2016 Republican Presidential Primary
When Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio finished third in the Iowa caucuses, the media said he was the real winner. His campaign talked of a "3-2-1" strategy in which he'd finish second in New Hampshire and first in South Carolina. Yet he lost both states to Donald Trump, finishing fifth in New Hampshire and second in South Carolina.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton savored her weekend win in the Nevada caucuses as Bernie Sanders acknowledged that while his insurgent campaign has made strides, "at the end of the day ... you need delegates." He looked past Tuesday's Democratic primary in South Carolina to list Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Oklahoma as places where he has a "good shot" to do well.
After his solid, broadly based victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Donald Trump now holds a commanding position in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But Trump still faces two “known unknowns,” to borrow the memorable phrase from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, an architect of the Iraq War that Trump now excoriates. One is whether Trump has a ceiling of support. The second is whether, even if he does, any of his remaining rivals can unify enough of the voters resistant to him to beat him.
Jeb Bush, the Republican establishment’s last, best hope, began his 2016 campaign rationally enough, with a painstakingly collated operational blueprint his team called, with NFL swagger, “The Playbook.” On page after page kept safe in a binder, the playbook laid out a strategy for a race his advisers were certain would be played on Bush’s terms — an updated, if familiar version of previous Bush family campaigns where cash, organization and a Republican electorate ultimately committed to an electable center-right candidate would prevail. Story Continued Below
One of the nagging questions of the Republican primary has been why the GOP establishment hasn't united behind Marco Rubio. The move seemed obvious — they feared Donald Trump, they loathed Ted Cruz, and Rubio seemed like a more serious threat to Hillary Clinton than Jeb Bush or Chris Christie.
There was one, and maybe only one, moment in the Republican debate in Des Moines, on Thursday night, when the candidates sounded as though they were speaking truly and honestly—from the heart, unrehearsed, and uninhibited. Unfortunately for anyone hoping for an elevated exchange in the absence of Donald Trump—who was, after a fight with Fox News, holding his own event—it came when Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Rand Paul lit into Senator Ted Cruz, questioning his character. Their apparently visceral dislike of their colleague came across as one of the most genuine emotional responses heard on the debate stage in a long time.
Over the past couple of weeks, a surprisingly large number of mainstream Republicans have started doing nice things for Donald Trump, especially in Iowa, where he is locked in a battle with Ted Cruz. This is especially puzzling for those of us who once confidently predicted that despite congressional Republicans' personal dislike of Cruz, they would ultimately find him more ideologically congenial than Trump. But over the weekend, one political operative floated to me a theory that began to rapidly gain credence on Monday. Establishment Republicans aren't choosing Trump over Cruz because they prefer Trump to Cruz. They are bac
Sen. Ted Cruz’s brashness and willingness to denounce Senate colleagues for their perceived lack of conservative chops have made him wildly popular among Republican voters and have helped him surge to the top of the polls.
Welcome to a 2016 Republican presidential primary unlike any other. A crowded field, angry electorate and uncharacteristically divided establishment, not to mention the wild-card role of super PACs, have already made this nominating contest more frenzied and unpredictable than its recent predecessors. It’s become conventional wisdom that, whatever the chaos of the early campaign, a winner is most likely to emerge by mid-March. This cycle, we can’t be so sure. In fact, the better you understand how the 2016 calendar works, the more likely it seems we can face a messy slog that runs into late spring and possibly even into the July convention—an unlikely fate at this point but one that’s no longer impossible.
For a certain type of Republican, the fantasy world where Donald Trump is not winning the GOP primary is a very nice place to live. Beth Hansen, the campaign manager for John Kasich, is this type of Republican. Hansen is speaking to a crowd that’s gathered in a smokehouse bar in this city’s elegant, cobblestoned downtown, describing vividly a world where Kasich, the unvarnished, moderate governor of Ohio, is actually poised to win. This is not, to put it mildly, a world most political observers can currently envision.
A brokered convention is a favorite subject of election-year media speculation. Every four years, the chatter begins in earnest over the winter: Will this be the year that party elites, through backroom deals, end up picking their own, favored candidate?
Donald Trump's super-scary new campaign ad includes a scene straight out of Joe Arpaio's nightmares: A horde of people clambering over and down embankments to make their way across the border illegally.
History will remember 2015 as the year when The Republican Party As We Knew It was destroyed by Donald Trump. An entity called the GOP will survive — but can never be the same. Am I overstating Trump’s impact, given that not a single vote has been cast? Hardly. I’m not sure it’s possible to exaggerate how the Trump phenomenon has torn the party apart, revealing a chasm between establishment and base that is far too wide to bridge with stale Reagan-era rhetoric. Can you picture the Trump legions meekly falling in line behind Jeb Bush or Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.)? I can’t either.
Inside the White House, poetic justice looks a lot like Donald Trump. Past and present aides to President Barack Obama are gloating that a Republican leadership they say defined itself by blustery opposition — and used it to win the House, then the Senate, and stand in the White House’s way at every turn — is getting devoured by a candidate personifying the anger agenda.
Four down, 12 more to go. On Monday, long-shot GOP candidate Lindsey Graham announced that he's suspending his presidential campaign. Though he claimed he had succeeded in pulling the GOP in a more hawkish direction, he admitted to CNN's Kate Bolduan that he's "hit a wall here" — and threw in the towel. Now, Graham's polling was absolutely dismal — he was below 2 percent even in his own home state of South Carolina. So it may seem absurd to claim that his withdrawal could make a difference in the race.