It is a Four (Three) Man Race

The flirtation process is over.  Yes, Republicans gave Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina a brief look, but that fling is over.  Bush, Trump, Cruz and Rubio are the men left standing.  Last night’s sixth presidential debate left it fairly obvious that we now have a four man race for the 2016 nominee of the Republican Party. 

Ben Carson is a great, brilliant man.  His life story is inspirational.  To overcome abject poverty and work your way through Yale and University of Michigan is the epitome of the American Dream.  In addition, his popularity with social conservatives is warranted due to his unwavering pro-life position, and his courageousness to speak truth to power at the Nation Prayer Breakfast, directly in front of Barack Obama, who sat beside him while he was at the lectern. 

Yes, Ben Carson is a great ambassador for what one can accomplish in America, but he is not Commander in Chief material.  He does not have an authoritative grasp on the issues of the day, specifically foreign policy.  His response last night regarding attacks by our enemies with dirty bombs, on our electrical grid, coupled with a cyber attack was muddled and poorly articulated.  Although one can understand the intent in what he was trying to state, the way in which he stated it was not executed well as it seemed to be off the cuff rambling.  Great man but more suited for to be Surgeon General or Secretary of Health and Human Services, not President of the United States.  

Carly continues to impress in undercard debates.  She is quick on her feet, speaks well in sound bites that can be replayed repeatedly by media outlets, and seems to have a good grasp on current events and the issues in which this nation will be facing during the next presidency.  However, she is simply not connecting with voters.  Possibly, it could be weariness over her ability to win after a failed senatorial bid in California, or her controversial exit from Hewlett-Packard as Chief Executive Officer (or both) that leaves Republicans cautious.  Her message is simply not resonating with Republicans.     

As we are only two weeks away from the first votes being cast in the caucus state of Iowa, Republicans are zoning in on who they deem to be most serious candidates that have a chance of winning in October 2016.   Donald Trump is still winning the popularity contest in national polls but Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio both had excellent debate performances last night.  Frank Luntz conducted a poll of his focus group immediately after the debate in which Cruz obtained high marks. 

The field now breaks down to Trump, Rubio, Cruz, and Bush.  Jeb, although polling horribly and decreasing in strength instead of increasing, must be included because of his access to monies.  Jeb is not leaving this race until after the Super Tuesday votes are cast, as he has the money to remain regardless of whether he finishes well in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina (the first three states to vote prior to Super Tuesday). 

Thus, even though Jeb is not leaving the race due to his bank account, as of now, and unless he surprises in one of the first three states, he has little chance at the nomination.  That leaves us with the big three of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.  Trump is connecting with moderate Republicans and some conservatives who are single issue focused on immigration.  Ted Cruz is quickly harnessing the support of the conservative Republican base voters who are more than singularly focused on immigration, and Marco Rubio seems to have the remaining moderate Republicans who are not with Trump coming to his campaign. 

This is the state of the Republican nomination process today.  Chris Christie and John Kasich are still on the peripheral.  With a good showing in either Iowa or New Hampshire (and for both their best chance at a good showing is in New Hampshire), leading to an increase in donor support, either man could climb into the race.  As it sits today however, we currently have a four (three) man race. 

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