stuart-rothenberg-columns-archive

Dem Senate Takeover Probable, If Cruz or Trump Nominee

The prospect of Trump or Cruz at the top of the ticket makes Republicans holding onto control of the Senate much more difficult. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

With Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz seemingly positioned to fight it out for the Republican presidential nomination, Democrats are now poised to take over the Senate in November.  

The two Republicans still in the race who could help their party’s Senate prospects, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, continue to flounder. While a deadlocked GOP convention in Cleveland could, at least in theory, nominate a candidate with broad appeal and low enough negatives to revive the party’s Senate prospects, that development is both a long way in the future and a long shot.  

Cruz and Kasich Implausible Scenarios Keeping Trump on Top

Even though he's not a factor in the Super Tuesday primaries, Kasich is banking on later ones in his home state of Ohio and in neighboring Ohio and Michigan. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The early primaries usually winnow presidential fields because each one tests aspects of a candidacy, and because only victories keep the money flowing.

But while this Republican field has winnowed, it hasn’t shrunk as much as some would like. Part of the answer involves the existence of super PAC money, which allows a handful of contributors to keep a candidacy alive. But maybe even more important this time is the shape of the field and the nature of the front-runner.  

Trump Is More Vulnerable Than You Think

While Trump has a high floor, he also might have a low ceiling. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Most in the national news media are talking about how Donald Trump is now the clear Republican frontrunner and will be nearly impossible to stop. They are only partially right.  

Trump, who won South Carolina (and all of its delegates) with a little under one-third of the vote, certainly is the front-runner. He has won two of the first three contests and has a clear lead in delegates. He should do well on March 1, when many Southern states hold their primaries and more than 600 delegates are at stake. By definition, that makes him the front-runner.  

Michael Bloomberg’s Road Map to the White House

If the two major parties nominate controversial candidates, there looks to be room for a candidate in the middle like Bloomberg. (Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images File Photo)

You are the eighth-richest person in America with a net worth of more than $38 billion, according to Forbes magazine. You served three terms as mayor of New York. You’ve been a Democrat, a Republican and an independent. And you believe that the country has suffered from political polarization and needs a strong president who can get things done and bring the country together.  

You are Michael Bloomberg, and you want to be president. Can you make it happen, even assuming the “best case” scenario of Democrats nominating Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders and the GOP picking either Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz?  

Revenge of the Old Fogies

Kenny Jackson, of Knoxville, Iowa, shows who he's supporting before Sanders spoke to a meeting of the United Steelworkers Local 310L in Des Moines on Jan. 26, 2016. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

While the decision makers at news organizations from the Public Broadcasting System to CNN and the three major networks scramble to appeal to younger viewers, often by skewing younger with their hosts and commentators, Republican and Democratic voters in Iowa and nationally have embraced a remarkably “mature” handful of top tier candidates.  

And by “mature,” I really mean old.  

Handicapping the GOP Race Past Iowa

While Trump, center, and Cruz, right, have established themselves as front-runners, Rubio has broken away from other establishment candidates. (Scott Olson/Getty Images File Photo)

Have we entered a new period in American politics, when establishment candidates on the GOP side don’t win their party’s nomination? That is the question I posed in a June 4, 2015 column . It is still a relevant question.  

While I answered that it is a mistake to assume that the establishment candidate would inevitably win the GOP nomination, I doubted that combative candidates such as Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, could pass the smell test for most Republicans.  

It’s Official: Put a Fork in Kasich’s Candidacy

Kasich, right, debates with Bush, center, and Rubio on Thursday in the Fox News-Google GOP Debate in Des Moines. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Feel free to believe that there is a glimmer of hope for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination. If that gives you comfort or plays to your own preferences, be my guest. I certainly wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable.  

But even if you believe that, try also to understand that Kasich’s campaign is done. You can stick a fork in it. He will not be the GOP nominee for president in 2016. Recent endorsements from two New England newspapers prove that.  

Goldwater vs. McGovern in 2016?

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The strangest election in our lifetime continues to get stranger.  

Very rarely, one party decides to make a suicidal statement about its views and values. It happened in 1964 and again in 1972, for example. But this time, both parties are at least flirting with the idea of nominating candidates who, under normal circumstances, appear unelectable in 2016. The two front-runners in the GOP race, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, have narrow appeal, though for different reasons.  

Predicting the Future and Other Delusions

Matt Williams, manager of the world champion Washington Nationals, former manager of the Washington Nationals, argues with home plate umpire Mark Ripperger in a September game. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images File Photo)

Barry Ritholtz, a financial planner and asset manager, writes a regular column in The Washington Post’s business section. I read him religiously, and his last column of 2015 , on financial prognosticators, offered important observations for anyone interested in politics, sports or Wall Street.  

I include all three subjects because they have so much in common. And more important, all three are covered the same way by the media.  

And the GOP Nominee Will Be...

What are Paul's chances of being the GOP nominee? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

RealClearPolitics political analyst Sean Trende is one of the clear-eyed, analytic observers of American politics, and I usually find myself nodding in agreement when I read his invariably thoughtful stuff.  

That didn’t happen when I was reading his Dec. 10 piece , “Laying Odds on the GOP Presidential Race.”