Analyst: Rubio or Cruz Will Face Clinton in 2016

November 17, 2015

The 2016 presidential election will come down to Hillary Clinton and either Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz, political analyst Charlie Cook told several thousand REALTORS® on Saturday at the Federal Political Forum. Cook is editor of the Cook Political Report and a frequent analyst on network campaign coverage.

Despite the interest in Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont now, the mix of primaries and caucuses favors Clinton too heavily for her not to get the nomination. Her one hurdle is the e-mail scandal, which Cook believe will fade away by the time voting begins, although there’s a 15–20 percent chance the matter could turn into a legal issue. If that happens, the risk for her would increase. 

On the Republican side, despite their popularity now, businessman Donald Trump and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson have hit the top of their support and neither is likely to see more gains going forward. By the time voting begins next year, their support is likely to be less than it is today.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio governor John Kasich, despite their obvious strengths and qualifications for the presidency, are not firing up their party establishment and their opportunities to break through are starting to close.

Cook says the Republican race will come down to a battle between the establishment wing of the part and the outsider wing, which includes tea party economic conservatives and evangelical Christians. Cruz, whom Cook described as “brilliant,” regardless of what you think of his politics, will consolidate support of the outsider wing, and Florida senator Rubio will do the same for the establishment wing.

Former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina, another outsider candidate, could very well be a top pick as a vice presidential running mate.

In the U.S. Senate, Democrats are likely to make a strong showing and either win back that chamber or at least get the split between the two parties very close to 50–50. That’s because Republicans must defend far more seats than Democrats, and many of the seats are in states that typically vote Democratic in presidential elections, while Democrats have a far easier mix of races facing them.

Cook noted that REALTORS®, because they’re leaders in their communities, play an outsized role in elections. “You have a kind of multiplier effect” in your influence, he said.  

REALTOR® Magazine