Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Election 2016 Handicapping: Bush v. Paul?

They're the front-runners for the GOP's presidential nomination at 13% each, according to a new CNN/ORC poll [hat tip -- Politico, via #sayfie].

What's changed:

- Chris Christie is sinking (he's down to 9%). I predicted this, of course, but it's not like that's a prophetic feat of note. There's only room for one "party establishment" candidate. "BridgeGate" was a chest wound in Christie's presidential aspirations; Bush indicating real interest is the equivalent of La Cosa Nostra sending around a guy to put a .22 in the back of his nascent campaign's head.

- Mike Huckabee, who led the GOP primary polls as recently as a month ago, is fading as the campaigns start to actually crank up -- maybe not officially, but they're burning gasoline and shoe leather and not bothering to keep their intentions secret.

- Paul Ryan is still hanging in there right behind Paul and Bush, but that won't last. No sitting US Representative has been elected to the White House since Garfield, and "I was second fiddle to your last big sacrificial lamb" is not a bankable qualification.

If nothing changes -- and at 2 1/2 years out, all kinds of things can change -- we're probably looking at a Bush/Paul race. If that's the case, it's my considered opinion that Paul's odds are even longer than those his dad faced. The party establishment has had two election cycles to shore up its weak spots against insurgency from the Pauls' direction. State and local party organizations will be locked down tight, the big checkbooks will come out for Bush and the GOP establishment would rather throw the election (if it's not already a lost cause regardless of candidate) than put a loose cannon on the Oval Deck.

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