Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2016 Republican Presidential Brackets

Charlie Cook has done a pretty good job of breaking down the 2016 Republican presidential contest into four brackets. Its helpful because the field is so crowded right now that it's hard to sort out - especially if you only think in terms of establishment vs non-establishment. I'd place a couple of candidates differently, but otherwise (just for fun), here's how I see it playing out.

1. Establishment candidates - obviously this one is a battle of Jeb Bush vs Mitt Romney. Since voters in this category aren't going to be concerned about the whole "political dynasty" thing, my money would be on Bush.

2. Governor/Former Governor candidates - I suspect that the voters this group appeals to are those who are skeptical of the whole dynasty question, but aren't ready to go full-on tea party. Scott Walker wins this bracket.

3. Tea Party candidates - no questions here, Ted Cruz wins this one - hands down.

4. Social/Cultural/Religious candidates - this one is also pretty easy to call. Its Mike Huckabee's bracket.

One place I part with Cook is that he puts Rand Paul in the Tea Party group to compete with the likes of Ted Cruz. I know it messes up the symmetry of a bracket analogy, but I'd but Paul in a 5th bracket and make him the winner of the Libertarian candidates (of course, because he's the only one).

What my picks give us is a contest between Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul. With the amount of money Bush and Romney will be able to tap into - they will likely continue to compete as other candidates drop out. But the battle between the two of them could provide an opening for someone from the other brackets to break through. I suspect that's why Scott Walker got so much attention coming out of Rep. Steve King's clown show.

To be honest, this is all just fun and games right now. If history is any guide, we could forget about all this and simply assume that the nominee will be Jeb Bush. But I suspect that this contest is going to be a bit more unpredictable than that.


  1. I've been reading that Lindsey Graham is thinking of running. My guess is that if he does, he wins the establishment bracket, and thus the nomination. I don't see anyone other than an establishment candidate winning the nomination.

  2. Scott Walker is the Koch Bros. handpicked governor and future presidential candidate. They'll give him all the money he needs to compete with Bush or Romney.