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

Ranking of the Republican Candidates

Labor Day is the traditional end of summer/start of campaign season so let's take a look at the Republican presidential field as of right now. The situation is very chaotic, with Donald Trump leading all the polls, but no serious observer expects him to win the nomination. For starters, there has been no negative advertising against him, and that won't last forever. The rankings below are subjective, attempting to take into account the polls and other, qualitative, factors (such as the fact that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is focusing much more on the South than on Iowa and New Hampshire). Needless to say, this is just a snapshot and wild guess. Things will surely change in the months ahead.

The strengths and weaknesses of each candidate in the primaries are listed. Note that what is a strength in the primaries may be a weakness in the general election and vice versa. For example, Scott Walker's defeating the unions in Wisconsin will be a real plus in the primaries but would enormously motivate the unions in the general election.

Candidate Advantages in Primaries Disadvantages in Primaries
Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush
  • Probably the most electable candidate
  • Executive experience galore
  • Huge battle-tested field operation
  • Massive party backing and endorsements
  • From the mother of all swing states
  • More money than Uncle Scrooge
  • Weak campaigner
  • Grassroots hates him
  • Wrong positions on immigration & Common Core
  • Is going to have to defend his unpopular brother
  • Married to a Latina
  • Barbara Bush: "We've had enough Bushes"
  • How did he earn his millions in the past 10 years?
Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio
  • American-dream type biography
  • Young and telegenic, sort of like John Kennedy
  • Very charismatic and likable
  • Also from the mother of all swing states
  • First-term senator
  • Something of a lightweight on policy
  • Latino in a Latino-unfriendly party
  • Supported Senate immigration bill before he opposed it
John Kasich
John Kasich
  • Could be establishment fallback if Bush stumbles
  • Twice elected in swing state of Ohio
  • From the Midwest, which could help in Iowa
  • Would win some Democrats in general election
  • Not well known
  • Running on competence not ideology
  • Said St. Peter likes poor people
  • Supported Medicaid expansion in Ohio
  • Supports Common Core
Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz
  • Republican establishment hates him
  • Called Mitch McConnell a liar
  • Tea party darling
  • Young, fiery, and very conservative
  • Surprisingly good at fund raising
  • Excellent speaker and debater
  • Well organized in the South for Super Tuesday
  • Republican establishment hates him
  • First-term senator
  • Masterminded the 2013 government shutdown
  • Maybe too much of a firebrand for some voters
  • Latino in a Latino-unfriendly party
Donald Trump
Donald Trump
  • Loved by "poke-'em-in-the-eye" voters
  • Extremely strong candidate so far
  • Actually created thousands of jobs
  • Can't be bribed by anyone
  • Says things no one else dares to say
  • Sort of endorsed by Sarah Palin
  • Not a politician
  • Would be crushed by Clinton
  • Establishment will do anything to stop him
  • Used to be fairly liberal
  • Not exactly sure where the Middle East is
  • Demeaned John McCain's war record
  • Made sexist remark to Megyn Kelly
  • His hair gets more attention than Hillary's
Scott Walker
Scott Walker
  • Acceptable to all wings of the party
  • Fought and beat the unions
  • Actually governed as a conservative
  • Won three elections in a blue state
  • Uninspiring performer so far
  • New to the national scene
  • Would boost Democratic turnout in the general
  • Failed to create 250,000 jobs as promised
  • Weak on foreign policy
  • Didn't graduate from college; is he too dumb?
  • Has never faced a presidential electorate
Ben Carson
Ben Carson
  • Devoted following
  • Polling amazingly well so far
  • A more polite version of Donald Trump
  • Not a politician
  • Married to the same woman for 40 years
  • Allows racist voters to say they are not racist
  • Gaffe prone
  • He's black in a nearly all white party
  • Never held public office
  • Is unacceptable to establishment
Rand Paul
Rand Paul
  • Could bring in new Republican voters
  • Inherits his father's zealots
  • Dislikes Big Government spying on people
  • Doesn't like wars
  • Doesn't support "Israel good, Arabs bad" policy
  • More of a libertarian than a conservative
  • Was cheered at UC Berkeley
  • Establishment is lukewarm on him
Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina
  • Ran a Fortune 500 company
  • Can attack Clinton without being called sexist
  • Took on liberal icon Barbara Boxer in 2010
  • Self-made multimillionaire
  • Could self fund in the primaries for a while
  • Good knowledge of the issues and good debater
  • Might attract Republican women as anti-Hillary
  • Not a politician
  • Was fired from a Fortune 500 Company
  • Got $20 million severance when fired
  • Was crushed by Barbara Boxer in 2010
Chris Christie
Chris Christie
  • Aggressive character
  • Ran the RGA well; popular with governors
  • Won election twice in a blue state
  • #3 with establishment after Bush and Kasich
  • Would probably bring in some Democrats
  • Polling badly in home state
  • Hugged Obama
  • Last fat President was William Howard Taft; but White House bathtub is bigger now
  • We'll cross that bridge when we come to it--if it is open
Rick Perry
Rick Perry
  • Elected governor of Texas three times
  • Looks intellectual in new glasses
  • Probably smarter than George W. Bush
  • 2012 Oops! moment will follow him to the grave
  • Running a very weak campaign
  • I don't remember the third one
Mike Huckabee
Mike Huckabee
  • Good sense of humor and very likable
  • Ordained Baptist minister
  • Southerner in a party whose base is the South
  • Well known due to 2008 run and Fox show
  • Economic populist
  • As Arkansas governor raised taxes repeatedly
  • Very poor fundraiser
  • Did badly in 2008 against a much weaker field
  • Appeals only to evangelicals
Bobby Jindal
Bobby Jindal
  • Is great at tossing red meat to the base
  • Tons of executive experience
  • Might bring in some minority voters
  • Can perform exorcisms when needed
  • Disastrous SOTU reply in 2009
  • Not a dynamic speaker
  • Indian-American in a nearly all white party
  • Still "Bobby" at 44 (but Bobby Kennedy did it)
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum
  • Been around the track before
  • Won Iowa caucuses in 2012
  • Very strong social conservative
  • Comes from a big blue state
  • Didn't win in a much weaker 2012 field
  • One-trick pony: only social conservatism
  • Tends to lecture people and not likable
Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham
  • Knowledgeable on foreign policy
  • Retired Air Force colonel
  • Talks more about Beghazi than anyone
  • Kind of folksy
  • From the South
  • Base hates him
  • Lifelong bachelor in family values party
  • Short and dresses like a used-car salesman
George Pataki
George Pataki
  • Was elected governor of a blue state three times
  • George Who?
Jim Gilmore
Jim Gilmore
  • Nobody hates him
  • Nobody ever heard of him
  • Lost 2008 Senate race to Mark Warner by 31%
  • British bookies give the ineligible Arnold Schwarzenegger better odds

Clinton Going South

New polls show Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gaining on Hillary Clinton and even leading in New Hampshire. A Marist poll of New Hampshire out yesterday put Sanders at 41%, Hillary Clinton at 32%, and Vice President Joe Biden at 16%. Clinton is preparing for possible losses in Iowa and in New Hampshire by focusing more on South Carolina and the block of Southern states that vote on Super Tuesday (March 1). It is not that she is writing off Iowa and New Hampshire, but she realizes that she might lose them both and needs a plan B. That plan is doing well in the South, where a majority of Democratic primary voters are black. Many polls have shown that among all minority voters Clinton is far more popular than Sanders.

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---The Votemaster
Sep05 Republicans Are Quietly Plotting to Get Rid of Trump
Sep05 Kasich Is Running as a Politician
Sep05 Insiders Think Biden Will Not Run
Sep04 Trump Signs Loyalty Oath
Sep04 Heitkamp May Run for Governor
Sep04 Biden Still on the Fence about Run
Sep03 Nevada and South Carolina Will Be Critical in 2016
Sep03 Republicans Split on Defending Kentucky Clerk
Sep03 Some People Support Trump as a Protest Vote
Sep02 Winning Delegates Is What Counts
Sep02 Fiorina Will Make the Next Main Debate
Sep02 Ben Carson is Now in Second Place Nationally
Aug31 New Map Shows Dates of Primaries and Caucuses
Aug31 Clinton May Have 20% of the Needed Delegates Already
Aug31 Republicans Silent on Ashley Madison
Aug31 Trump May Sign Pledge Not to Run as an Independent
Aug27 First Look at the Senate
Aug25 RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Says Trump is a Net Positive
Aug25 Puerto Ricans Moving to Florida in Large Numbers
Aug25 Biden Must Consider His Family If He Decides to Run
Aug24 Republicans Differ on Birthright Citizenship
Aug24 Paul Can Run for President and Senator Next Year
Aug24 Fiorina May Fail to Make the Cut for the Second Debate
Aug24 Could Google Affect the Election?
Aug20 Could the Birthright Issue Cost the Republicans the Election?
Aug20 Supreme Court: Congress Can't Overule 14th Amendment
Aug20 Selfies Threaten Democracy
Aug18 Hillary Clinton is Rooting for Jeb Bush
Aug18 Birthers Turn on Republicans
Aug17 Trump Would Deport Undocumented Immigrants
Aug17 Ben Carson Won the Main Fox News Republican Debate
Aug14 Bernie vs. Donald
Aug14 Trump Is Actually Building an Organization in Iowa
Aug14 March 1 Is Do or Die Day for Ted Cruz
Aug11 The Republican Presidential Candidates
Aug10 Trump Still Leading the Field
Aug10 Takeaways from the RedState Gathering
Aug07 Trump Trumps the Other Candidates in First Debate
Aug03 Announcement
Aug03 The Democratic Primary
Aug03 The Republican Primary