Sunday, August 30, 2015

Right now, the .01 percent...

...that invested donated over $100 million to Jeb Bush's campaign is not giving up (yet) on the former governor. That's the message from Paddy Power:

1. Jeb Bush (13/8)
2. Donald Trump (7/2)
3. Scott Walker (6/1)
4. Marco Rubio (6/1)
5. John Kasich (11/1)

But the polls show Jeb fading fast:

1. Trump (28.3 percent)
2. Ben Carson (11.6)
3. Jeb (8.0)
4. Rubio (6.6)
5. Ted Cruz (6.1)

So which is it?

For a while now, we've all assumed the Republican nomination would be a fight between a "movement" conservative and the establishment candidate. While the former was a big question mark (Rand Paul? Ted Cruz?), the latter seemed almost certainly to be Jeb (with Walker and Rubio as understudies), especially after he nudged Mitt Romney out of the race.

But then came the Donald. And while he's not exactly a "movement" conservative, he's effectively made it a two-man race with Jeb. Or is Jeb no longer the establishment's choice?

In today's Times Jonathan Martin sounds the alarm bells in Jeb's campaign (my emphasis):

Mr. Bush raised a combined $114 million for his campaign and “super PAC” in the first half of the year, but with Donald J. Trump unexpectedly surging and Mr. Bush falling in Republican polls, some of the party’s top money raisers are remaining on the fence in terms of supporting Mr. Bush. 

This reluctance, and the prospect of a hard-fought Republican contest that could last well into 2016, has prompted Mr. Bush to institute cost-saving measures in his campaign. Some aides have seen their pay cut back as part of an effort to curtail spending.


Frank Bruni, meanwhile, makes the argument for a Kasich/Rubio ticket: 

Kasich is hardly the anti-politician that many Americans seem to crave. But he doesn’t have the whiff of political royalty that Bush inevitably does. Put Bush up against Clinton and he erases some of her potential liabilities, because they’re also his: all the reminders of yesterday, all the time spent in a bubble of privilege, all the unshakable allegiances to over familiar characters. 

Kasich can strike a folksier chord, reminding voters, as he frequently does, that his father was a postal worker and his grandfather a coal miner.

He can do something additional that isn’t really feasible for Bush — pick, as his running mate, the person who might as well wear a sign that says “perfect Republican vice-presidential candidate.”

I mean Marco Rubio, who can seem too green for the top job but not for the No. 2 spot. He’s a talented politician. His selection could help with Hispanic voters. He connotes generational change. And he’s from Florida (as is Bush, which argues against a Bush-Rubio ticket).

Now, I still say Donald Trump won't be the Republican nominee. It's just too outlandish for me to believe. Also, the establishment would never abide by someone who, according to Ross Douthat, challenges (my emphasis):

...the entire post-Reagan conservative matrix. He can wax right wing on immigration one moment and promise to tax hedge fund managers the next. He’ll attack political correctness and then pledge to protect entitlements. He can sound like Pat Buchanan on trade and Bernie Sanders on health care. He regularly attacks the entire Iraq misadventure... 

So Trump won't be the GOP standard-bearer. But he may still be strong enough to be in that two-man race with the establishment candidate. Will it still be Bush, or someone like Kasich? Or someone else entirely? (I actually heard Romney's name mentioned the other day.)

But does it matter anyway? On Paddy Power, Hillary is still the odds-on favorite to win the general election:

1. Hillary (11/10)
2. Jeb (4/1)
3. Trump (13/2)

What's that you say? Hillary may not even get the Democratic nomination? Please. Again, from Paddy Power:

1. Hillary (1/3)
2. Joe Biden (5/1)
3. Bernie Sanders (6/1)

And in the polls:

1. Hillary (47.2 percent)
2. Bernie Sanders (22.7)
3. Joe Biden (13.9)

So what's the bottom line? Today, Hillary still beats Jeb.

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