Fivethirtyeight.com, the outfit that accurately predicted the electoral vote spread between Obama and Romney in 2012, is at it again: they have analyzed the conservatism of the hoard of GOP candidates, announced or not, for the 2016 Presidential election. The results are extremely interesting, as the “clown show” is now beginning in earnest.
Fivethirtyeight (named for the number of electoral votes in the Presidential election) analyzed the candidates’ public issue statements, Congressional voting record (where applicable), fundraising sources (who gave what), and then averaged the combined scores on these three elements to get a conservative score from zero (meaning absolutely moderate) to 100 (meaning as conservative as Adolf Hitler, Attila the Hun, or Vlad the Impaler). I have listed the candidates from least conservative to most conservative:
GEORGE PATAKI. The former two-term New York governor, who just announced as a candidate, is the least conservative of the crop, with a combined score of 14. He has no legislative record, so this is based on his public statements and fundraising.
CHRIS CHRISTIE. The two-term (if he makes it) New Jersey governor, an unannounced candidate who could very well find his candidacy derailed if he is indicted in the “bridgegate” scandal, is the second least conservative, with a 16 combined score, also based on his public statements and fundraising.
Of note, Richard Nixon sits very close to Christie, with an 18 combined score; he probably could not to be nominated for President as a Republican today. Jon Huntsman, the failed 2012 GOP Presidential contender, also rated an 18. Recent GOP Presidential candidates and Presidents George H.W. Bush (28), Bob Dole (29), John McCain (31), and Gerald Ford (32) all have scores close to that of the average Republican in Congress in 1979-1980 of 30. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP candidate, was awarded a 39 rating, and President Ronald Reagan a 46. The average Republican in Congress in 2013-2014 is far more conservative than any of them, with a score of 52. And Barry Goldwater, the former Arizona Senator and 1964 GOP Presidential candidate who lost badly to Lyndon Johnson, scores a stratospheric 66 out of 100.
JEB BUSH. The former two-term Florida governor, based on his public statements and fundraising, has a combined score of 37, less conservative than his Presidential brother, George W. Bush, who gets a 44, also based on his public statements and fundraising, since he was never a legislator.
BEN CARSON. The neurosurgeon-turned-politician, with no political office ever held, rates a 38, based on sparse information.
LINDSEY GRAHAM. The lifelong bachelor Senator from South Carolina, who recently retired from his service as an Air Force JAG officer, weighs in with a 42 rating. If he becomes President, will his younger sister become his First Lady, or will he have a First Lad?
CARLY FIORINA. The failed CEO of Hewlett Packard, who has never successfully won public office, gets an average combined score of 43, based on her public statements and fundraising.
BOBBY JINDAL. The Howdy Doody lookalike two-term governor of Louisiana, who bombed in his alternative GOP State of the Union address several years ago, rates a 45.
RICK SANTORUM. The former Senator from Pennsylvania and arch-Catholic anti-abortion critic, who surprisingly finished second to Romney in the 2012 clown show, now a lobbyist, also scores a 45.
MIKE (“I LOST 100 LBS.”) HUCKABEE. The former two-term governor of Arkansas (after Bill Clinton) and current political commentator, was rated a 52, based on his public statements and fundraising.
RICK “OOPS” PERRY. The just announced multi-term governor of Texas, who succeeded George W. Bush in that position, also gets a 52, based on the same criteria as Huckabee.
MARCO RUBIO. The Cuban-American water-drinking former Florida legislator and current first term Senator, who is running for President and not for re-election, rates a 55.
SCOTT WALKER. The college dropout governor of Wisconsin, now in his second term, weighs in with a 56. A real cheese-head.
RAND PAUL. The first-term Kentucky Senator has a combined score of 64, but also has the curious record of having a huge disparity between what he says (a 30 rating) and how he votes (a 98 score, close to being as conservative as Adolf Hitler). He is only surpassed in this disparity by his father, Ron Paul, who gets a 15 public statements score, coupled with a 97 voting record score. Like father, like son.
TED CRUZ. The Cuban Canadian-born first-term Senator from Texas, who gets the award as the most hated member of that body, was determined to be the most conservative 2016 GOP Republican Presidential candidate, with a combined score of 71 and a voting record approaching that of Rand Paul, with a 94. If he becomes the GOP nominee, I will become a birther…
Ted Vaill is in his fourth term as an elected delegate to the California Democratic Convention, is Vice President of the Malibu Democratic Club, and is a lawyer and filmmaker.