Friday, March 20, 2015

Pulling together the fractured GOP

By Richard K. Barry

Amy Walter at the Cook Political Report addresses the fact that Senator Marco Rubio is underperformaning in the GOP presidential nomination sweepstakes so far.

While many talk of the GOP race as a battle between the establishment and non-establishment forces, the winner of the nomination is ultimately the one who can prove to be acceptable to the four or five significant factions of the party: establishment, Tea Party/Libertarian, social conservative and internationalist/defense hawk. The winner is the “uniter,” not the divider.

Jeb Bush is the strongest in the establishment space, while Rand Paul dominates the Libertarian column. The Tea Party, social conservative and internationalist slots are pretty crowded and lack an obvious frontrunner. However, only Rubio and Scott Walker start out as suitable to the entire spectrum. Among the twelve GOP “constituencies” identified by the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Walker and Rubio are the only candidates who rank high in all twelve. Walker ranks first among men, conservatives, Tea Party and Gun Rights voters. Rubio, meanwhile, comes in first among women, very conservative voters, independent/Dems, and those who supported Romney in 2012.

And yet, as she writes, Rubio is stuck in low single digits while Walker is touted as the co-leader with Bush.

So, what's the problem?

Not sure, but I don't think it matters at this point. Marco will get his chance to impress.

The truly interesting observation in this analysis is the identification of GOP constituencies and how any one candidate appeals to a significant enough portion of each of them to be successful. Or might it be possible to write off some constituencies in the hope of securing a larger part of others? You can see how complex this can become.

This is what politics is all about and it will be fascinating to see who has the particular variant of the right stuff to pull it off.

On this score I think we already know who has the wrong stuff.

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