Thursday, February 11, 2016


I am waiting to read this mornings gloating Star Ledger now that Christie has abandoned his campaign. He could have had the nomination 4 years ago but rightfully refused to run since he felt he had not yet had enough administrative experience.

CHRISTIE: NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell writes that even though Chris Christie dropped out of the GOP race, he may be the candidate who's done the most to alter the outcome. 

Some comments yesterday after New Hampshire from the Washington Post and USA Today.

According to the Associated Press, which is heroically tracking the totals this time, so we don’t have to (yet), the pledged delegate total out of New Hampshire -- the number of delegates awarded based on electoral results -- was Sanders 15, Clinton 9. But Clinton has the support of six of the state's superdelegates -- party leaders and elected officials who are free to back anyone they want, regardless of election results. In other words, as of this afternoon, Clinton and Sanders -- who beat Clinton by more than 20 points -- were walking away from New Hampshire with the same number of delegates. By the AP's count, Hillary Clinton currently has nearly 394 delegates to Sanders's 44. (It takes 2,832 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.)

No non-incumbent Democrat has ever run for president with as much early superdelegate support as Hillary Clinton had this year before a single vote was cast -- not even Hillary Clinton herself, the last time she ran for president. Which is not to say that unbound delegates can’t shift support -- they are, after all, not bound to any candidate. Winning them over is just a much, much taller order for Sanders than it was for Obama. The electability question alone is a far bigger challenge for an agnostic socialist from New England than it ever was for someone who, when you get right down to it, was essentially a center-left lawyer from the Midwest. Obama’s ability to quickly gain support from African-American leadership was critical to his ability to close the superdelegate gap; Bernie Sanders has been making gains on that front, but he doesn't have Hillary Clinton's long history with the community, or Obama's personal ties

If Bernie Sanders were to rack up a few more wins, and Clinton’s superdelegate advantage were to remain even half as lopsided as it does now, the Democratic Party would probably become the top target on the Sanders "establishment" hit list

USA: She has a masterful command of foreign policy. Her prescriptions for handling Wall Street, college tuition and Obamacare make more sense than Sanders’ politically impractical plans, which have been derided — snarkily but not entirely unfairly — as free college, free health care and a pony. Clinton retains a 13-point lead over Sanders in the Real Clear Politics national polling average and is favored to win most primaries from here on, especially as the electorate becomes more diverse than in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Even so, Clinton’s weaknesses grow clearer by the day. She’s having problems appealing to young voters, even young women. And she continues to be dogged by such self-inflicted problems as her private email server and her six-figure speeches to Wall Street investment banks.

The Republican front-runner (Trump) currently has fewer than two dozen of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination. He may not get there before the convention. Nobody might either. Mocking the fevered reporter speculation about contested conventions is as much of a hallowed tradition as the speculation itself -- even if the prospect right now is much less laughable than it’s ever been before. But a delegate mess doesn’t have to last until Philadelphia or Cleveland to spark nomination-sized headaches.

Donald Trump’s victory in New Hampshire, at this moment, appears unlikely to be his last. Ted Cruz has demonstrated an ability to organize a grassroots army and develop delegate strategies for a very long game -- one that includes, yes, Guam. And there is a very sizable, very wary, increasingly vocal chunk of the Republican establishment -- by definition, the people who set up the party's rules in the first place -- who are far from ready to accept either Trump or Cruz as their nominee without a fierce fight, and who are likely to (eventually) consolidate behind one or two alternatives. All three camps have both determination and deep pockets.

USA: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a far-right candidate who fires up true believers, won in Iowa. Real estate tycoon Donald Trump, meanwhile, won Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, fueled by Republicans who feel betrayed by the GOP establishment and are looking for an outsider.

Neither looks like a particularly strong candidate in November’s general election. Cruz polls poorly outside of the conservative base and is widely disliked by his peers in Washington. And almost every time Trump opens his mouth, he raises questions as to whether he has the temperament to be president; just in the past few days, he endorsed torture as an instrument of U.S. policy and repeated a vulgarism to describe what he saw as Cruz’s insufficient commitment to waterboarding.

Perhaps it is time for Republicans to stop looking at the race as entertainment, or as a vehicle for their anger, or as a way to send the establishment an ill-defined message, and start seeing it for what it is: a prime opportunity to win back the White House after two long terms on the outside.

To that end, they might take another look at the current and former governors running for office. To date, those remaining — including Jeb Bush of Florida, Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio — have struggled for traction. On Tuesday in New Hampshire, Kasich finished second and Bush was battling Cruz for third place.

General-election voters often place a premium on governors’ kind of executive experience, and for good reason. Although they generally lack foreign-policy experience, governors are battle-tested. They have had to make tough decisions and live with the consequences. They have to run things larger than their mouths or their congressional offices. They have to balance budgets and compromise with the other party.

This year’s propensity of some voters to shun the more experienced candidates may be understandable, given the anxiety over stagnant wages and the rise of the Islamic State. But the economy is not in such bad shape, certainly not in Iowa, where the unemployment rate is 3.4%, or New Hampshire, where it is 3.1%. And while gridlock in Washington is disconcerting, it is not likely to be solved by an inexperienced president.

For an in depth opinion on the candidates' delegate prospects this link to Sabato's report is worth while. /crystalball/ There are 3 discussions, also scroll to the third

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