Thursday, April 24, 2014

Election 2016 Handicapping: Miscellany

Jeb Bush says he's "thinking about it." And I doubt he'd publicly say that if he wasn't leaning toward "yes."

How does that affect the race?

Well, Bush leaning toward "yes" and Bridgegate probably combine to doom Chris Christie's prospects. At the very least it closes some big checkbooks until Bush makes up his mind ... and if it is "yes," those checks will be written to him rather than to Christie. There's only room for one "moderate governor" in the field, and the Bush family hasn't put two of its own in the White House already by being weak fundraisers.

The RealClearPolitics polling average has Bush in a pack of 4 at the top, all clustered within two points of each other: Mike Huckabee followed by Rand Paul followed by Bush followed by Christie.

I don't think Huckabee will throw in. I could be wrong, but for the moment I'm going to assume he'd rather just keep on making good money as a talking head than spend another year plus riding around flyover country in a bus that smells like a locker room, kissing hands and shaking babies again.

Could it come down to Bush versus Paul for the GOP nomination? Yes, it could (and I think Bush would win such a two-way contest).

Of course there's a large rear end of the pack from which some other contender might pull away. And someone new and unexpected might show up on the field. I mean, we're two years out here.

But even two years out, there's another polling average that has to have Republican strategists and possible Republican candidates worried: Even with Democrats in the midterm doldrums, even with ObamaCare dragging its namesake administration down, even with congressional Republicans bringing up Benghazi as often as most people sneeze, Hillary Clinton boasts a lead of 9% or so on any of them.

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