On the GOP side, Donald Trump’s standing doesn’t seem to ever recede – maybe in individual states – but nationally he holds steady. Right now, the Real Clear Politics average shows him at 31 percent, and Cruz at 19. On the other side, Hillary Clinton is strong, nationally, at 59 percent with Bernie Sanders at 34. We know that in Iowa and New Hampshire Sanders is strong and could win both of those states supposedly sending the Democrats into a reminder that Hillary was way ahead in 2008 but faded to a fast-rising Barrack Obama.
What’s gonna happen? I have no clue. My best guess is this:
On the Democratic side, Sanders wins New Hampshire for sure and will show strong in Iowa even if he doesn’t win. He will set the media into high gear of “he’s on the move,” “she’s in trouble,” “shocker on the Democratic side.” My guess is that he will fade as the campaign moves south where Sanders doesn’t do as well as the voters diversify and Hillary will come back to win in spite of the fact even many who will vote for her will hold their noses. On the R side, Cruz should win Iowa and, if he doesn’t, that will set the GOP world on fire. Trump likely wins New Hampshire, but until we hear what happens in Iowa, I’m not laying any money down.
I do think on the GOP side there will be some buyers’ remorse even before Iowa results come in. While anti-Trump stuff has had little effect so far, The Washington Post has a story this morning -- https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/trumps-bad-bet-how-too-much-debt-drove-his-biggest-casino-aground/2016/01/18/f67cedc2-9ac8-11e5-8917-653b65c809eb_story.html -- laying out Trump’s record on his investments in Atlantic City. He, in an interview for that story, does as he always does –threatened the Post with a lawsuit if they published it. The story is loaded with attribution and relies heavily on public government and court documents to make its case that Trump wasn’t as good a businessman as he claims and while he can say “he made money,” the way he did is questionable – like when he asked his dad for help and then his dad traded millions of dollars for gambling chips at a Trump casino, which Trump then used to bail out his finances on the casino. Illegal? Probably not. But not straightforward either.
He also made all the claims then that he makes now – that he’s a great negotiator, that he’s smart and that he’s rich and threatened folks then with lawsuits too if they didn’t stop telling the truth about him (well, he didn’t put it that way, but that’s the fact). The same tactics he uses today. Oh, and remember when he said a few weeks ago that he had actual proposals coming out “next week?” I must have missed them.
How long before voters get the joke? I don’t know but I have faith that they will. Plus, if you add his polled vote with Cruz’, it totals 50 percent. This will never happen but if the “others” in the race decided to get behind one of their competitors, that person would be in the lead. While that won’t happen, the winnowing process should get us there sooner than later. Does Rubio have the staying power to be that one person? Will Jeb’s money and financial backers stay with him long enough so it can be him?
Plus, look at Politico today, or click here http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/2016-gop-primary-crazier-than-you-think-213542 and read Ben Ginsberg – one of The Experts on primaries in the GOP – who lays out the timing and expectations of how the process works, not how it will play out, but the mechanics which affect the voting. It’s more complicated than you think and it’s not automatic that anyone wins sufficient delegates to win the nomination outright.
In other words, the game starts when Iowa votes, not before. And the dynamics in four weeks won’t be the same dynamic as today. My guess is eventually Hillary wins her coronation, uh, nomination on the D side and we see someone like Jeb or Marco or Christie on the GOP side. Cruz, who, as Trump says, is widely disliked by his colleagues, cannot win in November. Christie wears thin, at least on me. Stop yelling Chris! This isn’t New Jersey or an episode of The Sopranos. And Marco is very green and looks it. Jeb is not a good performer on the campaign trail and the odds are against him, but he’s still the adult on the GOP side who has actual ideas and is conducting himself (mostly) maturely on the trail.