January Power Rankings: Part I

Happy New Year, everybody! And not just Happy New Year, but Happy Election Year! I hope this blog is the first you turned to as the calendar finally reads 2016. We’re getting so close. Can you believe the Iowa caucuses are just one month away??

It’s the first of the month, and just because it’s a holiday does not mean I can let it go by without my monthly Power Rankings, which ranks the candidates in likelihood to win the nomination. However, since I’m sure many of you are, shall we say, “less than your best” right now, I’m going to break up this edition into four shorter parts over the weekend rather than ask for your sustained concentration today. (That’s right — super rare weekend PPFA posts!) We’ll do one “tier” per day. Therefore, though we’re starting these rankings at one month before Iowa, we’ll finish them at the four-week mark on Monday.

Let’s get to it!

Tier 4: The Dropouts
1. Rick Perry
2. Scott Walker
3. Bobby Jindal
4. Lindsey Graham
5. George Pataki
6. Jim Gilmore 

Oh, wait, Jim Gilmore is still in the race? Eh, we’ll throw him in here anyway. How can I separate him from George Pataki? They’ve been paired with each other in each of the last three rankings!

A recent New York Magazine article noted the campaign troubles of these two candidacies. Hilariously dubbing it the “least important rivalry” of the GOP field, writer Jamie Fuller points out the relentless futility of their campaigns, including the fact that, “Recent reports show that both candidates have failed to get on a few ballots, thanks to missed deadlines.” So not only are they polling next to nothing, but many voters wouldn’t even have the opportunity to vote for them even if that were their colossally unlikely intention.

Make no mistake — the better of the two campaigns folded up shop this week when Pataki dropped out. Not only did Pataki poll better than Gilmore (better, in this case, meaning he actually registered a point once in a while to earn a spot in the undercard debates), but there is one more glaring statistic that jumps out. Twitter followers. Pataki: ~82,900. Gilmore: 2,620. When Twitter doesn’t even need to round for you, that’s when you know your national campaign is in trouble.

Still, as I’ve noted before, Gilmore always edged Pataki in the rankings because the former Governor of New York had no chance to grow due to his much more moderate platform, including being downright liberal on abortion, same sex marriage, guns, and climate change. But hey, he’s only 70 years old, so there’s always next time.

The best part of the Gilmore Campaign, meanwhile, is its comic relief. Despite not registering in polling, despite often not even being included in the surveys themselves, despite missing out on four of the five debates, despite not showing up on some important state ballots, and despite having countable Twitter followers, Gilmore as recently as two weeks ago said everything is going according to plan. “We are carrying out a strategy,” he said.

So I guess we should all get used to saying President Gilmore.

See you tomorrow for Tier 3! Happy Election Year, everybody!

Part II

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3 thoughts on “January Power Rankings: Part I

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