Most of you are familiar with our earlier prediction. In essence, based on historical and current GOPe events and action, we predicted the GOPe leadership, along with Wall Street and Tom Donohue, would devise a roadmap for Jeb Bush to win the 2016 Presidential nomination.
In a very general sense the broad construct begins around a very specific premise: The GOPe knew they would need to devise a strategy to elect Jeb Bush with around 15 – 25% of the primary vote, depending on the state – through the first nine calendar primary races. [Dixie states at the low end, and New England states at higher thresholds.]
If we were accurate in our hypothesis, which was actually based on their previous 2012 strategy to elect Mitt Romney, the 2014 mid-term visible GOP primary spending on incumbents, and alignments within the hierarchy of the Republican establishment – then we assume there would be two essential candidates:
Jeb Bush being candidate one, and Not-Jeb-Bush being the other.
This approach makes winning a matter of math, not ideology. The Sum of the Jeb Bush vote must be greater than any individual part within the Not-Jeb vote. That approach guarantee’s Jeb victory with far less than majority voter support.
It seemed a little, well, “out there”; so in the Spring of 2014 we quietly established tripwires which would confirm if the roadmap was accurate.
One of those overall primary tripwires (about the 4th one) we established in 2014 was the sheer number of candidates that would be needed if Jeb was going to survive the lower support-margin, more conservative, states.
Each voting sub-set or ideology within the Republican base, within a specific state, would need multiple options in order for the ‘Not-Jeb’ vote to be kept in check below the “risk margin” allowing Jeb’s small vote count to be victorious. We called this “fracturing the block“.
If a single part of Not-Jeb (remember he/she’s a group) began polling higher than Jeb, then add another similar candidate and split Not-Jeb again. Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul seemed to be the biggest risk to Jeb.
[Example: Tea Party conservative type voters would need multiple candidate options to fracture their voting block: (Walker, Cruz, Jindal, Rubio etc.)]
Obviously with 17 candidates, it goes without saying the key and essential tripwire was easily triggered. However, if it had not been – we would have stopped tracking.
Specifically because the number of candidate’s tripwire was triggered we began reviewing media notes for primary calendars, Super-PAC financing, inter-party alignment, money and state establishment party support.
In order for this GOPe roadmap to succeed, each faction within Not-Jeb needs multiple options for voters. Evangelicals (Santorum, Huckabee), Tea Partiers, Fiscal folks, Moderates, along with voters who might vote based on race (Carson), and/or gender (Fiorina) preferences. These can all be smaller fractures inside Non-Jeb.
I’ll be honest, originally (back in 2014) it sounded nuts, but no matter how much we tried to ignore it, the tripwires kept being triggered exactly as it would be if our hypothesis was accurate.
Some of those next tripwires in 2015 were specific candidates from high electoral count states that would be needed to act as vote-splitters.
Those candidates would need to appear from states holding two specific traits: #1) Early chronological primary states -AND- #2) Large Electoral Count states (especially if “winner-take-all” delegate rules were present).
Again, the goal is to keep Jeb afloat by introducing a candidate into the larger “Not-Jeb” group who can remove support from any other larger growing bit of the “non-Jeb” candidate. Hence, South Carolina (Graham), Ohio (Kasich), Texas (Perry), and Florida (Rubio) – with further insurance policies in Virginia (Gilmore) and New York (Pataki).
We have now watched 14 tripwires triggered and not a single one missed, including the GOP mid-term primary constructs of 2014, the methods deployed to keep incumbents remaining in their positions, and the state party assemblies which led to Florida, Jeb’s home state, switching to 99 “winner take all” delegates.
Just like the number of candidates trigger, the Florida switch to ‘winner-take-all’ was a big trigger. Another huge trigger was Marco Rubio. We said early on the lynchpin would be Florida and the 99 delegates – but there was a risk if Walker, Cruz, Perry and Paul all survived into Florida. (Although I believe the plan works best if Perry drop’s out after Texas “super Tuesday” 3/1/16, or immediately after Louisiana 3/8/16, before Florida 3/15/16)
If Rubio had not entered the race the roadmap falls apart. Because without Rubio the Florida strategy for Bush just doesn’t work. The Rubio trip-wire was essential. He did enter, and that triggered the continuance.
This GOPe Jeb Bush roadmap also explains the timing of Kasich (Ohio), Pataki (New York) and Gilmore (Virginia) – although Fiorina is also registered homestead in VA.
These candidates are like Pac-Man gobbling up delegate votes from more conservative candidates, and planning to drop them back off in the bucket of Jeb Bush after endorsement at specific dates.
The plan obviously gets less flexible as the year goes on, and with polling against known “Non-Jeb” pieces they would have had to adjust the candidate splitter options quickly. It would appear they did just that.
I WANT TO BE WRONG – Because if we are correct, the next 15 months are just about an exercise in futility.
Here are the primary dates, types, and delegate counts for the first Nine Event Election Days of GOP Primary voting. Can you disprove the thesis?
Take your favorite candidate, keep in mind all the variables, make some reasonable assumptions based on regional ideology, and can you identify a pathway to victory?
#1 – Iowa Caucus/Convention, Monday February 1st 2016: 30 Delegates / Closed Primary Caucus (Republican Only)
#2 – New Hampshire Primary, Tuesday February 9th 2016: 23 Delegates (proportional assigned) / Modified Primary (Independents and Republicans)
#3 – South Carolina Primary, Saturday February 20th 2016: 50 Delegates (Winner Take All) / Open Primary (Anyone Can Vote)
#4 – Nevada Caucus/Convention, Tuesday February 23rd 2016: 30 Delegates / Closed Primary Caucus (Republican Only)
#5 – SUPER TUESDAY: Tuesday March 1st – 601 Total Delegates
- Texas: 155 Delegates (proportional assigned) / Open Primary
- Alabama: 50 Delegates (proportional assigned) / Open Primary
- Tennessee: 58 Delegates (Winner Take All *If 50% of vote achieved, if not Proportional) / Open Primary
- Vermont: 16 Delegates (Winner Take All *If 50% of vote achieved, if not Proportional) / Open Primary
- Arkansas: 40 Delegates (proportional assigned) / Open Primary
- Georgia: 76 Delegates (Proportional assigned) / Modified Primary (Independents and Republicans)
- Massachusetts: 42 Delegates (Proportional Assigned) / Modified Primary (Independents and Republicans
- North Carolina: 72 Delegates (Proportional Assigned) / Modified Primary (Independents and Republicans)
- Oklahoma: 43 Delegates (Winner Take All) / Closed Primary (Republicans Only)
- Virginia: 49 Delegates (Proportional Assigned) / Open Primary
#6 – Louisiana Primary, Saturday March 5th 2016 : 46 Delegates (Proportional Assigned) / Closed Primary (Republican Only)
#7 – Mini Tuesday: Tuesday March 8th – 130 Delegates
- Michigan Primary: 59 Delegates (Proportional) / Closed Primary (Republicans Only)
- Idaho: 32 Delegates (Caucus/Convention) / Closed
- Mississippi: 39 Delegates (WTA, if Less than 50% Proportional) / Open Primary
#8 – Puerto Rico, Sunday March 13th 2016: 23 Delegates (WTA, if less than 50% Proportional) / Open Primary
#9 – GAME DAY: Tuesday March 15th – 234 Total Delegates
- Florida: 99 Delegates (Winner Take All) / Closed Primary
- Ohio: 66 Delegates (WTA, or if less than 50% Proportional) / Modified Primary (Independents and Republicans)
- Illinois: 69 Delegates (Proportional w/ Beauty Contest) / Open Primary
Green Paper Resource Tool for information on state by state primaries and delegate distribution specifics.