Monday, January 25, 2016

Outsiders' Momentum Builds as Iowa Looms

So, any bets on both Trump and Sanders to win the caucuses?

At USA Today, "Political outsiders surge in Iowa in last week before caucuses":
WASHINGTON — With just a week left until the Iowa Caucus, "outsider" presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders appeared to be building momentum over "establishment" candidates and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hinted he might enter the race as an independent.

The influential Des Moines Register Saturday night endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican race, rejecting Trump and Sanders in favor of Rubio's  "optimism" and Clinton's experience. But Sanders held a narrow lead over Clinton in a CBS Iowa poll released Sunday. In a new Fox News poll, Trump held a sizable lead over Cruz with Rubio in third place; Cruz had held the lead in the same poll three weeks ago. The CBS poll showed the same top three for the Republicans.

The poll results gave new weight to a New York Times report over the weekend that Bloomberg has instructed his advisers to draw up plans for a potential presidential bid and will make a decision by early March. Bloomberg would offer himself as a moderate alternative if it appears likely that Trump or Cruz will win the GOP nomination and Sanders will become the Democratic nominee, the Times reported.

Clinton said Sunday that won't be necessary because she will ultimately win the Democratic nomination. Even if Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire — where he is ahead in polls — Clinton's campaign believes she has the advantage in other early primary states such as South Carolina and Nevada, where her strong support among African American and Latino voters could help her prevail.

"The way I read what he (Bloomberg) said is if I didn’t get the nomination, he might consider it," Clinton said on NBC’s Meet the Press. "Well, I’m going to relieve him of that and get the nomination so he doesn’t have to (run)."

The candidates are continuing to converge on Iowa between now and the Feb. 1 caucus day. Candidates from both parties have scheduled a total of nearly 100 campaign appearances in the state over the next week, according to a list compiled by the Des Moines Register. Republicans will also hold another debate Thursday in Des Moines, hosted by Fox News.

Sanders, a Democratic Socialist who often rails against the wealth and power of the top 1%, said he would welcome the prospect of facing two billionaires if Trump wins the GOP nomination and Bloomberg enters the race.

"I think the American people do not want to see our nation move toward an oligarchy, where billionaires control the political process," Sanders said on Meet the Press. "I think we’ll win that election."

While Trump and Cruz battle it out for the conservative wing of the GOP, Rubio was working to position himself as a more mainstream alternative...
Still more.

And if Bloomberg enters the race regardless...