Even though millions still don't get it, Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee in 2016.
In spite of a somewhat "choppy" start, believe it. Jeb will finish third in Iowa, first in New Hampshire and second in South Carolina. Then he will capture Florida's winner take all primary. Despite the crowded field, it's a mathematical certainty that he will hold the lead in delegates when July 2016 approaches.
Is this 2012? It would appear so. What happened to the other candidates? After all, there were better than 20 of them! Scott Walker, for one looked so promising! It would be expected that Chris Christies supporters will eventually line up behind Jeb. And, John Kasich's decision not to run makes sense. Experts starting with Karl Rove will agree: The Ohio Governor would make an excellent running mate for Bush. Even the Clinton camp shudders at the "electoral problem" that would result from a Bush-Kasich ticket!
I guess Karma wins out! But wait! Are not there advocates of "Semper Fi" who contend, "they'll stay home" if Bush is the nominee? Yes. And, they mean it! But, isn't there another way? Maybe!
Iowa will be the key. Like Mitt Romney, Bush isn't going to spend a lot of time there. He has an organization that will deliver some delegates. But winning the "Hawkeye State" is not an imperative for his overall victory. New Hampshire is a state that he will zero in on. If he defeats Christie, which is probable, he'll be in excellent shape. But, let's return to Iowa for a moment.
Rick Perry's handlers have evidently decided that the campaign begins and ends in Iowa. If the former Texas Governor finishes first or second, he will be alive. And he just might! Rick Santorum visited all 99 counties in '12. As history reflects, he defeated Mitt Romney by a nose. Perry, by rights, should be stronger than the former Pennsylvania Senator. Iowans like to rub elbows with candidates. Unlike 2012, Perry is healthy and has nothing but time on his hands. He is as good at retail politicking as anyone. He grew up on a farm, attended Texas A & M and flew C-130's in the Air Force. He is as warm and charismatic as Scott Walker is dry and detached. Walker will likely be the favorite in Iowa.
What about Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Ben Carson? Won't they make some noise in the early primaries?
In a recent Dallas Morning News article, Todd J. Gillman compared and contrasted Cruz and Perry. In reality, the men hold almost identical positions on all issues. Perry points out that the biggest difference is he's practiced while Cruz has only preached. Yet it goes beyond ideology.
Politics has be said to be "poetry" in it's own right. This may be the greatest distinction between the two Texans.
"Texas has two strong candidates," said Alfonso Aguilar, director of the Latino Partnership program at the conservative American Principles in Action group and chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship under President George W. Bush.
But, he added, "Rick Perry inspires people. Ted Cruz annoys people."
Compared with Perry, Aguilar said, "Cruz has a Latino problem, and it's ironic, because he is Latino." Not good, for the junior Senator!
Rand Paul might snag some Libertarian votes in New Hampshire. He might hold his own in Iowa. But, how deep can his campaign go? Perhaps to the end! He has Ron's base pretty much intact. This is highly significant. While the Kentucky Senator may come up short, in a brokered convention, his delegates could be pivotal.
Ben Carson? I cannot honestly see him going anywhere. He is simply too moderate for Tea Party Republicans. Evangelicals have a lot to choose from this time around, including Governor Mike Huckabee.
Marco Rubio is already being mentioned as a Vice Presidential option. He does have Norman Braman and a story. The truth of his financial struggles will actually work to his advantage. But can he do well enough in the early states to secure a foothold? Nevada, a state where he spent five formative years as a youth, could be his best bet. But can he defeat Bush in Florida?
Oh, what a mess! And so reminiscent of 2012. Bush has money and an organization. He can plod along, watching opponents fall by the wayside. In the end, he'll gain their endorsements and have things wrapped up by Independence Day. Unless...
Only the Tea Party stands in Bush's way to the nomination. Expect Bush to have the lead. But, if he doesn't have sufficient delegates to clinch the nomination, as Tom DeLay points out, we might be looking at a "brokered" convention. This would be bad for the Bush camp.
Money, as always, will be critical. This is why it is important to look past the sizzle of any candidate. There is also general election electability. A brokered convention that yielded an unelectable general election nominee would be disastrous! But who actually is electable? Bush backers insist their guy is. So do both Perry and Rubio's people.
Can Cruz or Paul win? And, for that matter, can Scott Walker win?
At the Lexington, Kentucky Lincoln Day dinner, I listened to Sixth District Congressman, Andy Barr's read on possible Republican tickets. He believes that "a Walker-Rubio ticket" will pay dividends for the GOP. He might be right! But, he also admits that Walker has a problem with Latino voters.
"They just don't know him," Andy professes. "I guess it's about exposure. Hopefully Rubio would bridge the shortfall."
Hopefully! While Rubio polls very strong with South Americans, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans, he is still, according to a recent Gallup poll, only in the "mid-thirties" with Mexican voters. Good, but not great! And, not as good as Jeb Bush or Rick Perry! All three candidates speak fluent Spanish.
Which would lead me to conclude that Perry would be a better overall candidate than Scott Walker. He did score 44% of Latino voters in 2010 Texas Senatorial general election. These Hispanics were mostly Mexicans. And if Cruz indeed has a "Latino problem" as Aguilar insists, Republicans may be on their way to that brokered convention, if Perry bests Walker in Iowa!
Jeb Bush's worst nightmare is to have the nomination come down to he and Rick Perry. Not only because Perry can compete money wise. But, Perry's vision is based on the 10th amendment, not "Neo-Conservative" principles. Given the choice, Tea Party conservatives will flock to Perry. In spite of some mostly imagined flaws.
The key will be Iowa. If Perry finishes first or second in Iowa, he can win South Carolina. If Cruz bows out early, he might win "four or five" of the proposed "S.E.C. primary states:(Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee). Like Florida, Texas is a winner take all state.
In a brokered convention, it is highly conceivable that Tea Party Republicans, including all of Paul's Millennials, find their way to Perry. After all, he is "Ted Cruz with actual experience" and shares Paul's 10th amendment orientation...
Still looming is the impact Mike Huckabee might have on the electorate. The former Arkansas Governor does well in Caucus states. He may pick up enough delegates to play a role in a brokered convention. Like Rubio and Kasich, his name is certain to come up when discussing possible Vice Presidential selections.