Election 2016

How Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Are Shaking Up the GOP Presidential Nomination Process

Politics has become more democratized and that's a great thing.

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Rand Paul et al
screencaps (L)/ Gage Skidmore (R)

Sen. Rand Paul's announcement today that he will seek the Republican Party's nomination for president punctuates a very real paradigm shift in the way the Grand Old Party will select its candidates for higher office.

For most of my adult life, Republican poobahs have decided for the rest of us, typically favoring the dusty candidate that has been standing in queue the longest. Think John McCain or Mitt Romney. Like a nightmare reinterpretation of the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, it seems that the GOP keeps nominating Bob Dole again and again, only to wake up the next morning to discover that their guy lost the election.

This trend will likely, finally, be disrupted in 2016. Paul's candidacy declaration was preceded by one from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on March 23, and will likely be followed by another from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. These candidates are certainly not all cut from the same cloth, but they have one common characteristic. Just a few years ago, the Republican establishment didn't want them.

In 2009, the National Republican Senatorial Committee famously endorsed establishment favorites Trey Grayson over Paul, and (now Democrat) Charlie Crist over Rubio in the primaries. Cruz was similarly savaged by establishment favorite David Dewhurst in the 2012 Texas GOP primary, but ultimately triumphed despite a four-to-one spending disadvantage.

Indeed, the potential field of presidential candidates for 2016 has been almost wholly repopulated with younger, more charismatic, more authentic conservatives. Consider Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, another interesting potential contender for the Republican nomination. He would not have won in 2010, or survived ongoing attempts by public employees unions to oust him, were it not for the engagement of grass-roots activists, including local tea party and liberty organizations, who have cropped up across the state since 2008.

And that's the point. Politics in America has become more democratized—and tumultuous—because of multiple sources of information online and ubiquitous social-media platforms that allow for easier self-organization. Across America, moms with home-built Facebook communities have a deeper reach than can be found at the local county GOP headquarters. Activists no longer depend on the Republican National Committee to tell them what to think or say, or who their preferred candidate might be. This political disintermediation is certainly disruptive, but Republicans have long claimed an unbending faith in consumer choice and robust competition. 

Oddly, GOP insiders maintain their belief that hotly contested primaries are a bad thing, and seek to game the rules accordingly."In reality, winning a nomination fight elevates the stature of the victor," according to Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan. "[H]e or she can also benefit from the organizational efforts required to win a tough primary fight." Nyhan cites Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as examples.

For his part, Paul has been appealing to a growing libertarian streak in the American electorate, particularly among young people. His unconventional work on criminal justice reform represents one of the few opportunities for genuine bipartisan cooperation in gridlocked Washington. His push for fixes to civil-asset forfeiture laws and federal mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent offenders is a good thing for the Republican brand. (Notably, other "insurgent" senators like Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah have also been leaders on these issues.)

The advantages that historically favored "the next guy in line," like superior name recognition, key endorsements from party elites and well-established donor networks, are quickly dissipating. My prediction: This time, the Republican nomination will not be a coronation, and the nominee's last name will not be Bush.

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  1. “This trend will likely, finally, be disrupted in 2016, writes Kibbe.”

    Nah. Reagan was an anomaly, as is Paul. Reagan got the nomination in spite of the GOP poobahs. Even if Paul wins, performs admirably and is wildly popular for two terms, the GOP will dig up Bob Dole and run him again.

    1. Bob Dole speaking of Bob Dole in the third person never gets old.

    2. Reagan had challenged Ford in the prior election, but he lost. In 1980 he was the “next guy in line”. Same with McCain, or has everyone already forgotten the 2000 primary?

      1. Similarly George Bush Sr. in 1988. However, there’s no obvious “next guy in line” from 2012 for 2016. Santorum? Gingrich? Perry?

        People are talking as if the Democrats are going to nominate next-in-line Clinton, but that ain’t happening. If by some fluke she’s not in jail or dead a year from now, and nobody’s contesting against her in Democratic primaries, that’d be to the enormous advantage of Rand Paul getting primary votes in the crossover-voting states.

        1. “Bachman?” That was the name I couldn’t remember.

  2. If Republican pols get shook hard enough it could cause them to grow a pair.

    1. Rep pols’ problem is not that they need to grow a pair. It’s that Rep pols are in D.C. for the same reasons Dem pols (and ANY pols) are in D.C.: to feed out of the public trough — either through the pedestrian method of kickbacks and bribes, or the more “noble” method of gathering fame and power through political office.

  3. Where’s the Terracotta Club?

  4. This morning I saw a segment on television where they compared Senator Paul’s foreign policy to that of the ordinary/normal GOP member. If anyone else here saw it I’d like your opinion. Co-workers were talking over the program and I may have misunderstood the gist of it, but it seemed to me that they compared Paul’s personal foreign policy to the normal members of the GOP, who were represented by Senator Lindsey Graham (who was quoted). The gist if I understood it was: Graham et al = sensible, Paul = looney.

    After Paul makes his official announcement today I expect the smears and guilt by association attacks to increase. I wouldn’t be surprised if media outlets seek out Ron Paul for interviews in order to “sneak attack” him into uttering some sound bite damaging to the younger Paul’s campaign.

    Unrelated: “Disintermediation”
    Nice.

    1. Be grateful your co-workers were talking over the program. The interview you describe will be on an endless loop with different talking heads making the same point for the next year and half. Obama’s father shows just how different a son can be. Rand? Well, the ACORN doesn’t fall far from the tree.

      1. “Be grateful your co-workers were talking over the program.”

        Having read your post straffinrun, I certainly am. Thanks.

        Have you heard when Paul will make the official announcement? I’d like to see it.

        1. Today, no?

          1. Sometime this morning I would think. I was hoping to catch it live and was fishing for the actual time.

            I should really apologize for the metaphor.

          2. I think they said noon on the radio.

              1. Thanks all.

        2. I saw somewhere that it’s at 11:30.

    2. Hannity just gave him a puff piece interview on WOR, as he tends to.

  5. “For most of my adult life, Republican poobahs have decided for the rest of us, typically favoring the dusty candidate that has been standing in queue the longest. Think John McCain or Mitt Romney. Like a nightmare reinterpretation of the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, it seems that the GOP keeps nominating Bob Dole again and again…”

    Thank god the Democrats have an entirely different system.

    1. Thank god the Democrats have an entirely different system.

      Oh, they do.Democrats wait for someone to say, “It’s my turn.”

  6. “hink John McCain or Mitt Romney. Like a nightmare reinterpretation of the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, it seems that the GOP keeps nominating Bob Dole again and again, only to wake up the next morning to discover that their guy lost the election.”

    If that’s so, Matt, maybe guys like you should stop voting for whoever the RP nominates…

    “Matt Kibbe, FreedomWorks president, also has told conservatives outside his organization that it’s time to unite behind someone and build the local machinery to take on Mr. Obama.

    “It’s hard to figure out how someone other than Mitt Romney wins at this point,” Mr. Kibbe told radio host Glenn Beck. “He’s got the numbers on his side.”

    Mr. Kibbe said that while Mr. Romney has “flaws,” he has great strength in his successful management of businesses and can beat Mr. Obama”

    “Republican nomination won’t be a coronation”

    Yeah, like there’s a big difference between the candidates. I’m trying to come up with substantial differences between Rubio, bush, Paul, and walker. All of them love jobs creatorz and want to lower taxes on rich people. That’s the most important thing so fuck all that abortion and gay rights crap.

    1. “If that’s so, Matt, maybe guys like you should stop voting for whoever the RP nominates…”

      Wow – you typed something I actually agree with.

      1. Now, why not tell us where you hid today’s Brickbat?

        1. I don’t know Charles. I’m just saying I’m going to vote for the guy who is pro-choice and wants to reduce military spending and doesn’t change his political rhetoric because he suddenly is running for president. You?

          1. Ooh the trolls are so scared of Rand. This is gonna be fun.

          2. as,

            I’ve got my minimal requirements as well.
            Sadly for you and the rest of us, I don’t think we’ll see a candidate who “doesn’t change his political rhetoric because he suddenly is running for president” anytime again soon.

          3. Serious question for AmSoc: Are you voting for a third party candidate?

              1. In the primaries, OK. I was thinking general election.

          4. I’m supporting whoever champions small businesses over megacorporations and the Wall Street machine. It seems that if the “job creators” are big enough, those jobs created are not within the U.S. borders.

            1. Every candidate running in both parties champions small business over megacorporations. Every law and rule and regulation and tax and fee and fine and subsidy and support passed by Congress is designed to rein in the power of big corporation and save the mom-&-pop businesses that create jobs and make communities livable.

              Sez so onna lable.

              [hurl]

          5. ” I’m going to vote for the guy who is pro-choice ”

            Pro choice as in where and what health insurance someone can purchase ?

            Pro choice as to which marriages one participates in ?

            That kind of pro choice ?

            Nah, I didn’t think so.

          6. “doesn’t change his political rhetoric because he suddenly is running for president”

            So, no one ever. Perfect for you.

  7. Where is the Huckster, Santorum, and Fat Chris?

    We need them to run for entertainment purposes. Or at least Ben Carson = three crazies.

    Oh, and Good Morning Peanuts!

    1. Tell us again how no companies are cutting people’s hours because of Obumblecare. Oh, oh, and the one about the booming Obumble economy, tell us that one again too.

      Did I miss your glowing analysis of Obumbles skillful handling of the Iran deal?

      Watching you polish turds never gets old.

      1. 62 straight months of private sector job growth, inflation dead, dollar strong, GDP solidly positive but not spectacular, record profits in private sector, no war with Iran now.

        What is not to like?

        1. Okay PB,

          Why do repeatedly visit a website and interact with its “well-known-to-you” individuals who routinely treat you with derision, disrespect, hostility, and many other similar words?

          I cannot prove it to you, but it’s an honest question.

          Charles

          1. I visited here first in 2007-08 in the interest of classic liberal policy. I do not reflexively vote GOP like many of the idiots here do.

            And I am not derisive?

            1. “And I am not derisive?”

              Sure.

              “…in the interest of classic liberal policy”

              Is this still an overriding goal of yours? Do you think you’re advancing this interest/positively influencing others about classic liberal policy?
              I intended for you to answer these last questions for yourself, not me. I understand a good deal more than I did why you repeatedly visit; thanks for answering the original question.

              Charles

            2. Oh, and Good Morning Peanuts!

              And I am not derisive?

              Hmmm.

        2. Trolls.

        3. “GDP solidly positive”

          I guess you could consider 0 positive in the fact that it isn’t negative.

          http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/0…..?iid=HP_LN

        4. Using GDP to measure economic health? Lol, do you,use leeches to cure disease too?

          1. If the GDP was not positive, the low IQ Republican party would be calling it out, right? “Islamic Barrack Hussein Obama failed with a NEGATIVE GDP!!!!!”

        5. Explain, please, how unemployment percentage is so much lower than six years ago, with so many people unemployed for so long that they are no longer considered employable by the gubbermint.

    2. Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum and MIke Huckabee do not have a prayer. Everyone here (that is not partisan hack with an IQ equal to his/her age) knows this. Get a life and stop pretending to even have a clue about what your ideological differs (betters?) actually believe, who they would support for office and why.

  8. OT, ICYMI:

    Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig had a meltdown on Twitter yesterday, after a hoarde [sic] of people criticized her ridiculous article, then her ridiculous style, then her ridiculous spelling, then her ridiculous comebacks. It culminated in:

    Elizabeth S. Bruenig on Twitter: “I typed something wrong on my phone & now the NRO and WSJ are playing that game where they all jack off on it and the last one has to eat it”

    This tweet had mysteriously disappeared by this morning.

    1. I saw that. Since I am not the least fascinated by her like others here I wanted to read her Twitter feed to see who she is. That bit of dirtiness from her made her somewhat human.

      1. That bit of dirtiness from her made her somewhat human.

        So you held her in inestimably high esteem, but now see her more down to earth?

        She’s flailing about doing everything in her wordly power to discredit those who’ve discredited her, but you find her more warm-and-fuzzy human because she uses a “bit of dirtiness” as a weapon against her detractors.

        Your leftiness is on display. Why continue to hide the fact that you have nothing in common with the commentariat here?

    2. I fully expect her to eventually be arrested while running around naked, screaming incoherently and vandalizing some fraternity property. I hope someone gets it on video.

      1. Maybe a revenge porn vid will surface soon. Kind of like that ditsy Miss South Carolina (that I never got to see).

        1. Your mom still has the filters on the computer doesn’t she?

    3. I fantasize about jacking off on her dead tooth.

    4. There needs to be a way to collect these Twitter conversation and link to them.

    5. Also…

      I typed something wrong on my phone & now the NRO and WSJ are playing that game where they all jack off on it and the last one has to eat it

      Credit where credit is due. That is pretty damn funny.

      1. Soggy biscuit is never funny. Just ask any English private schoolboy ever.

  9. And who will be this cycles Pawlenty? So bland and non-crazy he just never leaves the starting line?

  10. GOP Hawks Set to Ruin Rand Paul’s Big Day

    In the first salvo of the 2016 Republican ad wars, a conservative group is about to unleash a seven-figure ad campaign targeting Senator Rand Paul for being out of step with the party on Iran, just as he launches his presidential campaign.

    The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, a 501(c)(4) group led by veteran Republican operative Rick Reed, will go live with its campaign against Paul on Tuesday, while the senator is in Louisville, Kentucky, announcing his presidential candidacy. The group will begin airing ads on broadcast TV, cable and the Web in several early primary states accusing Paul of being weak on Iran and tying him to the Barack Obama administration’s Iran policy, which polls show is deeply unpopular among Republican voters.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/a…..-s-big-day

    One of you Peanuts post this in the morning links please. I will be busy today.

    1. One of you Peanuts post this in the morning links please. I will be busy today.

      Finally getting around to having that brain tumor removed?

      1. Shoot, can’t remove that brain tumor. If it wasn’t for the tumor there would be nothing at all in his brain housing group, and nature abhors a vacuum.

        I’m sure it is more likely a prog meetup. You can only get your talking points via email for so long. Every so often you need to actually get together in person with your other fellow travelers.

        1. Pretty sure he was once a normal person. The docs cutting his head open will probably find something like this:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03QKSjBiG2c

        2. They’ve gotta have a big in person meet up to get their talking points straight about Rand Paul. As soon as he makes the announcement, expect a derpstorm the likes of which we’ve never seen. Probably get some new trolls too.

    2. Nothing so persuasive as a request wrapped in an insult

    3. Nothing so persuasive as a request wrapped in an insult

      1. Saying something twice can also be persuasive.

        1. All-mighty father Odin, I sacrifice these squirrels to you

          1. “What would Odin do?”

  11. “Sen. Rand Paul’s announcement today that he will seek the Republican Party’s nomination for president punctuates a very real paradigm shift in the way the Grand Old Party will select its candidates for higher office.”

    What-fuckin-ever. Get back to me when they stop the “winner-take-all” crap in the state primaries.

    1. Winner-takes-all in the primaries makes sense to a degree. The presidential candidate with the most votes in the general election gets all the electoral votes, so the primary candidate with the most votes should get all the votes for that state….to a degree, like a said. It seems to me it would make more sense to split the vote by proportion, then give the winner some number of bonus electors. Straight “winner-takes-all” is not the way to go, though.

    2. Amen to that. States like CA will never throw any electoral votes to a conservative. Isn’t that what our founding fathers revolted against? Taxation Without representation!

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  16. We have some fine candidates this time around. Walker, Paul, Cruz, Rubio, etc. Whoever wins the nomination must, IMHO, choose Ben Carson as a running mate. He is a patriot and will entice black voters away from the skanky old white woman. If the RINOs shove Jeb down our throats, we will have four more years of the same ole, same ole.

  17. There is no candidate-in-waiting this time in the Republican field. Though it does look like the party’s hierarchy and major donors are going to coalesce around Bush. But if Rubio gets the nomination (or Walker), I think the party higher-ups could live with that quite easily. Paul and Cruz, on the other hand, not so much.

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