Tags: Trump Administration | Real Clear Politics | no heavy favorite | brokered convention

Real Clear Politics: 2016 GOP Field Deeper, More Qualified

By    |   Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:34 AM

The nominating process for the 2016 Republican presidential candidate could be fraught with chaos because of the unusually large number of candidates who will likely run, creating real problems for the GOP, which is likely to end up without what many might consider a powerful, unifying nominee, an analysis by Real Clear Politics suggests.

The candidate who does emerge could very likely come from a brokered convention, notes RCP's Sean Trende of possible scenarios.

"I see a race that is largely chaotic. It is one where an unusually large number of candidates have perfectly plausible paths, if not to the nomination, then at least to lengthy runs deep into the balloting process,"  Trende said.

"This is because 2016 really is the deepest GOP field in a very, very long time. In fact, it isn't even close. To be clear, that doesn't mean the eventual candidate is (or will be) the strongest Republican nominee ever. I think that's unlikely…" he added. "This year, eighth place will probably be a candidate we now see as a legitimate contender for the nomination."

Among those mentioned on the list of possible GOP nominees include Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, John Bolton, Peter King, along with possibly Mike Pence and Rick Snyder, RCP said.

Using a rating system, giving points for political heft and also "star power," Trende says the field is a more qualified one from years past, noting a 56-point score today versus just 39 points for candidates who ran in 2008.

He adds of his analysis: "It is likely that some of these candidates will drop out as we approach actual voting for the usual reasons: they fail to gain traction in the polls, fail to raise money, or are excluded from debates. At the same time, I think that this "early winnowing" effect will be more muted than is usually the case. Most of the candidates on my list tend to draw support from different wings of the party, have different bases of fundraising, and will register at least some support in Iowa.

"Someone might catch fire, but I think the lack of an overwhelmingly strong candidate means that it is just as likely that the polling remains very tight, with candidates struggling to make it out of the low teens," Trende predicts. "This keeps even marginal candidates in striking distance and will decrease the incentive to drop out. Our hypothetical field of 16 might be 10 by caucus day, but it will be a very serious group of 10."

Some pundits are already questioning whether a crowded field may be detrimental to Republicans in the end. "While it is not often that after eight years of a presidency that a president's party wins the next election, a Republican field of a dozen or more candidates may ensure just that," writes Forbes contributor Thomas Del Baccaro in a column published Wednesday.

Noting the size of the GOP field thus far, possibly as many as 25 candidates, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza calls it "the biggest in the modern history of Republican nominating fights."

He adds: "The reason is simple: The field — even with Bush and maybe even Romney in it — is more wide open than any race for the GOP nomination in more than two decades. There's no heavy favorite; heck, there's barely a front-runner."

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The nominating process for the 2016 Republican presidential candidate could be fraught with chaos because of the unusually large number of candidates who will likely run, an analysis by Real Clear Politics suggests.
Real Clear Politics, no heavy favorite, brokered convention
Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:34 AM
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