Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts tagged as “Republican caucus”

First take/three

The many people who have wanted the Republican presidential campaign to boil down to a manageable number have got what they want - almost.

There's now three, nearly. Five, for the moment.

Because the catch is, John Kasich and Ben Carson are still in.

Neither of them will be the nominee, and probably they are well aware of that. But neither is inclined to leave. Both seem to be doing well enough in fundraising - and they occupy distinctive enough niches - that they can keep on offering messages for a while. (Kasich seems to want to stay in until his home state of Ohio votes.) In the process, they will keep on typing up blocks of votes. Small blocks, but possibly significant anyway.

As it stands, Donald Trump seems well positioned for the nomination. If as polling indicates he wins Nevada in tomorrow's caucuses, his track record will be three wins and (in the distant Iowa past) a second place, enough to position him as a clear frontrunner and create a bandwagon effect for the massive SEC primary on March 1, barely a week from now. If the national narrative going into that is that Trump is running well ahead of everyone else, he will become very hard to stop.

If anyone does stop him, that would have to be Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, who more or less share a second-place spot. But aside from a Cruz win in Texas and Rubio in Florida (and Trump could very well win both of those states anyway), it's getting ever harder to see where they break through and actually beat the Donald.

Time is getting short. - rs

First take/Boehner

In writing about House Speaker John Boehner's announced resignation, the Washington Post noted that he has been "faced with a constant conservative rebellion" - true (allowing for whether "conservative" is the right descriptor), and it has been true most of the time he has had the job. Boehner's fellow Republicans have been far more headachy for him than the House Democrats. The Democrats have been opposition but operate by normal rules Boehner would have been accustomed to. The Republican insurgents - a better descriptor, since "conservative" really doesn't work here - have thrown out the rule book, and many are content to be simply destructive, not least of the country itself. Too many of those insurgents and (especially) the insurgent forces back home constitute a mindless whirlwind - and if that sounds like simply a partisan blast, consider the analysis of what impact Boehner's resignation may have on the prospective government shutdown. You might on the surface imagine that it would make a shutdown more likely, since one of the main opponents to that will be going away. Not so: The resignation is figured to reduce chances of a shutdown, because a new fight for the speakership will be coming, and that battle may be enough to draw the attention of the insurgents, diminishing interest in a shutdown. This is government by follow-the-bright-shiny-object. It is a madness. - rs