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

Has Donald Trump Exposed a Fault Line Between the Elites and the People?

An interesting piece in The Week claims that Donald Trump has exposed a huge divide between the elites in the United States and ordinary people. The elite view, which covers most centrist politicians, can be described as somewhat economically conservative and somewhat socially liberal. None of them wants class warfare and it's a rare politician of either party (including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) who yells "soak the rich" from the rooftops. On the other hand, social views tend to be liberalish or at least live-and-let-live. Now Republicans often campaign against perceived social evils, but once in office they conveniently forget what they are against. The classic example is George W. Bush getting reelected in 2004 by running against illegal immigrants, abortions and same-sex marriage, but as soon as he won he began a big campaign to privatize Social Security, forgetting all about the social issues. Probably he (and certainly his funders) were actually reasonably satisfied with the status quo on the social front and didn't want to really change it.

Now in marches Donald Trump who wants to raise taxes on the rich and kick out immigrants—just the opposite of what the elites want. He is a lukewarm economic liberal and a social conservative. What galls the elites is that he is getting traction by turning the conventional wisdom on its head. The elites are (sort of) economically conservative and socially liberal while Trump is (sort of) economically liberal and socially conservative. Because he doesn't need any money from the elites, he can ignore their views and say what he wants to, even if it is the opposite of what they want.

New CNN/ORC Poll Puts Trump above 30%

Whatever Trump is doing, it seems to be woking—for the time being, at least. A new CNN/ORC poll released yesterday shows Trump increasing his lead nationally among registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Here are the top 11. All the rest are at 1% or less. The results of this poll are given in the third column below. The other columns will be discussed below.

Rank Candidate CNN/ORC Average Movement
1 Donald Trump 32% 24% +8%
2 Ben Carson 19% 9% +10%
3 Jeb Bush 9% 12% -3%
4 Ted Cruz 7% 6% +1%
5 Mike Huckabee 5% 6% -1%
5 Scott Walker 5% 9% -4%
7 Carly Fiorina 3% 2% +1%
7 Rand Paul 3% 5% -2%
7 Marco Rubio 3% 6% -3%
10 Christie 2% 3% -1%
10 Kasich 2% 3% -1%

What's wrong with this picture? (Hint: All the candidates who are acceptable to the Republican leadership, namely, Bush, Walker, Rubio, Christie, and Kasich are in single digits). If this madness goes on much longer, we're going to see a serious attempt on the part of the establishment to take down Trump and Carson. Can you imagine Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) supporting a Trump/Carson ticket? It boggles the mind.

Even worse is that the combined score of the five acceptable candidates is only 21%, barely more than Carson's 19%. This can't be read as anything other than a rejection of the Republican leadership. Of course the Iowa caucuses are 5 months away and a lot can—and will—change between now and then.

Speculation is already beginning about who is going to drop out first. Likely dropouts include the following. Rick Perry is out of money, despite all his contacts with Texas oil millionaires. They apparent don't think he has a chance, which means he doesn't have a chance. In 2012, he looked like the sheriff who rode into town and saved it from the imposters who had taken it over (Herman Cain, Michele Bachman, Newt Gingrich, etc.). Then he couldn't count to three on television. Not all Presidents have been geniuses, but you have to be able to count to three.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) might be able to scrounge up a few votes in his home state of South Carolina, but he probably won't make it that far. He has no natural constituency and should never have entered the race in the first place.

Rick Santorum won Iowa last time and was the last man standing before Romney won it in 2012 so normally he would be the nominee as the next in line. But he is polling at 1%. Too much competition this time. Bye Rick.

Bobby Jindal once called the Republicans the "stupid party." It wasn't well received but his problem is more his miserable response to Obama's State-of-the-Union speech in 2009. In baseball, you get three strikes. In politics you get one strike and he has two.

George Pataki somehow thought the rest of the country is like New York. It can happen. Rudy Giuliani thought so, too. Guess what? It's not.

Jim Gilmore's best strategy is to just go about his normal business and not announce he has dropped out. Nobody will notice.

CNN Announces Debate Participants

CNN has now announced the participants in the second Republican debate, to be held Sept. 16 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, which is about midway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The list is exactly the top 11 shown in the table above. CNN averaged all the major polls over the past two months so it is something of a coincidence that averaging produced the same list as its own poll released yesterday. The polls averaged by CNN are given in the fourth column in the table above and the difference between the CNN average and yesterday's poll is given in the fifth column. This indicates movement from the average position during the past 2 months and this week.

From that data we can see that four candidates (Trump, Carson, Cruz, and Fiorina) are rising and the rest are falling. All of the rising candidates are outsiders. Of course, Ted Cruz is a sitting U.S. senator, but he is widely despised by both parties for his antics both on and off the floor of the Senate. He is about as far outside as an insider can get.

Assuming the internal polls conducted by the Republican National Committee are more-or-less the same as the public ones shown above, there is probably a lot of head scratching going on there. What do you do when none of the four candidates who are rising are even slightly acceptable, albeit for different reasons? Trump is a loose cannon who will drive Latinos to the polls in unprecedented numbers and they will all vote for the Democrat. Carson is a nice man but he lives in Lala land and has no conception of politics or even reality. Cruz is an extremely smart and shrewd politician, but he is so far to the right that he will scare all the independents. Finally, Fiorina is smart and conventional (and a woman!) but has a miserable track record the Democrats will tear to ribbons. Fortunately for RNC chairman Reince Priebus, there is plenty of time and money between now and Iowa to try to shake things up a bit.

Biden Drops a Hint that He May Not Run

Vice President Joe Biden appeared on Stephen Colbert's show last night and repeatedly said that a successful candidate for President has to be willing to give 110%. Since the death of his son in May, he and his wife have been mourning and he might not be up to a race. He did say, however, if Colbert runs for President again (as he did in 2008), Biden said he would sign up as Vice President. All the Vice President has to do is call the White House at 7 A.M. every day to see if the President is still alive. If so, he can take the day off.

It is hard to read the tea leaves on Biden, but he has generally been a straight shooter his whole life. He is also enough of a political pro to know that you can't go on national television one day and announce you are not sure you have the stomach for a presidential run and a week later say your gastroenterologist has said your stomach is fine and you can run. At this point, he probably really doesn't know what he wants to do.

Sanders Addresses the Congressional Black Caucus

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) clearly understands that his fate as a viable candidate will not be determined in Iowa or New Hampshire, both of which he has a decent chance of winning, but in South Carolina (and to some extent in Nevada). His supporters are largely white liberals but to actually win the nomination, he has to take a large chunk of the black vote from Hillary Clinton, who is very popular in the black community. Sanders' first test will come in South Carolina, where half the voters in the Democratic primary are black. To meet that challenge, yesterday Sanders addressed the Congressional Black Caucus. He spoke about issues of great concern to them, including criminal justice reform, income inequality, and systemic problems facing minority communities. It remains to be seen if Sanders can pull this off. So far a dozen members of the caucus have endorsed Hillary Clinton and no members have endorsed him.

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---The Votemaster
Sep10 The Sheldon Adelson Primary Is in Full Swing
Sep10 Blue-State Republicans Matter
Sep10 Trump is Not At All Like Perot
Sep10 Bush Follows Trump on Taxes
Sep09 Can a Disorganized Party with 17 Candidates Beat an Incumbent Party?
Sep09 Huckabee and Cruz Rush to Meet Kim Davis
Sep09 Clinton Apologizes for Using a Private Email Server
Sep07 Ranking of the Republican Candidates
Sep07 Clinton Going South
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