Time to Thin the GOP Herd

 

shutterstock_119196472At last, Lindsey Graham did the right thing. After months of increasingly irrelevant undercard debates and poll numbers in the naughts, South Carolina’s littlest senator suspended his campaign. He joins far more promising ex-candidates Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal who were unable to capitalize on today’s frustrated electorate.

Reviewing the polling this weekend, it’s past time for several others to follow their lead. Trump is still leading most surveys, Cruz has surged into prominence, and then there’s the amorphous lump of everybody else. Said amorphous lump represents a powerful constituency, as it holds a third of GOP primary voters. But divided among several candidates, these voters will lose out unless several of their current choices step aside.

Let’s face facts, George Pataki: You are not going to be the GOP candidate. The same goes for Rand Paul, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. You cast your lines, but the fish ain’t biting. It’s time for you to “spend more time with your family,” just in time for Christmas.

Ben Carson, you had your moment but couldn’t close the deal. Make millions on the lecture circuit as a consolation prize. To Chris Christie, what does it profit a man to place second in New Hampshire and lose his party to Trump? Get out. And Jeb, you should have taken my advice in August.

This sensible adjustment would leave the field to the three candidates who actually have a chance at winning this thing: Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio. And that would be a fun race to watch.

I assume Cruz would get Carson’s votes, as well as the few currently held by Huckabee and Santorum. He would probably get most of Paul’s as well (with a few of the diehards deciding to stay at home to prepare Rand’s 2020 campaign.)

The majority of Bush, Christie, Fiorina, Graham, and Kasich voters (and George Pataki’s immediate family) would prefer Marco Rubio. With the also-rans stepping aside, here’s how the race would look based on current polling:

Iowa
Cruz 45.9%
Trump 26.2%
Rubio 23.5%
Undecided 4.4%
 GraphIA
New Hampshire
Rubio 33.1%
Trump 28.3%
Cruz 19.1%
Undecided 19.5%
 GraphNH
South Carolina
Cruz 35.6%
Trump 33.7%
Rubio 15.8%
Undecided 14.9%
 GraphSC
Nationwide
Trump 34.4%
Cruz 32.3%
Rubio 12.3%
Undecided 21%
 GraphUS

If you are an also-ran candidate mortified by the prospects of a Trump victory, step aside to give a Republican not endorsed by Vladimir Putin a better shot at winning. If Cruz isn’t your top choice, suspending your campaign is the best way for Rubio to carry the banner for your views.

With these two thoughtful conservatives taking Iowa and New Hampshire, the GOP can finally have the debate it needs to move forward toward the general election. Hillary is an eminently beatable candidate and that needs to be the party’s top priority.

There are 76 comments.

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  1. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    Slow down.

    I’m fine with kicking Pataki, Huckster and Santorum from the primary party, but let’s not move too quickly to coronate the winner.

    • #1
  2. Sowell for President Member
    Sowell for President
    @

    I hope Santorum and Huckabee jointly endorse Cruz as the most likely to carry the torch for traditionalists (even if he may not understand the concerns as well as they do).

    • #2
  3. Sowell for President Member
    Sowell for President
    @

    livingthehighlife:Slow down.

    …let’s not move too quickly to coronate the winner.

    Indeed.  My guess is that many primary voters in 2012 would have liked to have the option of supporting Pawlenty as a solid alternative to the last three men standing (Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum).

    • #3
  4. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    You mean Heb! can’t just buy the race??? What’s this country coming to…

    • #4
  5. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Interesting analysis. The other factor is that Trump may lose a few points when people see the other leading contenders emerge.

    • #5
  6. Vice-Potentate Inactive
    Vice-Potentate
    @VicePotentate

    Rand should stay in just for the unique perspective he brings. It keeps the others honest, well…. kind of honest. The others could be running for vice-president, no?

    • #6
  7. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    No Christie or Huckabee jokes yet? We’re losing our touch, Ricochetti.

    • #7
  8. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    #yeswecan

    • #8
  9. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I ran your analysis past my friend Goethe who looked away for a moment and said, “I see it exactly the other way.”

    • #9
  10. Richard Fulmer Inactive
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    Just wait, the Pataki wave is coming…

    • #10
  11. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    livingthehighlife:Slow down.

    I’m fine with kicking Pataki, Huckster and Santorum from the primary party, but let’s not move too quickly to coronate the winner.

    Some people here are vastly overestimating Rubio’s appeal because of their terror of Donald Trump.

    • #11
  12. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    I’m sure glad you didn’t single out Gilmore. I think there’s momentum there. One can almost feel the rolling thunder in the distance. Or it’s something I ate.

    • #12
  13. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Do you think Walker is regretting his exit at this point?  If you narrow it down to your proposed field I would think Walker would be a pretty strong add.  Maybe it’s the idea of Walker more than the candidate however.  He did look like a 14 yr old on stage with the others…..

    • #13
  14. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Douglas:

    livingthehighlife:Slow down.

    I’m fine with kicking Pataki, Huckster and Santorum from the primary party, but let’s not move too quickly to coronate the winner.

    Some people here are vastly overestimating Rubio’s appeal because of their terror of Donald Trump.

    Some people here (and on talk radio) are vastly overestimating the intelligence, political competence and conservative temperament of Donald Trump because they are so angry with incumbent Republicans in Congress.

    • #14
  15. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    I’m surprised Graham dropped out at this point.  It’s a month and change until the primary.  Unless you’re losing money on the proposition, I’m not sure why any of the people likely to depart would go just yet.

    I sympathize with the effort to remove the stragglers, but these are people with sizable egos.  Besides, within 2 days of the New Hampshire primary we will be down to 6 or fewer.

    • #15
  16. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    Every one of the candidates has some supporters.  Why should those supporters be disenfranchised by having “their guy/gal” drop out before the first vote is cast?  Cruz was low in the polls early on, should he have dropped out?  Would his supporters instantly switch to Fiorina? Santorum? Christie?  Who got Walker’s supporters?  Who got Perry’s supporters?  We’ll never know because they dropped out too soon.

    There are two reasons people want a candidate to drop out.

    1)  Their candidate is that much closer to winning.  (assuming it wasn’t their candidate that dropped.)

    2)  We see Hillary and that no one is challenging her.  If the Republicans were down to one candidate, she/he could go after her.

    Folks, it’s over a year until the final vote…Chillax already.

    • #16
  17. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    The real deciding dropout will be Bush. Once the threat of a dynastic establishment candidate is eliminated then Trump’s protest supporters will have to make a real choice between conservatism (which Trump does not represent) and their electoral rioting.

    • #17
  18. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    I hesitate to agree with your allocation of support (I just don’t think we have enough data), but I wholeheartedly agree that it’s time for some to go, especially those near the bottom.  Pataki and Gilmore should leave today.  Though far more serious candidates, Huckabee and Santorum are going nowhere this cycle.  While they poll a bit higher than some of the others, it’s quite obvious that Bush and Kasich have lost (what could possibly happen that would pave a way for either to win??).   I’d love to see Paul leave because I disagree with him on national security issues.

    But I want to see Fiorina and Christy stay for now because they add to the debates.

    • #18
  19. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    The King Prawn:The real deciding dropout will be Bush. Once the threat of a dynastic establishment candidate is eliminated then Trump’s protest supporters will have to make a real choice between conservatism (which Trump does not represent) and their electoral rioting.

    Well said.  I agree.

    • #19
  20. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    The King Prawn: The real deciding dropout will be Bush. Once the threat of a dynastic establishment candidate is eliminated then Trump’s protest supporters will have to make a real choice between conservatism (which Trump does not represent) and their electoral rioting.

    And what happens if they don’t choose conservatism?

    • #20
  21. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    The King Prawn: The real deciding dropout will be Bush. Once the threat of a dynastic establishment candidate is eliminated then Trump’s protest supporters will have to make a real choice between conservatism (which Trump does not represent) and their electoral rioting.

    And what happens if they don’t choose conservatism?

    Can we put “conservativism” in quotes, as the word has no coherent meaning beyond “things I like.”

    • #21
  22. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    tabula rasa: But I want to see Fiorina and Christy stay for now because they add to the debates.

    I’d like to see Christie stick around, just to pressure Cruz on his Paul-ish foreign policy.

    • #22
  23. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    The King Prawn:The real deciding dropout will be Bush. Once the threat of a dynastic establishment candidate is eliminated then Trump’s protest supporters will have to make a real choice between conservatism (which Trump does not represent) and their electoral rioting.

    The only problem with Bush dropping out is it will free up his consultants to advise other Republican candidates.  That’s the last thing we need.  At least they are off the streets right now.

    • #23
  24. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    The King Prawn: The real deciding dropout will be Bush. Once the threat of a dynastic establishment candidate is eliminated then Trump’s protest supporters will have to make a real choice between conservatism (which Trump does not represent) and their electoral rioting.

    And what happens if they don’t choose conservatism?

    If only some of them choose conservatism, it would be an improvement.

    • #24
  25. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Trump supporters aren’t supporting Trump because Bush is in the race. They have better alternatives to Bush to choose from other than Trump. They are with Trump because they like Trump. His voting block is not a protest vote. He will only fade once the field goes down to two or three and he hits his true ceiling which is most certainly below 50% of the primary electorate. Unfortunately it’s probably a very solid 30-40% which means that until it’s a two man race, he will be competitive and probably win a plurality in many states.

    Cruz will probably win a plurality in several states as well. The idiotic primary system and schedule sets up extremely well for him early on. Rubio needs to hang on for the first six weeks until all the other mainline GOP candidates drop, and unless all of them do, including the one with the deepest pockets does, Rubio will not break through.

    My guess is Bush will try to outlast Rubio in the establishment lane unless he just never breaks double digits anywhere. Unfortunately he can probably do this long enough to ruin both his and Rubio’s chances of winning.

    The GOP likely will nominate Cruz, but Trump has a very good shot.

    The GOP is going to lose next fall, and it actually deserves to. Once the “true conservatives” get their Goldwater defeat, perhaps the party will regain some sense. Unfortunately it might not matter at that point.

    • #25
  26. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    The King Prawn:The real deciding dropout will be Bush. Once the threat of a dynastic establishment candidate is eliminated then Trump’s protest supporters will have to make a real choice between conservatism (which Trump does not represent) and their electoral rioting.

    Based on recent Congressional performance I expect electoral rioting for awhile.

    • #26
  27. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    The King Prawn: The real deciding dropout will be Bush. Once the threat of a dynastic establishment candidate is eliminated then Trump’s protest supporters will have to make a real choice between conservatism (which Trump does not represent) and their electoral rioting.

    And what happens if they don’t choose conservatism?

    I think first we have to define conservatism, but you ask a valid question.

    • #27
  28. Commodore BTC Inactive
    Commodore BTC
    @CommodoreBTC

    Christie/Kasich/Jeb are going to torpedo Rubio in NH

    if they stay in

    • #28
  29. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Brian Watt:

    Douglas:

    livingthehighlife:Slow down.

    I’m fine with kicking Pataki, Huckster and Santorum from the primary party, but let’s not move too quickly to coronate the winner.

    Some people here are vastly overestimating Rubio’s appeal because of their terror of Donald Trump.

    Some people here (and on talk radio) are vastly overestimating the intelligence, political competence and conservative temperament of Donald Trump because they are so angry with incumbent Republicans in Congress.

    Very few Trump supporters overestimate the intelligence, political competence and conservative temperament of Donald Trump. You have two types of Trump supporters:

    1) You have Low Information Voters (LIVs)that support Trump out of name recognition, his hard line stance on immigration, and his anti-PC attitude.  This group pays little attention to his ideology.

    2) You have the GOP protest voters who don’t see Trump as better or more conservative than Republicans in Congress. They see Trump as the GOP’s nemesis. Here is a man that can finally make the GOP wake up or be destroyed. As they see it, the GOP is not representing the interests of their base and GOP needs to be slapped down. It is a burn-it-down strategy.

    Almost all of the Trump supporters here at Ricochet are of type 2).

    • #29
  30. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    It’s really a shame that Fiorina isn’t doing better.  She can mop the floor with half these clowns.

    • #30

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