It is looking increasingly like Donald Trump will win the race for the non-establishment candidate and Marco Rubio is poised to seize the race for the establishment candidate (although there is still a lot more uncertainty there). This seems like a shocking turn of events over the last few days, unless, of course you have been reading my columns. It is looking increasingly likely that the scenarios I outlined on January 17 are coming to fruition.
Non-Establishment Race: If Trump wins Iowa and New Hampshire, he could win the non-establishment race right there, or get a knockout in South Carolina. Ted Cruz got beat up hard during the Thursday night debate in Iowa and Trump has increased his dominance in the Iowas polls. If Trump loses is Iowa, he still in the drivers seat with New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
Establishment Race: Rubio is almost certain to grab third place in Iowa, possibly even get close to second place finisher Cruz. He will destroy the establishment field. This may lead him to a victory over the establishment field in New Hampshire, as enough voters abandon their first choice candidate, in the hope that Rubio can stop trump. If he takes the establishment field in both Iowa and New Hampshire, it is likely that the rest of the field drops out. Any further campaigning against Rubio would could jeopardize future jobs within the Republican establishment, like anchoring a show on Fox News (which I assume is Chris Christie’s goal in all of this).
Vertical Lines: GOP debates on Thursday 1/14/2016 and Thursday 1/28/2016
Sources: Betfair, Hypermind, PredictIt, http://twopointoh.predictwise.com/politics/2016-president-republican-nomination/
Rubio’s probability of winning is staying relatively steady, just dipping a little as the likelihood of the establishment coalescing around one candidate looked a little bleak earlier this month. The major newspapers in New Hampshire and Boston endorsed other establishment candidates in the last few weeks, seemingly begging for a fractured establishment. But, neither John Kasich or Chris Christie stood out in the final debate before Iowa and Rubio’s surge in interest coming out of Iowa may be enough to end their campaigns and unify the establishment. Oh, and Jeb Bush is still running!