VOCAL TEA PARTIERS AND SILENT MODERATES

Here are some of my thoughts so far on the GOP nomination contest, prior to any actual announcements for candidacy.

Here are some of my thoughts so far on the GOP nomination contest, prior to any actual announcements for candidacy.

  • Although the tea party conservative wing is the most vocal and will show up in large numbers for congressional elections, the majority of Republican voters are more center-right. This is why GOP presidential nominees tend to be more moderate, but try to appeal to conservatives.
  • Ben Carson will be one of the first in, and one of the first out. He will generate a lot of buzz, but he won’t go anywhere.
  • Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie are all governors who are second tier/third tier candidates who won’t go anywhere.
  • Rand Paul has the most vocal supporters of anybody, but there isn’t enough support among Republicans for him to get the nomination. I think he will last a while though, and he has the potential to expand GOP support broader than some of the other candidates.
  • Lindsay Graham and John Bolton are the anti-Paul candidates. They are not running to win (if they do run), but to make sure that Rand Paul does not get the nomination.
  • I’d throw Marco Rubio in with Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal even though he is not a governor. At best a second or third tier candidates.
  • Rick Santorum is too far out of the GOP mainstream to amount to much, but he will appeal to a sliver. Same with Mike Huckabee.
  • Scott Walker is the current governor with the best chances to get the nomination and face off with Hillary. More than any other conservative governor (besides Chris Christie) he has had policy accomplishments in a democratic state with, and won election three times. It proves that he has a broad enough base of appeal to be successful in both a Republican primary and a general election.
  • However, I think at this point the frontrunner is Jeb Bush. Although more conservative than these, he is in the vain of John McCain and Mitt Romney (refer to the first point). Regardless of many tea party conservatives distaste for his support for common core and comprehensive immigration policy, he appeals to the center-right majority of Republicans. I think enough time has gone by that Republicans who have a problem with the Bush name are largely over it. I think he also has the potential to win at the general election.
  • As always what is more significant is what voters’ second choices are rather than first choices. I am willing to bet that Jeb Bush is there as a second option for many Republicans.
  • The media loves to question whether someone like Jeb Bush can get through the Republican primary, but it is Republicans like Jeb Bush that do get through the primary. It is the pure moderates (leaning left) like Rudy Giuliani (and I think Chris Christie, whether deserved or not) that get weeded out. The only exceptions being Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Could 2016 be an exception? Sure, but I don’t see any reason to think otherwise. I think Scott Walker would fit into this too, granted more towards the right of Jeb Bush.
  • The race is still wide open and there is more than enough time for a dark horse candidate to emerge and make things more interesting.

  1. I will soon offer some early thoughts on the Democratic nomination, which I think has the potential to be more interesting than the GOP nomination fight.

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