobby Jindal. The rest are has been or never will be.