Tag Archives: CPAC

Denying Trump

March 4, 2016 — The Republicans are at a political crossroads. Now with voting completed in 15 states, Donald Trump finds himself settling into a support zone of between 316-334 committed delegates, depending upon what media count one examines. Sen. Ted Cruz’s support lies in the 224-234 range, while Sen. Marco Rubio falls between 110-113 pledged first ballot tallies. Gov. John Kasich has between 23-28 committed votes, while Dr. Ben Carson, who suspended his campaign Wednesday, has eight delegates according to all renderings. Carson will be speaking today at CPAC in Washington, D.C.

Trump’s high total of 334 is far from the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination, with 41 more states and territories yet to vote. In the next two weeks, culminating with the big Winner-Take-All primaries in Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66 delegates), voters from 17 entities will visit the polls. At the end of voting on March 15, 1,466 of 2,472 Republican delegates (59.3 percent) will be assigned to a candidate or placed in the unbound category. Therefore, the next two weeks will prove critical toward determining the GOP resolution.

Without changing the present course, Trump is likely to win the Republican nomination because no one opponent has unified the anti-Trump coalition. If the early front runner were to score another plurality victory in Florida and Ohio, an additional 165 delegates would come his way in addition to what he gains in places like Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri, all of which will vote on or before March 15.

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The GOP Pack Goes to CPAC

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) began yesterday at Washington, DC’s Marriot Wardman Park Hotel. The American Conservative Union, while less influential in the conservative movement than it was during its heyday in the 1970’s, still hosts the event, which has become a well-attended, well-covered political and media extravaganza.

The 2012 CPAC conference is likely to occupy the center ring in the Republican presidential nomination circus today. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich are all on the CPAC agenda today hoping to prove their conservative bona fides and earn the support of the decidedly right-of-center voters who represent the lion’s share of the GOP’s political base.

For those three and Texas congressman Ron Paul, a solid, conservative red-meat speech could provide a much-needed and long-lasting spark to a relative media lull in the normally tumultuous nomination contest. Conversely, a poor or lackluster performance might convince conservatives and political media types that one candidate just doesn’t have the ability to drive conservative voter base intensity.

The stakes are particularly high for Romney, Gingrich and the newly resurgent Santorum. Santorum speaks this morning and hopes his recent stunning successes in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado coupled with endorsements from heavy-hitting social issues leaders will convince conservatives to view him, rather than Gingrich, as the movement’s alternative to Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor speaks after Santorum and will undoubtedly promote himself as a true conservative who can be trusted. Expect him to throw anti-Obama red meat to the crowd as he tries to convince conference-goers that he has the best chance of beating the President in November. Gingrich, whose numbers have been slipping steadily since a couple of lackluster debate performances in the run-up to the Florida primary will seek to regain his footing by re-connecting with conservative movement leaders he has known and worked with for more than 30 years.

While Rep. Paul certainly has a following among conservatives who are focused on shrinking the government and returning to a commodity-backed currency, his global policy positions and some of his stands on social issues are likely to make him unacceptable to many foreign policy and cultural conservatives.

A CPAC/Washington Times straw vote will be held on Saturday with naturally no delegate votes at stake. The straw vote may not determine who GOP conservatives back nationally, but the outcome will certainly help the winner claim the “true conservative” mantel.