2016 vs. 2012: Deja Vu and hints of what to expect in 2016

Now 55 days until the Iowa caucus let’s compare the 2016 and 2012 Republican races for the Presidential nomination. There are many similarities plus hints from 2012 as to what might happen in the current race. Our governor is gaining some traction but does he have the national support to carry him through the March primaries? Is the current # 1 candidate likely to win? Are the stupid, horrific, fear-mongering comments being made by Chris Christie and his fellow colleagues any different from 2012?

Today as in 2012 the top candidate -Donald Trump (30%) – is doing well but seems unlikely to win. According to Real Clear Politics in early December 2012 the top four candidates were in double digits (like today): Herman Cain (25%), Mitt Romney (24%), Newt Gingrich (12%), and Rick Perry (10%), followed by Michele Bachmann (3%) (Christie is now at 2.8%), Rick Santorum (2%), and Jon Huntsman (1%). Cain soon fell by the wayside as did the 2008 top candidate Giuliani at 30%. it seems that Trump may have reached his limit which is insufficient to gain the nomination.

The winner in 2012 (as well as 2008) was already in the double-digit range – Mitt Romney (and John McCain at 16% in 2008). They already had a strong enough national following to gain many delegates in the early primaries.

Single digit candidates in 2012 faded shortly before or after the March primaries, and are likely to do the same this year. In 2016 there will be even more primaries in March, maybe enough to signal the winner. If not the April primaries should tell the story.

If this year things go as they did in 2012 with Christie in low single digits nationally (2.8%) he is ill-equipped to gain many delegates in February or March. Although he is at 6% in New Hampshire, he is much worse off in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida and has slim prospects in March where a slew of delegates are up for grabs. As in 2012 there is little light at the end of the tunnel for single digit players today.

Are today’s outrageous, horrific, dumb, and fear-mongering comments any different from 2012?

  • Herman Cain touted an implausible and unclear 9-9-9 Plan that would eliminate the current tax system all together. Here are a few more:  He had an incoherent Libyan brain freeze where he said, “I got all this stuff twirling around in my head.” He seemed anti-intellectual in saying “We need a leader not a reader.” He appeared homophobic in talking about “sissy pizza”: “The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is.” The top polling candidate was soon forgotten.
  • Mitt Romney had a horrific “self-deportation” proposal for immigrants which drew laughter. He was caught on video saying, “There are 47 percent who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims.” To prove his fairness in hiring he told us he had ”binders full of women.”   Nonetheless, he was the double-digit candidate who won the nomination.
  •  Newt Gingrich took a luxury foreign cruise in the middle of his campaign, made dumb remarks at a zoo, got nipped by a penguin, and stated unclearly, “I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them.” (extramarital affairs). The Washington Post wondered whether his campaign “was the worst in history.”
  • Rick Perry had many faux pas. In a debate he could not remember the third federal department he would abolish. He said “Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote.” (He seemed unaware the voting age is 18.) He said, “The reason that we fought the [American] Revolution in the 16th century was …” (The date of our revolution was off by two centuries.)
  • Michele Bachmann was just full of quotable quotes. “The 2011 East Coast earthquake and hurricane was a message from God.” “Our movement at its core is an intellectual movement.” “There isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
  • Rick Santorum: A particularly horrid anti-abortion comment: “I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you… rape victims should make the best of a bad situation.”

Although candidates like Trump, Christie and other are hitting remarkably low notes this year, there was no lack of outrageous comments four years ago. And 2012 does offer hints on what might happen in 2016.

Comments (2)

  1. CreedPogue

    Trump’s support is certainly sufficient considering how splintered his opposition is.

    1. Bill Orr (Post author)

      You might be right but…

      It would surprise me if by primary time Trump is still nationally at 30%. Even if he is, he would have difficulty with the allocation process of delegates to the Republican convention. In the earliest races except for South Carolina delegates are proportionally apportioned based on the vote count. Even in the “Winner Take Most” states like South Carolina the statewide winner of the most votes in the Presidential Primary will not necessarily gain the pledges of all that State’s delegates. Super delegates and others (often the “establishment”) might well vote for someone else.

      Also Trump in the latest national poll is ahead by only 10%, and if the race tightens, there will be more discretionary and committed delegates who could vote for someone else.


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