Showing posts with label Mike Pence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Pence. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Is the RNC Using the Debate Criteria to Winnow the Field?

Invisible Primary: Visible -- Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

First, over at FHQ Plus...
  • The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the upper chamber's version of a bill to move the presidential primary in the Ocean state. All that and more at FHQ Plus.
If you haven't checked out FHQ Plus yet, then what are you waiting for? Subscribe below for free and consider a paid subscription to support FHQ's work and unlock the full site.

In Invisible Primary: Visible today...
As FHQ noted earlier in the week in this space, the RNC released the qualification criteria for its first presidential primary debate in August late last week. Of course, our's was not the only reaction out there. Walt Hickey at Business Insider astutely pointed out the likely small pool of polls the national party will be able to lean on by requiring qualifying polls to have at least "800 registered likely Republican voters" in the sample. And FiveThirtyEight's Geoffrey Skelley noted that the DNC allowed qualification in the first 2019 debate by polling or donors whereas the RNC is requiring candidates hit both metrics to qualify in 2023

In total it sums to a high bar exerting some pressure on the low end of the field. The Burgums and Hutchinsons and Elders and Johnsons, in other words, will potentially have some to a great deal of difficulty making the stage. And that is a departure from the past two contests that have seen large fields, the 2020 Democrats and 2016 Republicans. Four years ago, the DNC had to have two consecutive nights of debates (with randomly chosen participants) to accommodate everyone who qualified. And four years before that, the RNC split the field into a main stage debate and kiddie table debate; a set up that had its own potential winnowing effects. 

But the criteria are not the only facet of this overall process exerting winnowing pressures on the candidates struggling to gain attention. There is pressure from the top end of the field in 2023 that was not present in either 2020 (Democrats) or 2016 (Republicans) or not present to the same extent. Here is what I mean.

Look at how the fields of candidates are positioned on this date in 2015 and 2019. How much support were the top candidates pulling in?

Jeb Bush -- 11.3 percent (please clap) 
Scott Walker -- 10.8 percent 
Marco Rubio -- 10.3 percent 
[Combined: 32.4 percent]

Joe Biden -- 33.5 percent 
Bernie Sanders -- 16.7 percent 
[Combined: 50.2 percent]

Quibble if one will about using the Real Clear Politics averages or the specific date chosen or how many candidates were included or whatever, but the two examples above are far different from what one sees now in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race. 

Donald Trump -- 53.2 percent 
Ron DeSantis -- 22.3 percent 
[Combined: 75.5 percent]

There just is not a lot of oxygen there for other candidates. Some might have difficulty qualifying for the first debate regardless of the criteria. The first debate was going to apply winnowing pressure regardless. What the RNC criteria may decide is just how much. And this top end pressure is not new. Trump and DeSantis have routinely gobbled up about three-quarters of the support out there. As DeSantis has faded Trump gained. Stretching into last year, as Trump's fortunes waned, DeSantis rose. 

FHQ is not saying the debate rules do not matter. They do and they will likely help winnow the field to some degree. But that is not the only thing exerting some winnowing pressure on the other candidates. They are, however, one of the few things in the control of the national party.

Former Vice President Mike Pence has launched his bid for the Republican nomination with a splashy new video, but starts in a bad spot. And as Julia Azari and Seth Masket argue, Pence is stuck trying to resurrect the party of Reagan while simultaneously tethered to a Trump anchor. Candidates have seen some success trying to tread between past and present in years gone by, but it is not a path for Pence that is without resistance in the current context, they point out.

In the travel primary, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to branch out and hit states that are not home to one of the first four contests. There is a trip to Oklahoma this weekend and another to keynote a big Tennessee Republican Party fundraiser next month. Both are Super Tuesday states.

Also, CNBC's semiannual survey of millionaires still shows DeSantis as the choice, but the gap between him and the former president has noticeably shrunk since the last survey was conducted in fall 2022.

On this date... 1988, President George H.W. Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis both swept primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey and New Mexico. The wins by Dukakis pushed him over the number of delegates necessary to clinch the Democratic nomination. 2008, New York Senator Hillary Clinton conceded the Democratic presidential nomination to Senator Barack Obama a few days after the last round of primaries. 2016, Donald Trump ran off a string of victories in primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota to close out primary season on the Republican primary calendar. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won primaries in California, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders continued his success in caucus states, winning in North Dakota and besting Clinton in the Montana primary. 2020, President Donald Trump won an electronic vote of party leaders in Puerto Rico to take all of the island territory's delegates in the Republican presidential nomination race.


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Trump and the 2024 Delegate Allocation Rules

Invisible Primary: Visible -- Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

First, over at FHQ Plus...
  • South Carolina is unique among states with state-run and funded presidential primaries. In some ways that helped elevate the Palmetto state to the first slot on the 2024 Democratic primary calendar. But quirkiness presents some challenges as well. All the details at FHQ Plus.
If you haven't checked out FHQ Plus yet, then what are you waiting for? Subscribe below for free and consider a paid subscription to support FHQ's work and unlock the full site.

In Invisible Primary: Visible today...
Gregory Korte had a nice piece up at Bloomberg the other day concerning the delegate allocation rules and how the Trump campaign's efforts to massage them in 2020 may pay dividends for the former president in 2024. As he notes, however, there will not be a complete picture of the state-level delegate allocation rules until October 1. That makes it tough to game out the impact of the rules for next year. 

Moreover, the various campaigns are doing the same thing. They are currently trying to plan this out, but they are also simultaneously trying to affect what those rules are to lay the groundwork for advantageous allocation rules next year. And that makes for some potential, if not likely, cross-pressures with which state-level party officials/committees/conventions making these decision will have to deal. Together that makes for a challenging decision-making environment. FHQ talked about this in setting the 2024 Republican delegate allocation rules baseline back in March:
If decision makers in state parties across the country cannot see a clear advantage to an allocation change one way or the other, then it is more likely that the 2020 baseline method survives into 2024. That theoretically helps Trump. ...if he is the frontrunner. But if Trump is not the frontrunner once primary season kicks off, then any shift away from the 2020 baseline -- a baseline with the knobs turned toward incumbent defense (or frontrunner defense) -- may end up helping a candidate other than the one intended. 

Another factor adding to this uncertainty is how decision makers view a change playing with rank and file members of the party. If elected officials or other elites in the party are wary of endorsing one Republican candidate or another, then they may also be less willing to make an allocation change for fear that it would be viewed as helping or hurting Trump. In other words, it looks like they are putting their thumb on the scale one way or the other. That is the sort of view that augurs against change. And again, the status quo likely helps Trump (if current conditions persist). 

Basically, the bottom line is this. Allocation changes are tough. They are tough to make because there is uncertainty in the impact those changes will have. It is much easier to see the potential impact of moving a primary to an early date for example. It could help a favorite son or daughter candidate. But an earlier primary or caucus definitely better insures that the state influences the course of the nomination race. If a contest falls too late -- after a presumptive nominee has emerged and clinched the nomination -- then that contest has literally no impact. Some impact, no matter how small, is better than literally zero impact. The same is true with respect to the decision to conduct a primary election or caucuses. There are definite turnout effects that come with holding a primary rather than caucuses. And greater participation in primaries typically means a more diverse -- less ideologically homogenous or extreme -- electorate.

Things are less clear with allocation rules changes. 
There is much more in that post. FHQ will be drawing from it throughout the remainder of the invisible primary if not into primary season in 2024. Go read it. But in the meantime, a couple of additional things:
  1. Yes, more truly winner-take-all states help Trump at this time. But they would help any frontrunner. These are, after all, frontrunner rules. They help build and pad a delegate lead once the RNC allows winner-take-all rules to kick in on March 15, entering 50-75 rule territory.
  2. But Team Trump is likely looking toward (and looking to maintain) the other rules changes from 2020 for an earlier-on-the-calendar boost. An earlier (technical) knock out for a 2024 frontrunner may come from states earlier than March 15 with winner-take-all triggers. If a candidate wins a majority of the vote statewide and/or at the congressional district level, then that candidate wins all of the delegates from that jurisdiction (or all of a state's delegates available if the delegates are pooled). Alternatively, if no other candidates hit the qualifying thresholds (set to their max of 20 percent in most proportional states in 2020), then the winner is allocated all of the delegates in some states even if they do not have a majority. And the name of the game here is not necessarily winning all of the delegates, but maximizing the net delegate advantage coming out of any given state. All of the Republican campaigns are asking how much they can improve on a baseline proportional allocation, and picking spots on the map and calendar where they can do. Well, campaigns are doing that if they know what they are doing anyway.

In the travel primary, former Vice President Mike Pence will be back in New Hampshire on Tuesday, May 16. And it looks at if a super PAC has formed around his before the end of June presidential launch. The interesting thing is less the formation of an aligned super PAC and more about some of the staff primary hires the new group has made. There are folks from the orbits of a former Republican presidential nominee (Scott Reed, former campaign manager of the 1996 Dole campaign), a once talked-about possible 2024 aspirant who declined to run (Mike Ricci, former spokesman for former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan) and a still-talked about possible 2024 candidate who says he is not running (Bobby Saparow, former campaign manager for current Georgia Governor Brian Kemp). In total, that makes for an interesting mix of old school Republican politics and new school Trump resistance within the party. That may not represent a winning path in the Republican nomination race, but it is indicative of a unique course forward for Pence relative to his competition.

Endorsement Math. Yesterday, FHQ raised the sizable number of Iowa state legislative endorsements Florida Governor Ron DeSantis rolled out before his weekend trek to the Hawkeye state. And on Monday, Never Back Down, the super PAC aligned with DeSantis, released another 49 new endorsements from fellow early state, New Hampshire. [That is 51 endorsements minus the previously revealed support of New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osborne and the double endorsement -- of both Trump and DeSantis -- from Juliet Harvey-Bolia.] Three of those DeSantis endorsements in the Granite state are from representatives who have supported Trump in the past.

But the math is different across both of those waves of DeSantis endorsements from Iowa and New Hampshire. The 37 state legislative endorsements from the Hawkeye state accounted for more than a third of all of the possible Iowa Republican legislators -- House and Senate. In New Hampshire, those 50 endorsements, all from members of the state House, register differently. They make up just a quarter of the total number of possible endorsements from the lower chamber alone. Yes, that may be splitting hairs, but it is also a long way of saying the pool of endorsements is bigger in New Hampshire. Others will be vying for the support of the remaining 150 Granite state House members. 

On this date... 1972, Alabama Governor George Wallace, a day after being shot campaigning in Maryland, won primaries in the Old Line state and in Michigan 2000, long after becoming the presumptive nominees of their parties, George W. Bush and Al Gore won the Oregon presidential primary. 2019, long shots, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rocky de la Fuente, respectively entered the Democratic and Republican presidential nomination races. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Invisible Primary: Visible -- Pence's Predicament

Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

McCay Coppins at The Atlantic peeks into some recent focus groups looking at Pence 2024:
Organized by the political consultant Sarah Longwell, the groups consisted of Republican voters who supported Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020. The participants were all over the country—suburban Atlanta, rural Illinois, San Diego—and they varied in their current opinions of Trump. In some cases, Longwell filtered for voters who should be in Pence’s target demographic. One group consisted entirely of two-time Trump voters who didn’t want him to run again; another was made up of conservative evangelicals, who might presumably appreciate Pence’s roots in the religious right.
Look, one should never put too much trust in focus groups -- especially a handful of them at one snapshot in time -- but when they are chosen to test a candidate out with groups that should be favorable to the candidate, well, the results should be okay. These were not. And they confirm some priors for those who may be skeptical of a Pence run for the 2024 Republican nomination. It is revealing, then, even if not generalizable (pending future data). The association with Trump and the perceived failings of Pence to act in accordance with the former president's wishes on January 6 is to Pence what imminent death syndrome was to characters in that old Mr. Show bit. It puts him in an awkward position. And that is not the place to be with Republican primary voters at this time. 

Donald Trump will likely be an interesting test of a number of hypotheses as the invisible primary continues and ultimately yields to primary season next year. Among those hypotheses will be whether actions and not words carry the day for Republican primary voters. FHQ is quick to preach actions during the invisible primary, but when rubber meets road and voters are pulling (or not pulling) the lever for Trump in 2024, the actions of four years in the White House may mean less. In the context of abortion, more happened on the former president's watch than under any Republican administration, yet Trump's comments about how the issue hurt Republicans in the 2022 midterms, not to mention his general avoidance of the issue, weigh on the minds of evangelicals in and outside of Iowa. But that segment of those caucusing early next year in the first contest in Iowa will not be insignificant. Nor, however, are they monolithic.

FHQ has not said much about announced Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, and that probably says a lot. However, in the month since the entrepreneur formally declared, he has raised nearly $500,000 from 10,000 donors, many of them first-timers, across all 50 states. That is nothing to sneeze at, but by comparison, Trump hauled in ten times as much at the tail end of 2024, and DeSantis is sitting on a fortune left over from his gubernatorial reelection bid last year (in addition to what he continues to bring in). Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley has yet to report any figures. Longshot though he may be, Ramaswamy demonstrates how effective the online fundraising infrastructure combined with a steady stream media hits can be. 

On this date... 1972, Edmund Muskie won the Democratic primary in Illinois, the Maine senator's final primary win of the cycle. Muskie also won the earlier New Hampshire primary. 2019, SB 445 was signed into law, moving the Arkansas presidential primary back to March. 2020, New York cancelled its Republican presidential primary after President Trump was the only candidate to qualify.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pence for President Gets and Assist from the Value Voters Straw Poll

Indiana congressmen, Mike Pence, just topped the fifth Value Voters Summit straw poll (723 voters) for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. [No, the group isn't expressly aligned with the Republican Party, so it was for the whole thing and not just the GOP nomination. However, there weren't a whole lot of Democrats in attendance.] Here's how the ledger looked when members of the group had cast their votes:
  • Mike Pence (24%)
  • Mike Huckabee (22%)
  • Mitt Romney (13%)
  • Newt Gingrich (10%)
  • Sarah Palin (7%)
  • Rick Santorum (5%)
  • Jim DeMint (5%)
  • Bobby Jindal (2%)
  • Mitch Daniels (2%)
  • Chris Christie (2%)
  • John Thune (2%)
  • Bob McDonnell (1%)
  • Marco Rubio (1%)
  • Paul Ryan (1%)
  • Haley Barbour (1%)
  • Ron Paul (1%)
  • Jan Brewer (less than 1%)
Pence is the real surprise here. If you were going to pick a Hoosier to have a good shot at the Republican nomination, you might have opted for Mitch Daniels instead of Pence. Yet, there Pence is, having doubled his share of the vote from last year's straw poll, on top. Sure Sarah Palin is on the low end in terms of share of the vote, but she was not in attendance. Neither was Tim Pawlenty, who pulled his name off the ballot because he wasn't going to be there. The Minnesota governor was in a similar position to Pence a year ago and there is no telling how he would have fared this year. Finally, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney essentially maintained similar shares of the straw poll vote as they did in 2009.

Does this result prompt Pence to jump in? Well, it is a little early still, but it might give him something to think about. Once the calendar turns to 2011, we will start seeing Republicans line up to throw their hat in the ring for the nomination. That's the next step.

Are you following FHQ on Twitter and/or Facebook? Click on the links to join in.