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My word. So many people I know are just completely losing their shit right now over Clinton "possibly" beating sanders. Full meltdown. Like, actually threatening to break stuff if Clinton wins or "steals" their primary.

 

Facebook and Twitter have never been so entertaining.

 

El Oh El. I'm loving it.

 

Also: echo on the "Ugh. Cruz." Sentiment. I know the experts have been wrong about just about everything, but if Cruz is as unpopular as the "smart people" say, and if he really has put nearly everything into his ground game in Iowa, maybe we can count on him fading fast after this. Please?

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I haven't gone to facebook yet but man the Bernie people did pretty good because it was hard to call for the Demo's until the end and Bernie was pretty hot on Hillary's heels.

 

I listened to Cruz's speech and it wasn't bad but lots of Bible references. On the bright side some GOP contenders have dropped out like Huckabee because of this.

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Oh yeah. Of all the candidates on either side, he's at least three times worse than whoever's in second place. I almost hate saying it, because he gives off the stink of somebody who's compensated for never being loved by acting like he's right about everything, but the dude's just a double-dipped shitcone.

 

Was also good to see Trump taken down a peg tonight.

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To the religious in Iowa, Cruz was the legitimate choice; everyone knew Trump worships the dollar and whatever wife he can buy, and Rubio never exhibited a proven background stating some hardcore belief system--until convenient, so last night, the real deal won. It was amusing to see the Trump nut polish crew like Fox news' Eric Bolling hammer his 1001 reasons Cruz was "hurt" by the Canadian nonsense, the immigration flip flop, etc., in the week leading to the caucus, only to have it all blow up in his face.

 

As for the Democrats, the media still believes a few thousand people (at a rally) so naive about the world that the go-nowhere socialist noise of man ready for a permanent spot in a rocking chair with lemonade in hand could win the nomination and general beyond. Further, even if some find the following difficult to accept, so narrow is the Sanders supporters' world view that they ignore how he--a Jewish / likely atheist has historically been a poor combination to the black and Hispanic voting block on a national level--which more honest minds see as a serious roadblock for Sanders outside of the east (but a benefit to Clinton). But yeah, a guy supported by such fringe lefties like Ben Cohen, Jerry Greenfield or Tommy Chong is going to address / appeal to bases with more traditional beliefs....

 

I'll believe it when I see it.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

Clinton ahead on the D side

 

Cruz ahead on the R side

 

omg

That's what it looks like, but barely.

 

Clinton 49.6%, Sanders 49.4%, last I heard. Looks like Cruz took it with 23%, to Trump's 22%.

 

 

He promises to bring us back to our his country's Judeo-Christian roots that this his country was built on. Just sayin'.

That is absolutely true. Canada was built on Judeo-Christian roots. America should be more like Canada.

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Clinton ahead on the D side

 

Cruz ahead on the R side

 

omg

That's what it looks like, but barely.

 

Clinton 49.6%, Sanders 49.4%, last I heard. Looks like Cruz took it with 23%, to Trump's 22%.

 

 

He promises to bring us back to our his country's Judeo-Christian roots that this his country was built on. Just sayin'.

That is absolutely true. Canada was built on Judeo-Christian roots. America should be more like Canada.

 

Done--both love drugs (although U.S. politicians pretend they hate it), believe they are the center of the world's cultural elite, kicked indigenous people to reservations and blame minority groups for everything that goes wrong. Almost twins!

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Some initial thoughts:

 

The big story here is not really Cruz, but Rubio. Cruz's victory was relatively easy to predict- he had the momentum going into the holiday season and despite a late minute uptick in the polls for Trump, Cruz was the 'last man standing,' so to speak, in the evangelical bloc. Given the demographics, the evangelical candidate is typically going to win Iowa (see, e.g., Huckabee and Santorum).

 

However, what was unexpected and a little mysterious was Rubio's surge. Not sure exactly how he pulled 23%, but my hypothesis is that he captured most of the undecideds and managed to coalesce some of the establishment vote. Now that's not going to be enough to win in Iowa since there aren't many establishment voters there, but in NH, this could be critical. Cruz has some momentum, sure, but he's about to run into a brick wall in NH, where he's a particularly bad fit. However, Rubio is a great fit and if he somehow united the split establishment behind him, he's got a serious chance to win NH. If he pulled that off, this has some significant implications- first, it almost certainly knocks Trump out of the race (more on that later), but also, it puts Cruz back into the race. Interestingly, Cruz doesn't need to win NH (and he probably knows this, I'm sure), but he does need Trump to get knocked out ASAP, because the next state is SC where he has a shot. This is precisely the time where a gentleman's agreement, behind closed doors in the smoke-filled room, could make sense- something of a Rubio/Cruz alliance to knock out Trump in NH- both benefit.

 

Rubio doesn't necessarily need to win NH either, but he has to run a close second, pull away some of the establishment support from other candidates (Bush, Kasich), and thus signal to establishment voters that are holding out, that Rubio is the guy. If he can do that, he'll probably be able to tread water through Super Tuesday and make it to the spring. That's Rubio's path to victory- just survive until spring, when we start getting to the larger Blue states like IL, NY, FL, CA, etc., all good fits for Rubio and terrible for Cruz. Rubio's got a good shot in these assuming that Trump is out by then.

 

And that's the big question mark- does Trump win NH still? He had an overwhelming lead in prior polls- due to the result in Iowa, I expect some of that to evaporate. I'd say Trump is still the favorite for now (until we see new polling), but there is an opening for Rubio. Again, as I said, I don't think Rubio necessarily has to win NH, but he has to run it close and unify the establishment vote behind one person. Trump on the other hand, has to win NH. Anything other than a win will lead to rapid deflation and an easy victory for Cruz in SC, which will start to change the narrative to a Cruz vs. Rubio race. More than any other candidate, Trump relies on optics, momentum, polling victories, and the narrative that he's a "winner"- he cannot afford a loss in NH. The upside is, if he does win NH, then Cruz is almost certainly done- I'm not sure how he claws back into position in SC if Trump has reclaimed the momentum.

 

So- in essence, this either becomes a Trump vs. Rubio or Cruz vs. Rubio election. It all hangs on NH.

 

Looking way ahead, I'm starting to imagine how the general election would play out against Rubio. I'm curious what the Democrats' strategy would be- their typical playbook of identity politics and accusing the GOP candidate of being an out-of-touch, old, rich white man, would probably fall flat. In fact, it would draw unwelcome contrasts- Rubio being the young minority, Clinton being the old, white, unlikable insider. The optics are rough here on that one- Clinton could be easily baited into looking old, tired, and kinda grouchy next to Rubio. So the Dems would ideally want to stay away from that one. Maybe play the experience card? Potentially a winner, but also somewhat a double edged sword- it's easy to turn that around on Clinton and portray her as the crooked politician that's been in the game too long. And that gets to Clinton's fundamental problem with this election- her Achilles heel, so to speak- a large number of Americans just find her simply unlikable. Now against a Cruz type, that's not a liability since Cruz is even more unlikable. But tougher against a Rubio. On the other hand, the Dems have a demographic advantage that isn't going to disappear just by the GOP running a Hispanic man. So I see it playing out as a nail-biter, close to a 50-50 race, somewhat like 2000. In fact, also like 2000, I think both bases would be relatively unexcited since both candidates would essentially be empty suit corporatists with no real positions. The result in that case probably ends up based on Obama's approval ratings (and some other factors, like the economy) going into the election- if they're good, Clinton wins, otherwise Rubio.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

 

Done--both love drugs (although U.S. politicians pretend they hate it), believe they are the center of the world's cultural elite, kicked indigenous people to reservations and blame minority groups for everything that goes wrong. Almost twins!

 

 

Haha! I was getting at that Cruz wasn't born on US soil, but in Canada, and apparently it's in vogue to ignore the constitution these days (or ignore the fact that the Tea Party was all over Obama's sh*t, because he didn't produce a birth cirtificate fast enough), and since Cruz's mom (AKA Mr. Anti-Immigration) was a US citizen (even if his dad wasn't), it's close enough to being natural born. Just like hand grenades and horseshoes.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

Some initial thoughts:

 

The big story here is not really Cruz, but Rubio. Cruz's victory was relatively easy to predict- he had the momentum going into the holiday season and despite a late minute uptick in the polls for Trump, Cruz was the 'last man standing,' so to speak, in the evangelical bloc. Given the demographics, the evangelical candidate is typically going to win Iowa (see, e.g., Huckabee and Santorum).

 

However, what was unexpected and a little mysterious was Rubio's surge. Not sure exactly how he pulled 23%, but my hypothesis is that he captured most of the undecideds and managed to coalesce some of the establishment vote. Now that's not going to be enough to win in Iowa since there aren't many establishment voters there, but in NH, this could be critical. Cruz has some momentum, sure, but he's about to run into a brick wall in NH, where he's a particularly bad fit. However, Rubio is a great fit and if he somehow united the split establishment behind him, he's got a serious chance to win NH. If he pulled that off, this has some significant implications- first, it almost certainly knocks Trump out of the race (more on that later), but also, it puts Cruz back into the race. Interestingly, Cruz doesn't need to win NH (and he probably knows this, I'm sure), but he does need Trump to get knocked out ASAP, because the next state is SC where he has a shot. This is precisely the time where a gentleman's agreement, behind closed doors in the smoke-filled room, could make sense- something of a Rubio/Cruz alliance to knock out Trump in NH- both benefit.

 

Rubio doesn't necessarily need to win NH either, but he has to run a close second, pull away some of the establishment support from other candidates (Bush, Kasich), and thus signal to establishment voters that are holding out, that Rubio is the guy. If he can do that, he'll probably be able to tread water through Super Tuesday and make it to the spring. That's Rubio's path to victory- just survive until spring, when we start getting to the larger Blue states like IL, NY, FL, CA, etc., all good fits for Rubio and terrible for Cruz. Rubio's got a good shot in these assuming that Trump is out by then.

 

And that's the big question mark- does Trump win NH still? He had an overwhelming lead in prior polls- due to the result in Iowa, I expect some of that to evaporate. I'd say Trump is still the favorite for now (until we see new polling), but there is an opening for Rubio. Again, as I said, I don't think Rubio necessarily has to win NH, but he has to run it close and unify the establishment vote behind one person. Trump on the other hand, has to win NH. Anything other than a win will lead to rapid deflation and an easy victory for Cruz in SC, which will start to change the narrative to a Cruz vs. Rubio race. More than any other candidate, Trump relies on optics, momentum, polling victories, and the narrative that he's a "winner"- he cannot afford a loss in NH. The upside is, if he does win NH, then Cruz is almost certainly done- I'm not sure how he claws back into position in SC if Trump has reclaimed the momentum.

 

So- in essence, this either becomes a Trump vs. Rubio or Cruz vs. Rubio election. It all hangs on NH.

 

Looking way ahead, I'm starting to imagine how the general election would play out against Rubio. I'm curious what the Democrats' strategy would be- their typical playbook of identity politics and accusing the GOP candidate of being an out-of-touch, old, rich white man, would probably fall flat. In fact, it would draw unwelcome contrasts- Rubio being the young minority, Clinton being the old, white, unlikable insider. The optics are rough here on that one- Clinton could be easily baited into looking old, tired, and kinda grouchy next to Rubio. So the Dems would ideally want to stay away from that one. Maybe play the experience card? Potentially a winner, but also somewhat a double edged sword- it's easy to turn that around on Clinton and portray her as the crooked politician that's been in the game too long. And that gets to Clinton's fundamental problem with this election- her Achilles heel, so to speak- a large number of Americans just find her simply unlikable. Now against a Cruz type, that's not a liability since Cruz is even more unlikable. But tougher against a Rubio. On the other hand, the Dems have a demographic advantage that isn't going to disappear just by the GOP running a Hispanic man. So I see it playing out as a nail-biter, close to a 50-50 race, somewhat like 2000. In fact, also like 2000, I think both bases would be relatively unexcited since both candidates would essentially be empty suit corporatists with no real positions. The result in that case probably ends up based on Obama's approval ratings (and some other factors, like the economy) going into the election- if they're good, Clinton wins, otherwise Rubio.

What I found interesting is how OFF the polls were, VS how people voted in Iowa:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/gop_pres_primary/

 

Trump had the majority, in some polls the overwhelming majority. Yet Cruz squeaked out a slim victory. I think this is really the beginning of the end of Trump. He may have popularity, but not among those who actually are voting in the primaries.

 

Interesting theory on a Cruz-Rubio alliance, but if there are any cigar-smoke filled back room deals to be had, if I were Rubio, I think I would go with Trump instead. Here's the thing, Rubio is still coming in 3rd place no matter who is on top. If Cruz ends up winning all, there is no way in hell he is going to tap Rubio for VP. They are both Latino, and both from the south, and more than that, both are from "Bush states" (TX and FL). They are too close in age, and there is not much to differentiate them on foreign policy, which neither has much experience on. On domestic policy, again not much to differentiate them, besides immigration, where Cruz just comes off as a more crazy/angry version of Rubio.

 

However, if there were a Trump-Rubio alliance, it would hurt Cruz and clear the path for Trump. Now I think its likely Trump has his own guy in mind (probably none of the other candidates), but on paper, Trump is older, is (originally) from NY. Granted Trump also has zero foreign policy experience, but there is enough of a stark contrast between the two. As far as economic policy and domestic policy, Trump brings business savvy, and Rubio has been in DC long enough to have necessary connections, without seeming too much of an insider. So I think they would be a better match up, and if Rubio were inclined to make a deal, it would be with Trump, not Cruz.

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The problem with Rubio is that he's not the "hook" for the (assumed) collective open mouth of Hispanics that the condescending GOP would have all believe. Since Rove's "bigger tent" whine after Romney failed in 2012, the GOP thinks the voting population are so simple minded that Rubio--a man i've heard Hispanics refer to as "Hispanic in name only,"--will get happy feet and vote "R" based on race alone. What comes out of a man's mouth is the issue, and as of December of 2015--a political moment ago--here's one view of Rubio in relation to Hispanics--

 

 

 

But instead of honoring his family’s legacy, one of hope, opportunity, and endless possibilities -- Rubio has turned his back on his heritage. Time and time again he has looked at his Latino and immigrant brothers and sisters in the eyes preaching to be “one of them” and then walking away.

 

He has chosen to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Donald Trump and close his eyes to our nation’s promise – the promise that his family was fortunate enough to receive – to protect all American families. Whether in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or Florida, Rubio has made it clear that he has forgotten where he came from. He has made his true intentions known: ending the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program as president, and no longer supporting immigration reform with a path to citizenship, but rather a radical hardline approach that hurts all American families.

 

He has called raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour “a disaster,” even though a rise in wages to $15 an hour would a huge boon to Latino families and communities and hundreds of well respected economists have said that raising wages to $15 would actually help stabilize the economy. According to a recent study by the National Employment Law Project, nearly sixty percent of Latino’s make less than $15.

 

That is not an isolated opinion, or about one issue. Rubio has tried to prove how "conservative" he is, how much the opposite of the hated Obama he is, that a white male--Jeb Bush (with his controversial illegal immigration / "act of love" comment) would end up as the appealing Republican choice than (what would have been inspirational) a Hispanic trying to become the most powerful man on earth.

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Well sure Justus, but I don't think anyone serious is suggesting Rubio will get over 40% of the Hispanic vote like Bush did in 2004. That ship has long since sailed.

 

Be that as it may, however, you have to admit that Rubio as the candidate, love him or hate him, changes the optics in a unfavorable way for the Democrats. A lot of the tried-and-true methods just won't stick to him like they may have against, say, a Romney or McCain. (see my above post for more on that).

 

Not saying he'll necessarily win, of course, but you have to admit the Dems playbook would have to change a little. Which that, plus some lower turnout, may be all the GOP needs in a 50-50 election. Of course, by the fall, if Obama is seen in the same light a la Reagan in 1988, then the Dems will win and there ain't sh-t the GOP can do about that.

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Interesting post Chalup. I hadn't considered that.

 

I still think it makes more sense for Cruz and Rubio to ally though. They both benefit. Sure, you're right that Rubio is coming in 3rd now, but that's not necessarily the case in NH. Cruz is not doing well there and he doesn't expect to (in fact, he's skipping NH and basically focusing on SC which is a better fit for him). Rubio can easily get a 2nd place finish, in fact a strong finish right behind Trump (maybe even surpassing Trump) if he can just chip away at Trump's lead a little. That's where perhaps Cruz can come in.

 

Both people benefit. Cruz gets Trump knocked down a peg, which he desperately needs for SC if he's going to make his stand there. Trump also polls well in SC and Cruz can't afford to lose it, especially if Trump wins NH and gains the momentum. Rubio gains as well- he doesn't need to win NH, but he does need to signal to the establishment that he's their guy, and he needs time to unify the establishment behind him before Trump starts running away with it. Iowa indicated that he's in position to do so, but if he loses to Trump by 20 points while Bush, Kasich, and Christie split the rest of the establishment, Rubio is going to find it hard to survive through Super Tuesday. Cruz can help in that department and target those candidates as well, which incidentally also helps Cruz in SC (again, both are benefiting here).

 

I think both Cruz and Rubio would rather face off against either as the last 2 standing than against Trump. Cruz would, because he can play up being the outsider against the establishment (can't do that against Trump). Rubio would, because he could have full establishment backing (can't necessarily do that against Trump- Trump pulls moderates and also the establishment has recently shown a willingness to support him). I think both realize that if it's them going one on one vs. Trump, it's curtains.

 

That's why I think the alliance makes sense. It's a marriage of convenience until Trump is knocked out, and then the gloves come off.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

Interesting post Chalup. I hadn't considered that.

 

I still think it makes more sense for Cruz and Rubio to ally though. They both benefit. Sure, you're right that Rubio is coming in 3rd now, but that's not necessarily the case in NH. Cruz is not doing well there and he doesn't expect to (in fact, he's skipping NH and basically focusing on SC which is a better fit for him). Rubio can easily get a 2nd place finish, in fact a strong finish right behind Trump (maybe even surpassing Trump) if he can just chip away at Trump's lead a little. That's where perhaps Cruz can come in.

 

Both people benefit. Cruz gets Trump knocked down a peg, which he desperately needs for SC if he's going to make his stand there. Trump also polls well in SC and Cruz can't afford to lose it, especially if Trump wins NH and gains the momentum. Rubio gains as well- he doesn't need to win NH, but he does need to signal to the establishment that he's their guy, and he needs time to unify the establishment behind him before Trump starts running away with it. Iowa indicated that he's in position to do so, but if he loses to Trump by 20 points while Bush, Kasich, and Christie split the rest of the establishment, Rubio is going to find it hard to survive through Super Tuesday. Cruz can help in that department and target those candidates as well, which incidentally also helps Cruz in SC (again, both are benefiting here).

 

I think both Cruz and Rubio would rather face off against either as the last 2 standing than against Trump. Cruz would, because he can play up being the outsider against the establishment (can't do that against Trump). Rubio would, because he could have full establishment backing (can't necessarily do that against Trump- Trump pulls moderates and also the establishment has recently shown a willingness to support him). I think both realize that if it's them going one on one vs. Trump, it's curtains.

 

That's why I think the alliance makes sense. It's a marriage of convenience until Trump is knocked out, and then the gloves come off.

Well, I suppose it depends on who you are talking about, and what they want out of the deal.

 

A Cruz/Rubio alliance certainly benefits Cruz for sure. If Rubio's goal is strictly knock Trump out of the race, and go head to head against Cruz for the presidential nomination, then yeah, it makes sense in that case, too.

 

However, if Rubio is hoping by knocking Trump out of the race that Cruz would tap him for VP, I don't think Cruz would do it. They are too similar in the ways I listed above. Presidential/VP tickets generally have two candidates that appeal to two or more different demographics within the same party, and aside from immigration, there isn't a whole lot of (big) difference between the 2.

 

A Trump/Rubio alliance would certainly benefit Trump more than Cruz, I think, especially if Rubio is open to being VP. If Rubio's endgame is president or nothing, then he may not want to have an alliance with Trump, either. Trump and Rubio are a lot further apart, and appeal to different demographics, and would more likely fit the traditional presidential/VP ticket template. Also, Trump I think would likely be more open to Rubio because unlike Cruz and his crazy talk of my way or the highway, when it comes down to it, Trump would be more open to compromise within and outside the GOP. Cruz has the crazy tea party attitude that it's his way or the highway. Trump, for all his bluster, is also a pragmatist, and would be more willing to compromise, and I think he would benefit from someone like Rubio within his administration, who HAS worked with various factions within the GOP, as well as Dems. Whether or not Trump would do that, who can say.

 

Of course that is all conjecture, but as I see it, if Rubio is willing to be a VP and is willing to make an alliance to do it, I think he benefits more from Trump.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

 

The problem with Rubio is that he's not the "hook" for the (assumed) collective open mouth of Hispanics that the condescending GOP would have all believe. Since Rove's "bigger tent" whine after Romney failed in 2012, the GOP thinks the voting population are so simple minded that Rubio--a man i've heard Hispanics refer to as "Hispanic in name only,"--will get happy feet and vote "R" based on race alone. What comes out of a man's mouth is the issue, and as of December of 2015--a political moment ago--here's one view of Rubio in relation to Hispanics--

 

Rubio may not get a majority of Hispanic/Latino support, but I think of the top three (Trump, Cruz, and Rubio), Rubio seems the most electable, most statesman-like, and most reasonable by far! Especially if Hillary gets the nomination, I think there will be a large GOP turnout, because the last time republicans tried to teach the GOP a "lesson" Obama was elected twice as a result. So, that means Rubio doesn't necessarily need a majority Latino vote.

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Well Chalup, if Rubio is just aiming for VP, then yes, I'd agree that makes sense.

 

But here's the thing- he still has a good chance at the nomination itself. I think it's a little too early still, to be making a play for VP. If I'm advising Rubio, I'm telling him to wait for a few more pieces to fall into the puzzle, starting with NH. Of course, if the writing is on the wall, then Rubio has to make nice ASAP, but he's still got a good shot. Sure, he has to navigate a minefield between now and March, but he's very much in play, in a much better position than say, Bush.

 

Which speaking of Jeb... after Trump spending all last year demolishing him (which by the way, was a pure delight, just beautiful to see), ironically, it's actually in Trump's interest to resurrect Jeb at this point. The last thing Trump wants is for the establishment to unify behind someone, as it looks like it's (slowly) starting to- behind Rubio.

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