Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thoughts on the Presidential Race so Far

Started on this a few weeks back and never got around to finishing it. But here are a few thoughts on the latest people to declare for the presidency. And all the money pouring into the campaigns

My original title for the post was going to be: Two More Throw Their Hats in the Ring

Just thinking about that where exactly did that saying come from. Obviously this refers to boxing. This is what I found out:

The ring in question here is a boxing ring. These, of course used to be circular spaces in a crowd of onlookers, rather than the square, roped ‘rings’ of contemporary pugilism. Any Jack the lad who fancied his chances in a bout would throw in his hat - presumably this was a more reliable way of putting oneself forward than just shouting over the hubbub of the crowd.

The expression dates from at least the early 19th century. The earliest citation of it that I have found is from an 1805 issue of The Sporting Magazine, or as the publishers preferred to call it The Sporting Magazine or Monthly Calendar of the Transactions of the Turf, the Chace, and every other Diversion Interesting to the Man of Pleasure, Enterprise and Spirit:

Belcher appeared confident of success [in a boxing match], and threw his hat into the ring, as an act of defiance to his antagonist
So now that that is out of the way.

As to the two most recent announcements: Marco Rubio and Hilary Clinton well they couldn’t have been more different. Rubio had a huge rally essentially saying it’s time for the old farts to get out of the way. Clinton’s was extremely low key. Announcing on the web. Then taking off on a listening tour. Reminiscent of what she did when she ran for the Senate all those many years ago.

So now there are three Republicans running and one Democrat. The first caucus won’t happen until January of next year. Plenty of time for plenty more candidates to enter the race. Most likely just about all of them will be on the Republican side.

It makes me wonder, in this very crowded Republican field, how one of them thinks they will become hot. The answer is money. Money from a very few very rich people that can carry a candidate and prolong their campaigns.

“There could be as many as a dozen candidates that have a threshold amount of money in their campaigns and super PACs to compete vigorously in the early states,” said Phil Cox, a Republican strategist who runs America Leads, a super PAC supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that has the backing of at least two billionaires.

Some party operatives say 2016 could be the first race in the modern era in which a candidate does not need to win Iowa or New Hampshire to prevail. Strong showings in those early states have historically translated into much-needed financial momentum. But this time, wealthy patrons might keep their favorite picks aloft through independent spending.

Contenders such as Cruz and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee are crafting long-game strategies, staking their hopes on a wave of Southern-state primaries that will not take place until March. Although next year’s compressed primary schedule could intensify the momentum for a front-runner, it could also help a range of contenders pick up delegates if a single leader does not emerge quickly.

It means candidates will have the ability to stay in longer even if they don’t do particularly well electorally. They will have the money to do so. Now whether they stay in the race is another matter entirely. But, with the shear number of candidates running on the Republican side, it means it could take longer for the field to narrow down. I’m not sure that does any favor for the eventual Republican nominee. Republicans certainly showed in the last presidential election that they don’t play well with others.

Certainly Romney was hurt in his primary contests that and the number of debates. The number of debates has been reduced the idea being to reduce the potential for the candidates to throw punches against each other. But with access to so much money candidates may rely more on media to get their digs in on their fellow candidates.

The sums of money raised will be vast.

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