Way back at the beginning of August I reported that the presidential election of 2016 was starting to explode early. I described a race where Hillary Clinton had practically locked up the Democratic presidential nomination.
That still holds true today. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where Hillary Clinton is not the 2016 Democratic nominee.
I was equally correct identifying an early surge for Donald Trump. He has grown politically strong while many of his competitors have grown weak.
However, I didn’t see the bombshells coming. I don’t think anyone did.
September 21, 2015 - Scott Walker ended his campaign for the Republican nomination.
September 25, 2015 - John Boehner resigned as Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
October 23, 2015 - Jeb Bush attempts campaign reorganization & slashes budget by 40%.
The Republican Hopefuls
Back in August everyone thought that the serious “Establishment” cohort of Scott Walker, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were the strongest contenders in the Republican primary.
Today Scott Walker is gone and Jeb Bush is on the ropes. People are now writing headlines suggesting that Marco Rubio is “the Republicans’ best hope for the White House”. Oddly this Rubio storyline stands in stark contrast to the actual polling data where he only garners around 8.5% of the vote.
So who is actually winning in the polls? The first time candidates who don’t have a policy record and haven’t held political office are lapping the field. Donald Trump is polling at around 31% with Ben Carson hovering around 23%. Their current combined vote total of 54% strongly suggests that the Republican electorate has abandoned the more traditional Republican “establishment” candidates in favor of looking for something different.
The Bottom Line
The fault lines of the Republican Party could be shifting before our eyes. In the space of a month support for the “Establishment” wing of the party has begun to collapse. Grass roots candidates with “Tea Party” support have sprinted into the lead to control the party. This shift of direction is not confined to Presidential politics and the electoral realm. Rather, the pressure being applied has also forced the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and has called into question the Republicans’ ability to govern.
Will Hillary trump Donald? [and other 2016 predictions]
- Hillary Clinton should be considered the strong favorite to be the next President of the United States. Democrats have a built in Electoral College advantage. Of equal importance, issues important to the Republican base hurt the party with general election voters. Hillary will be the Democratic nominee. She will trump Donald if he becomes the standard bearer for Republicans.
- Republicans continue to hold a structural advantage for control of the US House of Representatives. Republicans will retain control of the House in 2016 and beyond.
- Control of the Senate is a toss-up. It really is too close to call. While Republicans have the advantage there is a chance that Democrats can benefit from two things - a good electoral map in 2016 and a strong showing from their presidential nominee. However, right now I think Republicans hold and keep control of the US Senate with a razor thin margin.
One thing that is certain. Regardless of your political persuasion, 2016 is going to be an epic barn burner for anyone interested in politics. We here at ERA are getting geared up for the action.