Sorry, Democrats, the 2016 primary is over already; Democrats at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner have spoken.
“The event felt like Democrats have concluded the race is over,” said David Yepsen, who wrote about Iowa politics for The Des Moines Register for 34 years.
Mark Halperin makes the case that Hillary is the person most likely to be the next president, and offers a long list of reasons why. There are a bunch of reasons that most conservatives will dismiss (She’s fired up! Big donors love her again! The DNC will help her!) and a few that they shouldn’t:
The Republican nominee is more likely to emerge bloodied, broke, and behind. A nominating calendar and delegate rules designed to avoid the kind of extended intra-party fight that crippled Mitt Romney’s general election effort will almost certainly be no match for a fifteen candidate field, a number of whom can make a decent argument that they’ll win the prize. The ferociousness and deep pockets of gladiators Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and the possibility that the party establishment will end up intervening with tens of millions of dollars in negative TV spots means a long, gory slog that might not find resolution until after the national convention in Cleveland in mid-July. (Of course, if Trump is ultimately the nomination victor, then “broke” should not be a factor.)
Does anyone foresee a scenario where there isn’t an intense, all-out, mudslinging, negative-attack-ad war between the remaining contenders in the coming months? Is there any way the eventual GOP nominee doesn’t come out of this process with higher disapproval numbers?
On paper, money shouldn’t be a huge issue. Theoretically, the purpose of super PACs and these big-spending outside groups is that they can raise as much as they like and advertise messages helpful to their candidate and harmful to the opposition, without endorsing a candidate. (Every penny American Bridge 21st Century PAC spent in the 2012 cycle was used to attack Republicans.) But that presumes that these super PACs are ready to go once the primary is over, fully stocked to run ads in every key swing state, and so on…
Hillary’s team is already thinking about general election targeting. One of the pages Brooklyn has taken from the Obama playbook is to start thinking about the general election early. That includes using contests in caucuses and primaries states that will be battlegrounds next November to build up a team, target data, establish media relationships, and keep it all humming after the nominating contest and throughout the duration. It also includes living by the dictum “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours let’s negotiate over,” hawkishly protecting the nearly 250 electoral votes and voting groups Democrats have won consistently over the last several cycles while looking to expand the targeting efforts demographically and geographically.
Are any of the GOP candidates thinking about the general election yet? Pretty tough to focus on the general when you’re still scrambling for a chance at the nomination.