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The Top 12 Surprises of the Campaign

Everyone can agree that the 2016 presidential race has been full of surprises. Nobody knows what’s next, and few seem able to figure out what just happened.

Here, in descending order, are PoliZette’s top 12 surprises of the campaign so far:

12. Gov. Scott Walker
Who would be the fighter in the GOP pack? Well, everyone knew it was Scott Walker, who slayed the unions in Wisconsin, won two elections and beat back a recall attempt in a blue state. But then another certified pugilist, Donald Trump, entered the race, and his brash style made Walker seem like a kindly friend to lost pets by comparison. Some polls gave Walker nearly a quarter of the vote in Iowa as late as this spring, but he has since sunk to a comparatively ignominious RealClearPolitics polling average of 6.4 percent in the Hawkeye State.

11. Lincoln Chaffee
The biggest surprise about the former Rhode Island senator and governor is that he ever got into the race in the first place. Scientists are studying the matter to try to figure out what provoked his candidacy. Maybe it’s another consequence of global warming. Hard to know.

10. Mike Huckabee
He was going to corner the market among evangelical voters and conquer Iowa like he did in 2008, when he grabbed over a third of the vote in a crowded field. Then, he’d ride the momentum into New Hampshire, where this time he’d be ready to keep the good times rolling instead of falling to third place. Instead, Huckabee is nowhere to be found, either in Iowa — where his poll numbers have fallen from double digits to 3 percent — or nationally, where he is also in the low single digits.

9. Taxes. Who Cares?
A Republican primary where everyone is running to the right but almost nobody talks about taxes? Jeb Bush found out this week when he released his tax plan to a chorus of gaping yawns. With President Obama having nearly wrecked the country, everyone is focused on more existential issues, such as the swamping tide of immigration, globalization within a world whose values are alien to Americans, foreign interventions that have killed thousands of young men, and the prospect of a bunch of raving lunatics in Tehran possessing nuclear weapons.

8. Bobby Jindal
He’s smart. A true conservative. A governor. An Indian-American who realized the American Dream. For years, he’s been touted as the Next Big Thing in Republican circles. RCP average: 0.

7. Gov. Chris Christie
He was supposed to be the unpredictable, unstoppable, endlessly colorful force in the race. But Christie has seemed strangely subdued, while Trump has seized the bull-in-a-china-shop mantle from him. Christie is at 2.8 percent in the RCP national average of polls, tied with Rick Perry, who everyone thinks is on his way to the exits.

6. Carly Fiorina
For weeks before the first debates in August, the dirty little secret of the race was that Carly Fiorina, who had waged only one campaign before, was blowing away audiences around the country. Then she took the stage at the GOP warmup debate in Cleveland and made mincemeat of her rivals, letting the world in on the fact that she was more than ready for prime time. She is now in a respectable tie for sixth place with Scott Walker. But don’t mention that she might be a great choice for VP — she says that’s sexist.

5. Conservative Commentators
Stuck behind their laptop screens at various downtown addresses in Washington, they almost all missed the revolution bubbling up from within their own ranks. And they still don’t really understand it, waiting for Trump to go away and wondering if he is flushing all their theories and thoughts down the toilet. But the commentariat doesn’t get what the proletariat knows: Thoughts won’t suffice during this time of crisis, and a man of action may be the only thing standing between America and death by Socialist Paradise.

4. Ben Carson
Anyone who would have said a retired pediatric neurosurgeon would be second in the polls at this point would have been told to have their head examined. But here he is, the professorial nonpolitician, sitting comfortably at a RCP-national 13.5 percent. He seems so nice; it’s probably going to be difficult for anyone to take him down without seeming nasty themselves. In the most anti-political presidential election year anyone can remember, a doctor prescribing common sense is just the cure, it seems.

3. Jeb Bush
What? Jeb Bush in single digits? The man who was supposed to be the giant of the race is at 9.3 percent in the RCP national tally. That’s less than a third of the support racked up by Trump, 4 points less than Ben Carson, and just a few points ahead of six other rivals. Bush has made totally unexpected gaffes from someone who has been exposed to the political world since birth. He has seemed to lack the fire and even the awkward charm of his brother and his father. He and his allied PACs, however, have raised more than $120 million and certainly are cooking up some nasty TV ad surprises of their own for Trump.

2. Hillary Clinton
Hillary’s coronation was completely ruined by the court jester, Bernie Sanders, an obscure socialist senator from Vermont who somehow stole the crown jewels and now leads Clinton in New Hampshire. Meantime, the man who sits next to throne, Vice President Joe Biden, is thinking of getting in, too. Perhaps the only surprise is that everyone is so surprised. Clinton has never been a natural politician — she’s in the process of trying to be herself, just like in 2008 — and a robust scandal or two was almost inevitable. I mean, this is the Clintons we’re talking about.

1. Donald Trump
From the moment of his tacky announcement-speech entrance via escalator, Trump has been the butt of the establishment’s jokes and the subject of its political obituaries. But that which doesn’t kill Trump makes Trump stronger, and he is now at 27.8 percent in the RCP national average and leading by about the same share in both Iowa and New Hampshire. It doesn’t matter if he makes mistakes. It doesn’t matter if he keeps his platform largely to himself. It doesn’t matter if he does all the things political pros say are certain, sudden death to a campaign. He could forget all three of the agencies he wants to eliminate, as long as he seemed sure of himself doing it, which he would. Trump thrives and shows no sign of fading.

This piece first appeared on PoliZette.

30 Responses to The Top 12 Surprises of the Campaign

  1. That pretty much sums up what’s happened until today.
    GovJindal spoke today and managed to offend not just MrTrump, but anyone who supports him.
    Lashing out at MrT with so much anger won’t get him one vote or one percentage point up.

    The whosit political pundits are all throwing hissy fits because nothing is going the way it’s “supposed” to go.
    The biggest mistake they made in attacking MrTrump:
    insulting everyone who listened to him or supports him. The ‘little people’ or ‘folks’ have had it with insults from those who think they are our betters.
    The 12 surprises will probably have to be updated daily in this amazing run for the WhiteHouse.

    • I missed Jindal’s speech today, I will look it up. I agree that the biggest mistake was to insult the voters/people.
      Instead of doing such, They should have turned the question around to an immediate full force answer of what they would do to resolve The Mess/The List.
      I am disappointed as always with the msm. Yesterday I listed to the first 3/4 of the Rally. In the afternoon, I was listening to news updates, and or later clicking on the news. They all mentioned Trump. No one of Cruz, etc.
      The idea that we have a Socialist running for P., still boggles the mind.

      • I know a couple of millenials who are feeling the Bern. They have no idea what socialism is. Never learned it in school. To them, socialism has something to do with social media and caring for society.

        • Socialism having to do with social media. That is funny.

          Agreed that majority of young people, ages 18-30, think that socialism/communism is equal to utopia.

          Someone has the reins and is in charge, at which point they don’t want to let go of power.

          Just ask the guy on the shirt the youth are wearing, Che.

          • Thankfully my sons, 24&29, listened & learned & understand that socialism, communism & fascism are bad for our Repiblic. They are in favor of capitalism & a good work ethic so they can earn & live happily. We live in AZ, see the trash & bs & they’re totally against illegal immigrants.

    • Saw clips from Trump’s rally speech–yeah, yeah, everyone is stupider than you. You tell me I will be bored with how happy I am with you. Maybe not. What else ya got?

      On MoJoe, they did the Las Vegas odds, which have been very accurate in the past (nothing like money to focus the mind). Bush gets the nom, Carson at the bottom, the Dems win over the Reps. Just another data point.

  2. Jeb is doing bad because he is a Mexican tranie. We are fed up with the unlimited obamamulim planned invasion.

    Europe,USA,England,Australia all being invaded at the same time by illegals.

    Looks like a planned crash of English speaking countries by someone.

    Pope to speak on one world government at the UN.

    • I wish my grandparents were still here for many reasons. I mention them quite a bit. For fun, as well as for their knowledge and discussions. I would sure like to talk to them about this speech that is schedule by the Pope.

  3. Trump needs to start focusing on policy rather than personal attacks. Jindal blew out what was left of his campaign this morning. He’s a smart guy but he’s never going to be POTUS–he just isn’t. He should run for Senate from Louisiana as that’s as far as his political career can go. Also, What Trump said about Fiorina has nothing to do with her looks, not that she isn’t homely–she is. But NONE of these people are the face of the next POTUS, Trump is going to win. The GOPe made a serious error and TOTALLY underestimated the RAGE of the conservatives in America. We elected what we thought were conservative officials that LIED to us and leapt with alacrity onto the GOPe corruption and pay to play merry-go-round but they will not be re-elected. Mark Kirk comes immediately to mind, he will never be re-elected and will not even be his party’s nominee as he is loathed by Illinoisans all over the state. Adam Kinzinger should also be replaced as he’s another GOPe we don’t need. Trump is the only hope America has left.
    Coming to Jesus late in life doesn’t make one less of a Christian. There are no real differences between the Democrat and Republican party anyway, they are all out to screw us over. However, I believe that Trump LOVES America as we do, and had he chosen to run as a Democrat and said the same thing he says now, I would still have to vote for him. I believe that Trump is one of very few people who can fix this mess because he does not have to put on knee pads to avoid being marginalized by the RINOs and DemocRATS who only want to elect people who are as corrupt as they are or who will tow the party line. If not Trump, then name someone not of the professional political class who doesn’t owe the lobbyists and their masters. If not Trump, then who? If not now, when? America can’t wait because she is hanging on by a thread and if we don’t get rid of the rat’s nest by electing Trump, then I believe there will be armed civil war. Obama has ginned up the dependency class and set race relations back 100 years and BLM is pouring gas on the fire he started. The illegal HAVE TO GO. Period. We have to get the spending under control. Period. We have to get rid of the commie and socialists and Muslims in government bureaucracy that were placed there by Jarrett and Obama and we can’t wait any longer. I don’t care what he USED to be–and many of us were not really involved until we realized that our way of life was coming to an end if we didn’t step up. Trump gets it and is standing up and not bothering to be politically correct–and his words have the unmistakable ring of TRUTH. He’s a leader and we need one desperately and that’s why he has my vote and support.

    • I thought the same thing, I’d like Trump’s message if he were running as a Dem.

      Oh, and thanks to Trump, the country now knows there’s a GOP woman running for President too.

      Personal attacks don’t bother me especially after the years of HRC being called “cankles”, “hag” etc. Michelle being called “susquatch”, “chewbacca”, etc. And SarahP was called even worse … by the same people who are feigning faux rage over everything that comes out of DT’s mouth. After Obama and a spineless GOP leadership, I’d vote for Darth Vader at this point. At least he loved his Death Star ;)

    • Agree! I am so sick Of PC, we use to have free speech. Now we are not to say this that or the other thing or the PC police will stomp on us.

      Lets have Christmas and not “Holiday” If you want a Rebel flag have one. Know what I mean?

  4. Now that ‘Trump fatigue’ has finally set in for me after the Carly slur, it looks like the remaining field has been mortally wounded by the Donald. Meanwhile, Hillary is still standing even though her lead has been greatly diminished.

    Trump is doing himself no favors by aligning himself with Palin. Her ‘squealing’ yesterday was obnoxious. IMO, Cruz is making a mistake by saddling up with the Donald. Does he really support the mass deportation of 20M illegals? Or is he hoping that some of the Trumpster’s magnetism will rub off on him. Good luck with that one!

    This election will hinge on Biden’s decision. If he runs, he is the only one who can beat Hillary AND the entire
    Repub slate. IMHO, of course. It’s all about ‘likeability’…and Biden wins in that department.

    Meanwhile, my biggest fear is Christie. He has Trump’s ‘bully syndrome’and this may just win it for him.
    Jeb and Kasich? Meh!
    Marco? Stranger things have happened.

    • Biden would win the nomination at this point and if Jeb! takes it for the GOP, I may vote for Biden. As a former Dem, there is no difference in the two parties. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying Trump destroy both parties and the media that enables them. Trump being Trump is not going to hurt the other candidates, they’re doing a good job doing that themselves.

      • I changed my registration from “R” to Independent after Obama was elected. The only thing that would stop me from voting for Biden if Jeb! is the nominee is the fact that Obama will always be sitting on his shoulder.
        Wonder if there are any great military leaders willing to take the job. Just a thought.

        • I renewed my passport before Obama got elected–and I did not want to part with that $75, believe me. Now, when I really may want to move, I am too laidup with arthritis and semi-blindness to light out for the territories. Figures. I am a registered Dem still–willnot vote for a Dem. And would not vote for Trump with his talking pts and no plans or evidence. So there I am…pending.

  5. That was a wonderful piece of reporting – after the fact.

    Yeah, no one predicted that Trump – a countless times business failure, a countless time serial adulterer, a Dem till yesterday who supported the Clintons etc., etc., – would do so well with the rank and file who claim to hate libs and immorality. Who knew?

    But fine. How about the future. Who among these clowns are going to be the nominee? Let’s see Keith can predict that.

    Or will he come back after the presidential elections are over and do his – “I told you so”…when in fact he hasn’t.