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According to Jonah Goldberg, John Kasich is “the thing that wouldn’t leave.” Tuesday night, his campaign manager sang the same tired song that Gov. Kasich’s been singing for a month — that he’s the only candidate that can defeat Hillary this fall. Coming from a candidate that’s won a single primary in 32 attempts, you’d think that he’d have a better argument than that.

The fact that he doesn’t indicates that his neighbors in wherever he’s living include the Easter Bunny, Alice and Little Red Riding Hood.

Rather than argue against poll numbers, let’s fight about something important. The reason Kasich isn’t the most electable is because Republicans have repeatedly rejected him. That fact notwithstanding, the truth is that Gov. Kasich put everything into winning New Hampshire. Though he got beat there, he proclaimed “Tonight, the light overcame the darkness.” Right. Why didn’t I notice that?

Gov. Kasich won his home state primary to break his losing streak. Later that night, he started the losing streak he’s currently on. The first thing competitive candidates learn is that you can’t win if you don’t have your base locked down. Stating that Gov. Kasich doesn’t have his base locked down is understatement.

By comparison, I wrote this article to highlight all the different demographic groups that Sen. Cruz won Tuesday night. What we’ve found out is that Sen. Cruz pretty much won every demographic group:

Senator Ted Cruz won the Wisconsin Republican primary with support from voters across income and education levels. Mr. Cruz even won among voters without high school diplomas, and ran even with Donald J. Trump among those with family incomes below $50,000 per year, typical strongholds for Mr. Trump, according to exit polls by Edison Research.

Mr. Trump carried voters who said they wanted the next president to come from outside the political establishment. But Mr. Cruz pulled ahead among those who feel betrayed by Republican Party politicians, a group that has often broken in Mr. Trump’s favor. Mr. Cruz outpaced Mr. Trump by double digits among evangelicals, and he took more than three-fifths of very conservative voters, two of his most stalwart demographics.

The truth is that Kasich doesn’t have a path to the nomination. The longer he sticks around, the narrower the path to being someone’s running mate becomes.

It’s time The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave left the stage. Finally, it’s worth highlighting the fact that the trio of GOP candidates got 1,064,176 votes, which is 71,291 votes more than the Democrats won.

If, God forbid, the general election pits Hillary against The Donald, the most important factor might be whether Hillary is better at playing the victim card or whether Trump is better at playing the whiner. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess on who wins that match-up.

What isn’t open for debate is whether Trump’s demographic troubles are too deep to dig out of. This graphic shows Trump underwater with Hispanics in a big way:

That’s a net -65 with Hispanics. By comparison, Romney lost Hispanics by 44 points in 2012. Trump performs worse than Romney. It’s interesting to note that Trump accuses Romney of running a terrible campaign and of losing an election he should’ve won. Then there’s Trump’s women problem.

I’m not talking specifically about Trump’s name-calling of women like Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina, although that’s contributing to his women problem. Trump’s rating with women is terrible:

The good news for Trump is that his net favorability with women is better than his net favorability with Hispanics. Trump is just a -47 with women compared with a -65 with Hispanics. The bad news is that women make up a majority of voters in the United States.

Which brings us to whether voters will vote for a whiner like Trump:

Trump: Honestly Kasich should not be allowed to run. And I’ll go opposite on you- he hurts Trump much more than he hurts Cruz. And, in New York, I have tremendous numbers in New York and I have tremendous numbers in Pennsylvania, those two numbers just came out from CBS, I guess you saw them…but Kasich shouldn’t be allowed to run.

Reporter: Under what grounds?

Trump: Under the grounds that Rand Paul could have stayed in, and he had nothing. Marco Rubio could have stayed in, Jeb Bush could have stayed in. They all could have stayed in. They could have just stayed in. That’s all he’s doing. He’s 1 for 29. And the one thing that he won barely, and if I spent one more day in Ohio, I would have beaten him because I came pretty close. The only thing Kasich won was Ohio, where he’s the governor and where he has the machine working. Which isn’t doing well, it’s in the middle of the pack of his neighbors. He’s only in the middle of his pack, he’s not doing well in Ohio. If you look at his neighboring states, he’s exactly in the middle of the pack. That’s not great. Kasich shouldn’t be allowed to continue, and the RNC shouldn’t allow him to continue. And Kasich has more of an impact on me than he does on Cruz.

Kasich shouldn’t be allowed to continue because he hurts Trump more than he hurts Cruz? What a whiner. A candidate’s supporters and family have the final say over who stays in and who needs to drop out, not King Donald.

Jonah Goldberg’s article highlights the transition that’s happening within the Republican nominating race. Goldberg rightly highlights the fact that candidates are starting to use reality TV tactics against the reality TV star. Goldberg also highlights the fact that Mr. Trump doesn’t like it when the tactics that he’s used against his opponents are used against him.

When Mr. Goldberg wrote about shows like Survivor, The Bachelor and The Apprentice, he said that “in many of these shows, the game is played the same way: Groups form alliances. Sometimes these alliances are formal, often they are tacit and voluntary — but they are all temporary.” Then he said “Trump has been playing the game all along, and now that he’s ahead, he doesn’t think anyone should be allowed to change their tactics to beat him.”

It isn’t surprising that Mr. Trump doesn’t like having his tactics turned against him. That’s because Mr. Trump doesn’t like losing. That’s tough. It isn’t required that he like having the tables turned on himself.

The race has hit a potential tipping point. If Trump wins Ohio and Florida, he’ll be the GOP nominee. After last night’s debate, it isn’t as likely to go Trump as it was the night of Super Tuesday. That’s partially because John Kasich had a solid performance, partially because Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz beat up on Trump last night.

Further complicating matters is the #NeverTrump movement on Twitter. It would be deliciously ironic if Twitter took down the Twitter gutter snipe. In state after state, politicians and conservative activists are putting together a movement that’s opposing Mr. Trump. They’re saying that they’ll never vote for Trump, even if he’s the GOP nominee. That gives activists in the upcoming states a base of support to vote for the Republican not named Trump with the most support in that state.

In Florida, that means the #NeverTrump forces should rally to Sen. Rubio. In Ohio, they should support John Kasich. The first goal of the movement is to deny Trump a first ballot victory at the Republican National Convention. The next goal is to pick a candidate that Republicans can unite around.

Trump’s supporters won’t like it if he’s denied the nomination but that’s tough. At this point, we should admit that the GOP won’t be a portrait in family harmony. The good news is that they don’t need to be. The GOP won’t be running against a juggernaut. They’ll be running against Hillary Clinton, who is a mediocre candidate.

I won’t predict that #NeverTrump will tip the nomination in the direction of Cruz, Kasich or Rubio. I will say, however, that it isn’t the longshot that Charles Krauthammer and Laura Ingraham think it is. It doesn’t help Trump that he’s constantly changing positions on important policies. In this instance, he changed his position on H-1B visas twice in a night:

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One of the worst moments from the FBN-Wall St. Journal GOP Debate came when Carly Fiorina interrupted Rand Paul to highlight President Reagan’s walking away from negotiations in Reykjavik “when it was time to quit talking.” Listen to the reaction to Mr. Trump:

That’s a two-fer. First, Carly highlighted her substantive differences with Sen. Paul by noting that continuous chatting isn’t always wise. That’s what this administration, especially Hillary and John Kerry, have done. Their history has been a disaster. Second, Trump looked sexist because he interrupted Mrs. Fiorina but he didn’t interrupt Gov. Kasich or the other men when they tried jumping into the debate. I don’t think Trump is sexist but it’s obvious that that’s how it played in the Theater.

Saying that Frank Luntz’s focus group in New Hampshire had a negative reaction to John Kasich’s answer on the bank bailout is understatement:

To be fair, the people in the Theater didn’t have a positive reaction to Gov. Kasich’s answer, either.

For all intents and purposes, Kasich’s campaign and Jeb’s campaigns are ‘dead-men-walking’ campaigns. While people haven’t made their final decision, they’ve made up their mind in terms of rejecting Gov. Kasich and Gov. Bush.

Charlie Cook’s latest article on the state of the GOP presidential race has more than a few flaws in it. He got this part right:

First there is the establishment bracket, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and possibly former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney competing for that semifinal slot.

Despite the MSM’s ‘reporting’, this isn’t where the action is. It’s mostly a sideshow that’ll keep the DC pundits entertained. Think of this as the ‘vastly overrated’ part of the race.

Cook didn’t get this part right:

Then there is the conservative governor/former governor slot—with, potentially, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker competing, all seeking to be non-Washington and non-Congress candidates, but each with more conservative, or at least better conservative, credentials than Bush, Christie, or Romney.

John Kasich lost his conservative credentials over the weekend when he fought for Common Core. That’s a deal-buster with conservatives. It isn’t likely that Rick Snyder and Mike Pence will run so they can be ignored. That leaves us with Rick Perry and Scott Walker. That’s the real bracket. Let’s call this the conservatives with credentials bracket.

The MSM is writing off Rick Perry. That’s a major mistake. He’s a much more serious candidate this time than in 2012. He’s got a lengthy list of conservative reforms under his belt. He’s definitely anti-Washington. He’s definitely pro-border enforcement, which plays well with conservative activists. He’s signed tort reform, which has led to a major influx of doctors into Texas. While most of the nation worries about doctor shortages, that isn’t a worry in Texas.

That leaves Scott Walker in this bracket. Activists see him as the giant-killer who took on the public employee unions and beat them. Then the PEUs got upset with him and tried defeating him in a recall election. The PEUs took another thumping in 2012. They didn’t have their fill so they returned for another shot in 2014. Gov. Walker’s Act 10 reforms were so popular that Mary Burke, the Democrats’ candidate, didn’t even mention the subject.

That’s one of the brackets where the excitement will be.

Then there’s the youthful senators bracket. This bracket features Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. I don’t know that any of these candidates will advance to the finals but they’ll generate lots of excitement.

At the end of the day, I suspect that the finalists will be Walker and someone else. I’d be surprised if that someone else is Jeb Bush. Bush is definitely more formidable with the media than with activists.

After reading Daniel Halper’s article, it’s clear that there isn’t a clear Republican frontrunner. Still, the unscientific poll is helpful. Here’s the results of TWS’ unscientific poll:

Scott Walker–mentioned on 44% of the ballots as either first, second or third choice; first choice on 18%. Thus, 44/18.

Ted Cruz–35/16.
Ben Carson–26/10.
Mitt Romney–24/12.
Bobby Jindal–20/3.
Jeb Bush–18/8.
Marco Rubio–18/4.
Rand Paul–16/6.
John Kasich–15/4.
Rick Perry–15/3.
Mike Huckabee–12/3.
John Bolton–10/3.
Mike Pence–9/2.
Chris Christie–8/2.
Rick Santorum–7/2.

I don’t agree with Bill Kristol’s statement:

So the most important take-away from the poll is this, I think: not only isn’t there a clear front-runner, there’s not even a clear handful of front-runners.

I strongly disagree with that statement, though I agree that there isn’t “a clear front-runner.” I’d disagree that there isn’t a “handful of front-runners.” Clearly, there’s a handful of front-runners. That group is made up of Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, with Gov. Bush coming in with a lackluster finish.

At this point, it’s difficult to take Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and Rick Santorum seriously. I’ll give Pence, Perry and Kasich a shot, though it’s clear they’re in a lower tier at this moment, because they can raise money and they have a compelling record to run on.

It’s impossible to picture a path to the nomination for Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie or Rick Santorum. Huckabee and Santorum won the 2008 and 2012 Iowa caucuses but their base of Christian conservatives isn’t their’s anymore. Scott Walker’s message will play well with Christian conservatives. Rand Paul’s libertarian message will appeal to voters in New Hampshire but it won’t play well in Iowa and Florida. Sen. Paul’s message definitely won’t play in South Carolina, with its military bases and its Bible Belt roots.

In 2012, Mitt Romney got trounced in South Carolina. It isn’t a stretch to think that he won’t do well this time.

It’s a million political lifetimes away but there’s already some voter sorting happening already. It’ll be interesting to see whether that stratification continues.

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Hillary and Jeb Bush need each other politically. Hillary can’t win the 2016 presidential campaign if Jeb isn’t the GOP nominee. She could defeat Mitt Romney or Chris Christie, too, but the only people taking them seriously work at East Coast newspapers.

Wes Pruden’s column hits on a point that the DC media hasn’t written about:

Hillary can’t win, and that’s why she won’t run. She may not know that yet herself, but a lot of Democrats want her because she’s all they’ve got. The Republicans are counting on her to run because they think she’s the candidate they can beat in what looks from here like it could be a Republican year.

I don’t agree with Mr. Pruden’s opinion that she won’t run. Hillary’s ego is too big to admit that she isn’t presidential material. She’s lived her life with the belief that she’s entitled to the job. She’s put up with Bill’s affairs, which she thinks, again, entitles her to her own presidential administration.

The point that I agree with Mr. Pruden on is that she’s the best the Democrats have to offer at this point. She’s mediocre but she’s at the top of the Democrats’ list. There aren’t any talented Democratic governors out there. On the Republican side, there’s an embarrassment of riches in terms of talented Republican governors. The top tier of Republican governors is filled with Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Mike Pence.

The next tier is still pretty talented. Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval and Rick Perry inhabit that tier. Each these governors have a substantial list of accomplishments.

By comparison, Hillary’s top accomplishments are that she a) was a US senator from a state so blue that toxic waste would get elected if they had a D behind their name and b) did more travelling as the US Secretary of State than any other US Secretary of State. People can’t look at her and say what her defining policy accomplishment was. They certainly can’t identify something she did as Secretary of State that protected the US from terrorists or that helped defeat the terrorists.

In short, Hillary checked off the appropriate boxes, which qualifies her to get thumped in a presidential election.

Successful men and women are born with an instinct for politics, or they never have it. Bubba was born with it, along with the ability to change convictions like changing his pants. The politicians who have it have no shame exploiting it. If they have the ability to wink, smile and say the right thing they can get by with anything short of murder, and maybe that, too. What can you do with a good ol’ boy like Bubba? He only rarely hit a false note. Hillary never hits anything but.

She’s stiff and wooden as a public speaker, as if trying to prove Dr. Johnson’s famous aphorism that a woman preaching is like a dog trying to walk on its hind legs. Hillary is tone-deaf besides. She’s always starting on her “back foot,” as the English say, and she’s a mediocre campaigner, too.

Hillary’s book tour was a disaster. When Hillary’s history is written, most historians will say that Hillary’s book tour is when her presidential ambitions essentially died.

After watching this video, it’s clear that Jeb Bush doesn’t have a clue about conservatism:

This post shows that Paige Lavender, a reporter/commentator for Huffington Post, is utterly clueless. Before we get into Jeb Bush’s statements, here’s what Ms. Lavender said:

PAIGE LAVENDER: We’ve seen in the last 2 election cycles that the Republican primary tends to favor the more conservative candidate.

In 2008, there weren’t any conservatives in the race. Of the liberals, John McCain was the most liberal. He got the nomination. In 2012, the GOP candidates were marginally more conservative. Mitt Romney wasn’t as liberal as McCain but he wasn’t a conservative, either. He was simply the least liberal of the liberals running.

The good news is that Republicans will have a handful of conservatives to pick from in 2016, starting with Scott Walker, then adding John Kasich and possibly Mike Pence. GOP activists won’t have to hold their noses when supporting one of these candidates. Conservatives will be able to enthusiastically support one of these three candidates.

The last 20 seconds of this video will hurt Gov. Bush:

Here’s what Gov. Bush said:

GOV. BUSH: I kinda know how a Republican can win, whether it’s me or somebody else and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to, you know, to be practical now in the Washington world, to be willing to lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles.

Jeb Bush, like Mike Huckabee before him, doesn’t have a clue about conservatism. True conservatism has a healthy libertarian streak to it, mixed with a healthy skepticism of Washington, DC-run programs. We prefer smallish programs administered at the local level because that’s the best way to ensure accountability. Gov. Bush enthusiastically supports Common Core, which is federalizing education curriculum and standardizing tests nationwide. It’s even telling school boards which text books fit with Common Core’s curriculum.

Conservatism is about giving people lots of positive options, whether we’re talking about families’ health care decisions or telling parents that they can send their children to schools that aren’t failing students.

For the last 6-8 years, Republicans had to play defense because Democrats controlled the agenda. The next Republican president will work with GOP majorities in the House and Senate. That means they’ll be setting the agenda. Their first assignment must be to fix the messes created by President Obama, Sen. Reid and Nancy Pelosi. That means finally getting the fed to shut off the QE2 spigot. That’ll require the GOP to starting over with health care reform. This time, it’s imperative to get it right. Getting America’s economy requires siding with construction unions while ignoring environmental activists on pipeline projects.

There’s no shortage of things that need fixing. When a Republican governor is elected to become the 45th president of the United States, he’ll have lots of things to fix or to get started on. Hopefully, the 45th president won’t be Jeb Bush.

It was inevitable that the Democrats’ divide would deepen after their trouncing in this year’s midterms. This article highlights some of the infighting within the Democratic Party:

Tensions within the Democratic Party over policy and strategy have begun to surface after a midterm defeat that saw the party lose control of the Senate after eight years and cede more seats to Republicans in the House of Representatives.

The most glaring example came Tuesday, when Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, criticized President Barack Obama over the 2010 health care overhaul. Schumer said the party should have focused on helping more of the middle class than the uninsured, whom he called “a small percentage of the electorate.” Schumer added that Obamacare was just one of a “cascade of issues” that the White House had bungled, a list that included the scandal over wait times at VA hospitals and responding to the threat of the Ebola virus.

Does this mean that the Democratic circular firing squad will report to the range ASAP? I’d argue that the signs indicate that they’re already at the range. I’d argue that they’re in the ‘target acquisition’ phase of the operation. This year’s exit polling showed rampant dissatisfaction with Democrats:

If Republicans win 35-40% of the Hispanic vote and win a majority of the Asian-American vote, Democrats will find 2016 to be difficult terrain. If that happens, the infighting that’s happening right now will only intensify.

This graphic shows another Democratic vulnerability:

This graphic is proof that demographics aren’t destiny. Actually, both graphics send the same message. What this exit polling shows is that candidate quality and issues matter. In 2016, especially with presidential candidates, Democrats have a virtually nonexistent bench.

While it’s undeniable that Hillary has 100% name recognition for people who haven’t spent the last 20 years living under a rock, that hardly proves she’s a quality. She’s famous because Bill Clinton is a popular ex-president. She’s famous for being one of the worst secretaries of state in the last century. She isn’t famous for being a competent secretary of state. Political junkies saw how untalented she is during her book tour. The number of deer-in-the-headlights moments easily outdistanced her ‘Hillary looks competent’ moments.

Hillary will lose if Republicans pick a talented governor who doesn’t come with a ton of baggage. That eliminates Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. If Republicans pick either Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mike Pence or Bobby Jindal, Republicans will defeat Hillary and send the Democratic Party into a tailspin.

After John McCain lost in 2008, I spoke with a friend about senators becoming presidents. I half-kiddingly said that Republicans should pass a motion that senators should never be allowed to be the GOP’s presidential nominee. I know that such a resolution is impossible, which is why I said it in jest. That being said, senators don’t run things. They aren’t the decider. They’re the pontificators. Soon-to-be former Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), weighed in on the subject:

Perry, considering a repeat presidential bid in 2016, had just spoken at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Reagan’s famous “A Time For Choosing” speech. Among his scalding criticisms of Obama, Perry explained the president’s failings as due to his background as a U.S. senator, something that happens to apply to several of his would-be challengers for the GOP presidential nomination.

“If you’re in the Senate or if you’re in the House, you can give a speech and then go home. Governors can’t. We have to govern,” Perry said, adding, “And the president of the United States, historically, has had to operate that way, too; the ones that were successful. And one of the reasons why this President is not successful is because he’s never had that experience.”

Asked if the next president will be a senator, Perry said, “No.”

It’s worth noting that the top-tier candidates on the Democratic side are both senators, too. But I digress.

Gov. Perry is right, though intentionally a bit oversimplistic. Legislators work hard if they’re doing their jobs right. That being said, their job is mostly debating legislation. Their work is done during scheduled sessions. Presidents and governors work during sessions, too, to get their legislative agendas passed. During sessions, though, they’re also called on to deal with crises, whether it’s a president responding to international hot spots or governors responding to public safety crises within their state or on their state’s borders.

Then, after the sessions are over, presidents and governors are essentially on call 24/7 the rest of the year. They’re never on recess, though President Obama certainly makes it look like he doesn’t take the White House with him.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz think they see the next president of the United States when they look in the mirror each morning. They don’t. What accomplishments do these men have? They haven’t implemented major reforms like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Perry and Bobby Jindal have. They haven’t revived their states’ economies like Kasich, Perry and Walker have. The best that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz can say is that they prevented Sen. Reid and President Obama from doing awful things.

They shouldn’t be discredited for that. What they’ve done isn’t insignificant. It just isn’t nearly as significant as what Govs. Walker, Jindal, Perry and Kasich have accomplished.

Lest this be just about Republicans, let’s ask what Hillary or Elizabeth Warren has accomplished. Hillary’s staff noted that she traveled more flight miles than any other Secretary of State in US history. That’s nice. She can redeem those miles so she and Bill can take a nice vacation together.

In terms of actual policies implemented, she got 4 American patriots killed in Benghazi by being asleep at the switch. She ignored multiple pleas from Christopher Stevens for enhanced security for the compound in Benghazi. Then she the nerve to say she hadn’t heard of those urgent requests.

Nobody will buy that BS in 2016. They didn’t buy it in 2012 and they aren’t buying it now.

Her first ‘accomplishment’ was presenting Russia with a reset switch that Russia interpreted as meaning that they could do whatever they wanted in Ukraine and anywhere else in eastern Europe and the middle east. Coddling our enemies (Russia, Iran) and mistreating our allies (Israel, the British and Iraq) isn’t what presidential resumes are built on.

As pathetic as Hillary’s list of accomplishments is, Elizabeth Warren’s list of accomplishments is more pathetic. In fact, it’s nonexistent.

It’s still early but I’d argue that 2016 is shaping up to be GOP year for taking back the White House. Rick Perry has presided over the strongest economy in the nation. Scott Walker passed collective bargaining reform, then staved off the unions’ attempts to kill the reforms. He also passed a $2.2 billion tax cut while creating 110,000 jobs. Bobby Jindal passed school choice laws that are improving educational outcomes in Louisiana. John Kasich’s economic policies have revived Ohio. He cut taxes while eliminating an $8 billion deficit upon entering office.

By comparison, the Democrats have a pair of wannabes as their top tier.

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