Thursday, November 5, 2015

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Weekly Campaign Update 8

The 2015 off-year elections just concluded appeared to give
conservative candidates and issues a resurgence one year
before the all-important national and presidential elections
of 2016. Republicans elected two governors in Mississippi
and Kentucky. The GOP winner in Kentucky was an upset
victor. At local and state elections across the nation,
conservative issues won on many ballot questions, and
Republicans increased the number of seats they hold in
state legislatures. Following the landslide for the GOP in
U.S. house and senate elections in 2014, it appears that there
is growing “Obama fatigue” and unhappiness with the
liberal movement’s lurch to the left during the president’s
administration. Some important caution might be in order,
however, before predicting the continuation of this trend
next year. The GOP seems to be at its natural zenith in U.S.
house races, and the conservative party is defending more
than twice as many senate seats than the liberal party is
defending. Presidential years also, in the recent past, have
brought out the Democratic Party base in great numbers,
although it is uncertain that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic
frontrunner, can inspire voters as Mr. Obama did. Much
depends, it would seem, on whom the Republicans settle for
their nominee and ticket. The GOP presidential races remains
very unsettled and volatile going into the new year.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, along with Florida
Senator Marco Rubio, seems to be one of the few GOP
presidential hopefuls making some gains in the polls and
on the airwaves in recent days. Working off his standout
recent debate performances, and campaigning heavily in
Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr. Christie has seen his
favorabilty rise dramatically. The New Jersey governor still
trails in fundraising, and his national numbers are low, but
his campaign is showing early signs of breaking out in the
large field of contestants. In a late development, Fox News
has announced that Mr. Christie and former Governor Mike
Huckabee will not be in the next main GOP debate. This
could be a blow to Mr, Christie's campaign, but it could
also be a test of how he handles adversity. This developing
story could have unexpected consequences. Senator Rubio
has had even more notable recent gains, and is drawing
increased scrutiny as a result. He will be in the next debate/
Senator Cruz had an excellent third debate, and his poll
numbers are also rising, but it is believed that many voters
who could be drawn to his candidacy are now supporting
Donald Trump (who with Ben Carson continues to lead the
field in most polls). This contest is now entering a new phase
as the primaries and caucuses draw near.

Headlines across the nation every day tout new problems
and failures of the program popularly called Obamacare as
more and more individuals are being denied coverage, and
rates in many states are rising rapidly. The Affordable Care
Act, as it is officially known, is turning out not to provide as
much care as initially promised, and where it is in effect, not
so affordably. More and more Republican figures are offering
free market alternatives, including one by former Speaker
Newt Gingrich and one just put forward by presidential
candidate former Governor Jeb Bush. New Speaker Paul Ryan
is committed to repeal in 2017. The notion that Obamacare
cannot be repealed is turning out to be a myth.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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