February 23

And Then, There Were Five

It is hard to believe that after 17 candidates entered the GOP primary race, there are only five left. The Republican National Convention will be held this year from July 18-21, a date that is fast approaching. Five candidates dropped out before the Iowa Caucus, the first being Governor Mitt Romney, followed ten days later by Governor Scott Walker. After the Iowa Caucus, Governor Huckabee, Senator Santorum, and Senator Rand Paul suspended their campaigns, while the rest held on to see how they faired in New Hampshire. When those votes were cast, Governor Christie, Carly Fiorina, and Governor Gilmore joined the group. And then, after South Carolina, jaws dropped as Governor Bush announced he would not longer run for the presidency, despite raising 150 million dollars from donors who firmly believed he could take it all the way.

So now, there are five candidates left: Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Kasich, and Ben Carson. The last two, are holding on to their campaigns, confident that they can make up some numbers by July. But we will most likely see this number drop down to three. With July in mind, what can we expect? We are taking out the crystal ball, to make some predictions in a totally unpredictable race.

1) Donald Trump

Trump proved that his poll numbers had some serious might behind them. After coming second in the Iowa Caucus, Trump promised to live up to his statement that he was a winner, and pull out all the stops in New Hampshire. Whatever he did, his tactics worked, and he won by big numbers in this very important purple state. He carried this momentum into South Carolina, also winning big against rival Ted Cruz. There is a seriously good chance that he will make it all the way to win the primary, but the question lies with whether or not the Republican National Committee will nominate him. There has been back door conversations about brokering the convention, so that the party leaders can pick who they think should be the nominee, despite who wins majority of the states. If this happens, you can expect a total backlash, as Trump’s followers are against exactly this principle. They are tired of the “establishment,” and this move might just be the topping on the case. But unless there is a total turnaround, Trump seems to be the candidate most likely to win.

2) Senator Ted Cruz

Cruz appeals largely to the same type of voter who would vote for Trump. Also anti-establishment, this senator from Texas has a campaign tactic that seems almost flawless. Some “dirty” political moves has given him bad press, but also gave him Iowa. We can expect for him to totally try and dethrone Trump, and to take his followers while doing so. Cruz will go all the way to the end, and will pull out all the stops with the Oval Office in his sight. His plan is to show those who want “anti-establishment” that Trump is actually part of the party big wigs, and that he is not a true conservative. Cruz has popular radio host Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck on his side, and will do everything he can to repeat exactly what happened in Iowa. Even though poll numbers suggest otherwise, Cruz’s grassroots campaign is a powerful force to be reckoned with, and he will use his magical formula to give Trump a run for his money (literally).

3) Senator Marco Rubio

While Rubio is not on top, if you looked at his political endorsements, it would seem like he is easily in first place. In South Carolina, he had Governor Nikki Haley openly endorse and campaign for him. In Iowa, he shocked everyone by coming in third, a true victory for his campaign. If the Republican National Convention is brokered, you can bet that Rubio is on the top of the list. While he has been pinned as a “robot,” he is definitely more moderate than the two candidates ahead of him, and as the race continues, this might come to his advantage. The primary is the toughest part of the race for any Republican, and his mindset is most likely that if he can stay tough, there is still a very good chance he might become the nominee. Florida is a powerful purple state and his home, which he will use to his advantage when that time comes. Rubio has his eyes set, and like Cruz, will fight to the end.

4) Governor Kasich

An important political fact: no president has ever won the election without winning Ohio. Kasich is a popular governor from this very state, where the Republican National Convention will be held in July.  Kasich is slowly gaining attention, and now since there are only five candidates, media time. For those voters who are still undecided, they might finally hear what Kasich has to say, and make their mind up. For more moderate Republicans, they may find their perfect political match. We can expect to hear much more about him as the weeks roll by, and also expect Bush’s supporters to turn their attention to him. While definitely not appealing to the Tea Party, this will be his strength for the different factions within the Republican Party. His state’s successful economy will also help him as time goes by, and track records followed by a clear economic plan will become more important.

5) Ben Carson

Carson had all the buzz surrounding him weeks ago, especially when some polls showed him ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa. His poll numbers, however, did not match his voter turnout. Some said this was due to Cruz’ allusion that he would drop out after Iowa, so he lost the wind in his Evangelical sails. We can expect Carson to be the next to go, but can also expect him not to go far.  His popularity, his demeanor, and his appeal to certain political groups would make him an excellent Vice President choice. Carson will surely push it until there is no hope left, but definitely stay in the political periphery.