Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1236,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Candidates Announce Third Quarter Fundraising Totals

All of the Republican presidential candidates have now announced their Q3 fundraising totals as follows:

Rank Candidate Q3 $
1 Ben Carson $20.8 million
2 Jeb Bush $13.4 million
3 Ted Cruz $12.4 million
4 Carly Fiorina $6.8 million
5 Marco Rubio $5.7 million
6 John Kasich $4.4 million
7 Chris Christie $4.2 million
8 Donald Trump $3.9 million
9 Rand Paul $2.5 million
10 Mike Huckabee $1.2 million
11 Lindsey Graham $1.1 million
12 Bobby Jindal $0.6 million
13 Rick Santorum $0.4 million
14 George Pataki $0.1 million
14 Jim Gilmore $0.1 million

For Bush, the 100-million-dollar man, this has to be a disappointment and further evidence that his star is not burning as brightly as it was in the Spring. On the other hand, Ben Carson's $20 million is impressive, especially since it undoubtedly all came from small donors. While $20 million is lots and lots of money, historically, it is good, but not unheard of. Looking at historical hauls over the past three cycles, the top Q3 fundraiser in the year before the election was Hillary Clinton in 2007 with $28 million. The top Republican was Mitt Romney in Q3 2007 with $18 million.

The two leading Democrats outpaced all the Republicans last quarter, with Hillary Clinton raising $29.4 million and Bernie Sanders raising $26.2 million. Sanders' haul is especially noteworthy since 77% came from small donors who can donate again. Martin O'Malley raised a disappointing $1.3 million, while Jim Webb totaled an even more disappointing $700,000, and Lincoln Chafee managed $0. He should check the couch cushions for loose change. (V)

Trump and Carson Protest Another Long Debate

The next Republican debate is on Oct. 28 at the University of Colorado at Boulder, one of the most liberal universities in the country. Donald Trump and Ben Carson have threatened to boycott it, but not due to the venue. They don't want it to run more than 2 hours and they definitely want to include opening and closing statements, something the sponsor, CNBC, disagrees with since a short debate with long opening and closing statements cuts into the time available for hard-hitting questions, something the candidates can live without but the ratings cannot. If Trump and Carson were to boycott the debate, it might actually improve the quality of the discussion enormously, making it more like the Democratic debate. However, the last word has not been said yet. Remember, the network broadcasting the debate stands to make something like $300,000 per minute for commercial time and it realizes that without Trump and Carson, it could have a hard time getting enough advertisers. (V)

Republicans Beginning to Agree on a Plan to Replace the ACA

Republicans have opposed the Affordable Care Act, which they derisively labeled "Obamacare," from the start. Once it passed, their mantra has been "repeal and replace." Up to now, however, they have only been interested in the "repeal" part. As the presidential campaign heats up, some of the candidates appear to be coalescing around a plan to replace it. The plans offered by both Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) feature tax credits to help people buy insurance.

The idea behind these proposals is to make the credits depend on age, rather than income. The plans remove the mandate to buy insurance but also allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions if they let their insurance lapse. The plans also reduce the amount of money available for Medicaid, a program that helps poor people get health care. The net effect of the plans is to funnel more money to middle class and wealthy people and much less to poor people. Not only is this consistent with the general Republican view that if people are poor it is because they are lazy and thus don't deserve handouts, but it also increases subsidies for people who might just vote Republican.

In retrospect, the plan is obvious and brilliant from a political standpoint. The "problem" from a Republican perspective isn't that the government is giving away "free stuff," it is that it is giving it to the wrong people. When the "free stuff" is offered to higher-income people as an inducement to vote Republican, it makes perfect sense. It is just surprising no Republican in Congress thought of this years ago. (V)

Sanders Rejects Donation from Price Gouging CEO

The campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has returned a contribution of $2700 from Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli. His company makes the only medicine used to treat a rare parasitic infection. When the company raised the price of the 62-year-old drug from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill, there was a national outcry about drug price gouging. Although the patent has long expired, no company makes a generic version of the drug. From Sanders' point of view, rejecting a small donation from a reviled CEO is an excellent way to get free publicity about his stand on drug-company price gouging. (V)

Castro Officially Endorses Clinton

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro appeared with Hillary Clinton at a rally in San Antonio, where the twin brothers both formally conferred their endorsement on the Democratic frontrunner. Clinton briefly addressed the crowd in English and then Julian Castro addressed them in Spanish, making the argument that she is definitely the candidate for Latinos and she is even more the candidate for Latinas.

Julian Castro is a strong possibility for the second slot on the Democratic ticket—in fact, he is probably the favorite. He would do much to shore up the Latino vote, making it much harder for Republicans to make inroads into the community (especially as a counter to Marco Rubio, who—as a Cuban—is not regarded as a Latino by many Latinos). Further, the possibility that Castro might just deliver Texas for the Democrats has to be tantalizing. That would be a longshot, but not an impossibility—the state had a Democratic governor as recently as the mid-1990s, and Bill Clinton very nearly won the state in 1992 despite being up against a Texan. If Texas did somehow flip, that would be a backbreaker for the Republicans. But that is very, very unlikely. (Z)

Getting Right with Israel

The Nation has a great piece about Israel and its place in the 2016 debates (and elections). The story begins by observing that Israel was mentioned 23 times during the Republican debate, but only once during the Democratic debate (and that solitary mention was by the right-leaning Jim Webb). What is interesting is the reason why. One might think the Republicans were making a play for Jewish voters, but that is not the case (and, indeed, a strong tradition of progressivism in the Jewish community makes them—on the whole—something of a lost cause for the GOP). As it turns out, only three in 10 American Jews feel an attachment to Israel, while more than six in 10 evangelical Christians agree with the statement that "God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people." In other words, in the United States, the average evangelical cares more about the Jewish homeland than the average Jew does (Sheldon Adelson notwithstanding). This is why Israel has become a key issue for Republican candidates, a test—like Roe. v. Wade or gay marriage—of who is a true believer and who is not (Z).

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---The Votemaster
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Oct13 Fringe Candidates Sometimes Pop and Sometimes Fizzle
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Oct12 Another Day, More Speaker Drama
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