|Click to Enlarge: One Possible Road to a 2016 Republican White House|
Always important, money will be more so this time. With fewer debates providing grist for horse-race coverage, journalists may measure progress by fundraising. . .By next January, candidates must have raised enough cash to fight all four February battles and enter March with money in the bank, no matter how confused the outcomes in the first four contests. The next test will be how quickly they can reload for expensive March big-state contests. Do those still standing after February have enough motivated bundlers, energetic direct mail- and telephone-responsive donors and active online contributors?
Successful candidates run national campaigns, rather than living off the land. That means strong organizations in more than the first four states. Candidates who wait until February’s results to organize states that vote in March and April won’t win. Super PACs will play a much bigger role. Not subject to contribution limits, they can replenish their coffers faster than the candidates’ campaigns.So has Jeb already locked up the 2016 GOP nomination? “Not so fast” is the indirect response of another conservative guru, George Will. In the Washington Post, Will takes on Rove’s analysis, writing:
For all the flaws of a nominating process that begins with the Obnoxiously Entitled Four (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, with 4% of the nation’s population), those states do not require immediate substantial financial muscle, and they reward retail campaigning, so lesser-known and underfunded candidates can break through. Furthermore, campaign finance laws designed to limit competition are, fortunately, porous enough to allow a few wealthy contributors to enable marginal candidates to be heard.Will expands upon his view that the GOP field “will have more plausible aspirants than any nomination contest since the party’s first presidential campaign in 1856.” Republicans want the nomination because:
- Democrats, after winning the House in 20 consecutive elections from 1954 to 1992, have lost it in 9 of the last 11. Republicans are one Senate seat shy of equaling their highest total since the 1920s.
- Republicans as of this week control 31 governorships, including those in seven of the 10 most populous states (Florida, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio — all but California, Pennsylvania and New York).
- Republicans control 69 of 99 state legislative chambers (Nebraska’s legislature is unicameral and effectively Republican). In 23 states, with 251 electoral votes, Republicans control the governor’s office and the legislature. Democrats have such control in only seven states. Republicans have their most state legislative seats since the 1920s.
So far, most observers have yet to notice how the deck is stacked for a 2016 GOP presidential victory.