The reluctance of Continetti to give the label of “establishment” candidate to Jeb Bush is a strategy. A strategy not of Continetti’s construction, but more of Jeb’s team.
This is one of the central nuances we find annoyingly not outlined. Jeb is the “establishment” BIG GOP pick – however, Team Jeb also recognize that such an openly discussed self-evident truth is also a barrier to their victory plan.
Team Jeb’s path is brutally obvious to those willing to accept it. It is not far away from the Romney path, and therefore considered a successful strategy in the GOP primary.
Iowa kicks off the campaign, but Iowa is not strategically as important as the Fourth GOP Primary state, Florida. The establishment plan for Iowa has always been just to show face, make nice, and move on. Iowa is mandatory, but essentially irrelevant. [In 2012 Rick Santorum won Iowa]
New Hampshire is more important than Iowa – but again, it’s not important to win per se’. A top three finish is all that’s needed and a little money will get that done. A centrist GOPe will place in the top media tier for New Hampshire and rarely will the Iowa winner stand a chance. The decepticon establishment’s goal in Iowa is a top three finish.
The race then moves to South Carolina. South Carolina becomes more important than the prior two, but only slightly. The State that has given the conservative base such solid leaders as Jim DeMint and Tim Scott has also continued to deliver the ever pliable Lindsey Graham. Graham is to South Carolina what his buddy John McCain is to Arizona.
In South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the wild card, but can generally be predicted to come down on the side of the GOPe. More so now than years past as her record aligns with more in-state political adversaries having issues with her.
Between Iowa and New Hampshire the media will stick relentlessly with discussions of the two completed primaries and will focus on South Carolina only right before the actual voting (a week or less).
For the establishment the goal in South Carolina is to thread the needle between the Demint/Scott minded folks, and the in-their-pocket Graham voter. There’s usually a debate in this mix which can sway this outcome. A GOPe win would be great, but a second or even a third place finish is ok too.
Then comes the BIGGIE, Florida. A massive and immensely expensive market for a closed GOP only primary.
This is a financial and logistical nightmare for any campaign not prepared. Such a construct favors the establishment from the outset, so any candidate not part of the GOPe national apparatus will have a tough time.
You might remember that strong candidate, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, emphasized Florida 100% in his 2008 GOP primary bid. But even with his approach to focus -almost exclusively- on Florida, he failed. Although most of that failure was due to the Florida economy in absolute freefall (turning attention away from national security) his failure in Florida reflects a reality; Florida can be, and is, exhausting for a candidate in numerous ways – and it is a financial bottomless pit.
The 2016 establishment GOPe know they will hold favor in the Miami-Dade area (South East) where there is a large population. The decepticons also know the Panhandle (NW) is too conservative, but fortunately not population dense.
The GOPe will spend most of their efforts in the I-4 corridor between Tampa (large population) and Orlando (another large population) – with less, but still considerable, effort in the Jacksonville/Tallahassee market.
Florida costs BIG BUCKS, but also holds BIG BUCKS. Events in the Country Club cocktail class areas will yield huge financial fundraisers. However, the mindset within those Bentley polished communities, filled with unused marble swimming pools, is that no-one likes to be on the losing side. Having been their Governor, Jeb already has all the GOPe constructs to succeed.
Oh yeah, and… Mr. Jeb also has a Latino wife, family, and speaks fluent Spanish. “Fluent” as in “better than” Marco Rubio….
The thought of Scott Walker and/or Ted Cruz vs. Jeb Bush in Florida is a formidable exercise. For all of the aforementioned reasons Jeb Bush holds an arguably solid advantage. He can speak Spanish at outside events in Miami-Dade, Tampa and Orlando, and still raise his pinkie higher at the 5:00pm cocktail party hour.
One can easily see the GOPe winning the South-East (Miami Dade), South-West (Naples/Ft. Myers), West/Center (Tampa/St. Pete to Orlando) and North East (Tallahassee/Jacksonville down to Daytona) and only losing the North West and North Center.
I predict that prior to Florida Chris Christie will be the attack dog for Jeb Bush as Christie positions himself favorably with the GOP apparatus. Similarly, when the race reaches Florida Marco Rubio will take that role.
Yes, Rubio might run in 2016 also, but he’ll be the type of candidate perfect for the GOPe plan. Rubio would split the Walker/Cruz constituents and take 3rd in Iowa, 2nd(ish) in New Hampshire, and skewer the field with a possible win in South Carolina.
This will position Rubio to be the ultimate decision-maker/power-broker in Florida AND provides him the ultimate opportunity to repay his friend, colleague and father-like mentor, Jeb Bush.
BOOM – primary over.
#1 Iowa = Walker/Cruz, Rubio, Bush
#2 New Hampshire = Rubio/Walker, Bush, Cruz
#3 South Carolina = Rubio/Walker, Bush, Cruz
#4 Florida = Bush/Rubio, Walker, Cruz… field.
→ Exiting Iowa the GOPe will work diligently to continue the Ted Cruz too polarizing message. They’ll want to keep him in the race, but only so that folks will be torn away from Walker. The media will be more than happy to assist in selling a Polarizing Ted Cruz.
→ Entering New Hampshire the GOPe will leverage Rubio to tamp down Walker and they’ll attack Walker as unintellectual, not smart enough. The GOPe will use Rubio to ‘Out-Intellect’ Walker and make Walker appear small, over-his-head. The media will be more than happy to assist.
→ Exiting Hew Hampshire both Walker and Cruz will be damaged goods. Both Campaigns physically, emotionally and financially being drained from the onslaught. Enter Chris Christie to finish them off and continue the marginalization.
→ Entering South Carolina Nikki Haley will be leveraged by the GOPe with a possible VP spot on Team Jeb. The goal is to keep her from endorsing Walker or Cruz and rescuing their now exhausted campaigns. If she wants to endorse Rubio, fine. If she wants to endorse Jeb, even better. If Haley endorses Rubio that will only aide Bush when Rubio endorses him later.
→ Exiting South Carolina Bush and Rubio enter their massive home state with friendly and large political constructs already in place. They tour the state as their campaigns talk to each other insure their paths don’t cross, and they don’t hit the same donors too closely together. The airwave campaign is massive and $$$$$$$$. Cruz/Walker or Walker/Cruz are ground up like cornmeal for cornbread, and exhausted as donors begin to worry if they stand a chance.
√ Exiting Florida the Decepticon GOPe machine has ground-up their opposition and Bush / Rubio teams enter negotiations to divide up the spoils in what they both hope will be another Bush administration.
…. and so it goes.
Obviously things could be different than this; however, it would take different actions than are currently visible to avoid it.
If we are to accept history, and also openly accept what is evident, well, this is what you get: