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Sunday, February 07, 2016

US Presidential Race

John Kasich

On the one hand, watching the US Presidential debates is getting more exciting because the gloves are coming off, as some candidates are fighting for their lives. On the other hand, a lot o candidates have said the same thing too many times now, with their canned answers.

I think Hillary made a major blunder in the latest Democratic debate in going after Sanders aggressively for citing her huge speech honouraria from Goldman Sachs. First, it plays to her weakness. There is no question that her speaking fees look bad to the average voter, who could probably hope to retire on what she made for three speeches. She has now drawn attention to it by making it the preferred sound bite from that debate. Second, being the first to go negative and going after Sanders, clearly her senior, gives him sympathy and cuts into her already meagre likability. Third, it makes her look desperate, as apparently she is, and hurts her air of inevitability. Fourth, since nobody believes Goldman Sachs gave her so much money without expecting something in return, her protests to the contrary just reinforce the impression that she is dishonest. Clinton's campaign is almost DOA at this point.

Until last night's Republican debate, I was ready to pronounce on the Republican contest as well. Cruz's win in Iowa took out Trump. but is likely to be Cruz's own high water mark. First, Iowa does not often pick the winner of the overall race; the caucuses produce an odd electorate, Second, Cruz made a major gaffe last debate in fighting with the moderators, reinforcing the concern that he could not get along. His campaigns apparent dirty tricks against Carson hurt him further in the same way. Everyone likes Carson, and he is not letting the issue go. Cruz is unlikely to pick up a lot of support as others drop out, if there is a decent alternative. That leaves Rubio as the big winner from Iowa, and the endorsements are indeed pouring in. Rick Santorum started the stampede. The night of the last debate, he looked as though he were positioning himself to back Trump. Now he's behind Rubio, In one week, Rubio has surpassed Bush as the candidate with the most endorsements, most recently as of this writing Bobby Jindal. The latest poll shows Rubio leapfrogging Cruz in N.H.

However, it appears that the three governors still in the race are not ready to give up. In last night's debate, they formed a tag team. The theme was that one of them should be selected for their executive experience, and they have a point. Christie destroyed Rubio in the most memorable exchange of the night. In light of this, and the latest poll numbers, I'd say John Kasich still has a shot.

I'm good with that. To my mind, the strongest Republican ticket is Kasich and Rubio in either order.

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