Sunday, May 24, 2015

What's to be done about the 2016 GOP Presidential Field? (How many of them are there? 50? 60? 100s?)


I had it written down somewhere, but what we have above -- click to enlarge -- is either the GOP 2016 presidential field or the composite of the Waco biker-brawl suspects. It may be that the scrap of paper on which I wrote it down will yet surface, but if not, does it really matter? Let's just make our best guess and get on with it.

by Ken

Noah and I have taken to e-chinwagging about the groaning board of likely suspects that is officially the 2016 GOP Presidential Field. My question is what possesses most of these people, how have no chance of being nominated and probably no chance of achieving the "greater name recognition" that used to be an attraction of such runs -- unless the recognition that will do it for them is establishing themselves as kooks and nutjobs. Of course, in their particular world, certification as a kook or nutjob may in fact be the next step up the ladder.
MAY 20, 2015
Biker-Brawl Suspects Only Slightly Outnumber Republican Candidates

WACO (The Borowitz Report) – Suspects in the recent biker brawl in Waco, Texas, only slightly outnumber the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates, leading some voters to have difficulty distinguishing between the two groups, a new poll shows.

According to the poll, voters who were presented the names of a biker-brawl suspect and a Republican Presidential candidate correctly identified both only thirty per cent of the time.

For example, fifty-seven per cent of voters erroneously identified the former Texas Governor Rick Perry as a member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang, while forty-one per cent believed he belonged to the Cossacks.

Adding to voters’ confusion, the biker brawlers and G.O.P. candidates have identical views on a host of issues, such as gun rights and whether they would feel comfortable attending a gay wedding.

While the number of biker-brawl suspects stands at a hundred and seventy, if current trends continue, the Republican field could blow past that number by early summer, possibly deepening voters’ confusion.

But, in one positive sign for the Republicans, they notched a higher approval rating than the Waco suspects, five per cent to three.
Noah called my attention to the latest Washington Post "In the Loop" poll, which bears on the subject, and whose results were only just announced. Since I think of myself as a connoisseur of "In the Loop" polls, I'm not sure how I whiffed on this, but maybe it's that I'm not much interested in "winninowing" the field -- I just want the field to go away. These are, after all, people who if they presented themselves as candidates for dog-catcher, we would have to say, "Is that the lot?" Which translates as: There's nobody in this pack who seems remotely qualified for the job.
In the Loop
Find out who won the Loop's 'Winnow Down' the GOP debates contest

By Al Kamen

As our colleague Matea Gold reports, Fox News, which is hosting the first campaign debate of the 2016 primary season, plans to require contenders to place in the top 10 in an average of the five most recent national polls before the Aug.6 event.

But our Loop fans have other (and we think better) ideas. Other debate hosts may want to consider the winning entries to our “Winnow Down” contest, intended to help the GOP figure out how to deal with its 16 (more-or-less) bona fide candidates.

Here’s their suggestions:

1. Use NCAA-style brackets

A. The “Self-Important Sixteen” who will “hurl scandalous, unsubstantiated charges at each other (and Hillary Clinton).
B. The “Ego-Maniacal Eight” who will “employ the Fox News . . .model, out-yelling and degrading their opponent (and Hillary Clinton).
C. The Fractious Four,” who will “feign civility” and call each other “my good friend before insulting them (and Hillary Clinton).”

Finally: The “Tenacious Two — The Debate” who will actually discuss issues (and, of course, Hillary Clinton.) “Findings of the auditorium Applause-o-Meter will be final.” — submitted by Patrick Dozier, a property manager in the District.

2. A Three-Question Fidelity Test

A. Are you now, or have you ever been, a subscriber to The New York Times?” If so, “proceed no further.”
B. “Do you believe in a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?” If so, “contact the offices of Matt Drudge.”
C. “Who was our country’s greatest Commander in Chief, Ronald Reagan or the 40th President?” (“Just like Hillary’s position on” the trade bill, “there’s no wrong answer!) ” — submitted by Daniel Braden, a political operative and former contest winner, from Medford, Mass.

3. A U.S. Citizenship Test

The candidates “should all agree to take the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Naturalization Test in a room with no staff or mobile devices.” The bottom five scorers would be cut out of the debate. — submitted by D.C.’s Jon Conradi, director of audience engagement for Lifezette, Laura Ingraham’s about-to-launch conservative media site.


“Candidates in soundproof tubes below the stage randomly pop up from their holes. They are whacked with a question on a foam mallet. . . submitted by voters. After 90 seconds, the mike goes off, they disappear back into the hole and another pops ups. As soon as they diverge from a question, they drop through the floor and are out of the game.” — submitted by Bill Diamond, a “retired bureaucrat” from Evergreen, Colo.

5. “The Choice,” modeled after NBC’s “The Voice”

Candidates get 90 seconds “to make their case to the backs of a panel of undecided voters. If nobody turns around to claim one, they’re out. Those claimed then “face-off with each other until we’re down to two or three.” — submitted by Jack Moline, a nonprofit executive from Alexandria, Va.

6. Multiple-choice answers only

A la the NCAA, use 24-second clocks for answers to multiple-choice questions. “Candidates can only anwer a, b, c, or d.”

For example: “If we knew then what we know now about Iraq’s weapons, would you have gone to war there?"
A. Of course not, but I don’t know that for sure;
B. That’s a hypothetical and I won’t answer that type of question;
C. No, I would have invaded another oil-rich nation;
D. All of the above.” –submitted by Charlie Andrews, a retired telcom executive and prior contest winner, from Ashburn, Va.

7. Lie Detector Test

“Require all candidates to take a private lie detector test, administered by a neutral team of the best experts in the field.”

Questions might include:

A.”Have you ever considered changing a vote or position because of a past or promised campaign donation?
B. Would you impose a litmus test on any specific pending issue in selecting a nominee for the Supreme Court?
C. Would you cover up for or pardon a White House subordinate who violated the law? — submitted by Joe O’Bryan, a retired federal employee from Phoenixville, Pa.

8. Play hide and seek with cash

“Give the candidates a task relevant to a presidential contest. Hide bundles of money throughout the studio, then set the candidates loose. The top eight or ten money gatherers get a spot in the debate.” — Submitted by Roger Ribert, a technical writer from West Henrietta, N.Y. (Isn’t this proposal more elegant, fairer, than the Fox News formula?)

9. Summon Ronald Reagan

Candidates will be paired off on the Ouija Board to commune with the ghost of Ronald Reagan and solicit his permission to enter the race.” — submitted by Tien Peng, a pulmonologist from Philadelphia, Pa.

10. “Political Survivor,” based on the CBS reality show

Divide the 16 or more candidates into “two tribes (Iowa and  New Hampshire) and put them through a series of immunity and reward challenges that will test their fitness for office while revealing their true character and coalition building skills. Broadcast via C-Span. Instead of contestants voting off the loser, the viewers would do so via the soon-to-be-popular Washington Post Political Survivor Web site. Final Five get to the first debate.” — submitted by Stephen Llewellyn, a retired government lawyer from Alexandria, Va.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone for entering. Special thanks to our expert judges, colleagues Rachel Van Dongen, Aaron Blake and Tom Hamburger.

Now it’s your turn to judge! What’s your favorite “Winnow Down” idea?


[To pick one, and then view the results, click onsite. -- Ed.]

This is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.

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At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read to number 3 and stopped.

A US citizenship test should weed out at least 95% of the GOP goobers.

John Puma


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