Wednesday, December 30, 2015

When Will The GOP Also-Rans Drop Out?


Another way of putting it is... when does the Deep Bench disintegrate into the inevitable Ted Cruz vs Marco Rubio slugfest? And this isn't a post about why George Pataki dropped out of the race yesterday, which is barely worth even noting. No, this is about the Republican candidates who for whatever reason have thought they could actually win the presidency (or maybe the vice-presidency). First of all, let's keep the Republican primary/caucus calendar at the top of our minds.
Feb 1- Iowa caucuses

Feb 9- New Hampshire primary

Feb 20- South Carolina primary

Feb. 23- Nevada caucuses

March 1- Confederate SuperTuesday:

Alabama primary
Alaska caucuses
Arkansas primary
Colorado caucuses
Georgia primary
Massachusetts primary
Minnesota caucuses
North Dakota caucuses
Oklahoma primary
Tennessee primary
Texas primary
Vermont primary
Virginia primary
Wyoming caucuses

• March 5-

Kansas caucuses
Kentucky caucuses
Louisiana primary
Maine caucuses

• March 6- Puerto Rico

• March 8-

Hawaii caucuses
Idaho primary
Michigan primary
Mississippi primary

• March 12-

Guam- convention
DC- convention

March 15-

Florida primary
Illinois primary
Missouri primary
North Carolina primary
Ohio primary

• March 22-

Arizona primary
Utah caucuses

• April 5- Wisconsin primary

• April 19- New York primary

• April 26-

Connecticut primary
Delaware primary
Maryland primary
Pennsylvania primary
Rhode Island primary

• May 3- Indiana primary

• May 10-

Nebraska primary
West Virginia primary

• May 17- Oregon primary

• May 24- Washington primary

• June 7-

California primary
Montana primary
New Jersey primary
New Mexico primary
South Dakota primary
OK, now it's time to go out on a limb and make a bunch of predictions. Obviously, circumstances could change and upend my whole timeline which begins in Iowa with a Cruz win, Herr Trumpf coming in a respectable second and either Dr. Ben or Rubio a distant third. That should trigger towels thrown in by Huckabee and Santorum. New Hampshire comes a week later and it still looks like Herr Trumpf is going to win this one with a close and crucial bunch-up for second place between Christie, Rubio and Cruz. If Cruz comes in second or if Rubio doers significantly better than Christie, it's bye-bye Christie. It's also bye-bye Kasich and, unless Cruz wants her to stay in the race for some strategic reason, it's also bye-bye Fiorina. Two weeks on and we have South Carolina, which looks like Cruz is going to win. After South Carolina, Dr. Ben, the poor Jebster and, if he's still in the race, Christie, all start admitting to themselves the party's over. Unless Trumpf is in a full-fledged ego-driven war against the enemy-of-mankind-from-Calgary, he'll probably drop out or start making plans to. Nevada is next and it's the pivotal state for Rubio, who once lived there. He either wins it or he's probably washed up. Yesterday's Gravis poll of Nevada Republicans showed Rubio a distant third to Trumpf at 33% and Cruz at 20%. If Cruz wins Nevada, much of the party may actually start rallying round him. I think Adelson and the newspaper he just bought still have a shot to pull off a win for Rubio there though.

Now it's looking like a Cruz vs Rubio race, just as Confederate Super Tuesday comes the next week. This is Cruz Day with sure wins in Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, North Dakota and Wyoming. Are Massachusetts and Minnesota Republicans going to opt for the relatively mainstream Rubio? Can Vermont Republicans write-in Bernie? By the end of the day, if Herr Trumpf is still running, he packs it in. Rand Paul probably thinks his career will benefit by holding out a few days til the Kentucky caucuses which he'll win-- and then drop out. That same day should be more good news for Cruz: Louisiana and Kansas and a probable win for Rubio in Maine's caucuses.

March 8th is Rubio's last stand. Cruz will win in Idaho and Mississippi and Rubio either wins Michigan or makes a deal for a cabinet position with Cruz. If Rubio does win Michigan and lives to fight another day, that other day is a week later where Cruz will win Missouri and North Carolina and Rubio has a fighting chance in Illinois, Ohio and Florida. If Cruz wins any 2 of those states, Rubio might settle for a sub-cabinet position to drop out. If Rubio has been doing well enough to still be in the race after that, his chances dramatically increase. Cruz will score in Arizona, Nebraska, Indiana, maybe West Virginia. But the rest of the delegate-rich states up for grab are good territory for Rubio, especially if the Party apparatus is firmly behind him. Neither he nor Cruz will walk into the convention the presumptive nominee. But at least Herr Trumpf won't be on the TV everyday any longer and the threat of him being president is gone, probably forever.

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