LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26, 2015—In the 2016 presidential field, which Republicans are circling the drain? And which one of the remaining 15 will be next to wash away? The top candidate’s performances in Wednesday’s debate will no doubt dictate who gets flushed, but some may not survive through Wednesday.
Dr. Ben Carson suspended all campaign events for a two-week book tour, which apparently has not hurt him. He and Trump are the clear frontrunners, and according to the latest polls, Dr. Carson is edging out Trump in Iowa.
A Monday Monmouth University poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers shows Carson is leading Trump 32 percent to 18 percent among likely Republican Iowa voters. In the same poll conducted in August, the two were tied at 23 percent. Last week’s Quinnipiac poll had Carson leading Trump 28 to 20 points. Another Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll put Carson ahead 28 to 19 points.
Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were the only other two Republican candidates who polled in double digits in the Monmouth poll; so despite the Trump and Carson trains, these two candidates are more than viable not just in fundraising, but in grassroots support.
Frankly, the Republican frontrunners are showing more diversity and interest than the old, white and hackneyed Democratic candidates. With further plunging, Republicans may finally have a competitive field to choose from.
The rumor mill is churning about the possibility that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may be the next one to make his way down the disposal. Now yesterday’s rumor is quickly morphing into today’s reality. Rebecca Berg of Real Clear Politics reports, “Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign announced Friday it will drastically cut staff salaries and shift resources from its Miami headquarters to key early voting states, the latest sign of trouble for the onetime frontrunner in the Republican primary.”
Since the Bush campaign did a gotcha plant on Donald Trump with staffer Lauren Batchelder at the No Labels Problem Solver Convention in early October, Bush donors are apparently nervous, and new campaign money is not manifesting. Both Trump and Carson are beating Bush handily in new campaign revenue. Trump is not even asking for outside funding, but is getting it anyway from enthusiastic supporters.
Bush’s lackluster demeanor is evident in every interview he gives, despite the protestations that come from his mouth that he is invested in his campaign and the best choice to be president. His latest appearance at the Presidential Town Hall series only confirmed suspicions that the “joyful tortoise” is really an unhappy lizard. “I got a lot of really cool things that I could do other than sit around being miserable listening to other people demonize me, and me being compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.”
Ummm ‘kay. Not exactly presidential or confidence-building; but should rumors and reporting prove true, those may be a moot point.
We have not heard much from Carly Fiorina, and the poll increase from her September debate performance seems to have waned. She needs to do something to get herself back into the spotlight or be relegated to the flash-in-the-pan female candidate who almost did. Here is Caitlin Huey-Burns’ assessment:
A handful of recent national polls show Fiorina’s post-debate bump has faded, while candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson have maintained, and in some cases, increased, their leads. What’s more, another competitor, Marco Rubio, continues to rise.
The next debate offers the former Hewlett-Package CEO a chance to regain her stride. But her greater challenge is to better capitalize on that performance and prove her campaign is more than a series of bright but ephemeral moments on the grand stage.
A Fiorina-Clinton matchup would be the most interesting in my book; but sad to say, the odds are not in her favor.
Sen. Rand Paul has been disavowed by one of his biggest supporters: Erick Erickson, the influential and sometimes controversial RedState creator and editor. In “It Is Time to Take Your Campaign Out Back and Shoot It,” Erickson cites staff in-fighting, a disastrous Live Stream performance and the head of one of Sen. Paul’s most loyal Super PAC’s—America’s Liberty PAC’s recent indictment on charges stemming from the 2012 presidential election—as proof that it’s the time for Paul to flush his turd of a campaign. Erickson offered this advice: “Rand Paul, this was an interesting run and I am a fan of yours. But your campaign is a bloody embarrassment that needs to be taken out back and put out of its misery. Go home to Kentucky, Senator, and save your Senate seat before Kentucky’s voters take the incompetence of your presidential campaign as a reflection on you and your Senate campaign.”
Ouch. That probably left a mark.
According to NewJersey.com, Chris Christie is down to his last $1.4 million in campaign spending. As noted in both the Monmouth and Quinnipiac polls, Christie is doing poorly in Iowa, but he is holding in New Hampshire–apparently he is hoping this will be his best shot at staying in the race.
The governor can keep hope alive, but many are hoping the doorknob doesn’t bruise him on the way out.
What of Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. John Kasich, former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore and former Sen. Rick Santorum? Of the bottom seven, Govs. Huckabee and Kasich are above 2 percentage points; the other five contenders barely have 2 percentage points between them. The unfortunate and unlikely Gilmore doesn’t even make the Real Clear Politics poll average.
Like hair in a trap, these bottom seven are more waste-material than election-worthy; they are serving only to plug up the works. Hopefully the debate on Wednesday will be the Drano that flushes a few more. As candidates are working harder to rout out their opponents, it promises to be popcorn-worthy.