The Republican presidential race: Then and now

Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher looks back on the predictions he made at the start of the Republican campaign.

    [John Locher/AP]
    [John Locher/AP]

    Now that Donald Trump has all but secured the Republican Party nomination, I thought it would be worth looking back at the predictions I made for the Republican field back in June and how they and I fared.

    As ever, we go through the list in alphabetical order:

    Jeb Bush:

    The prediction: "He has to do well in one of the first three nominating contests, probably New Hampshire, to have momentum going into Florida where he was once governor…He could be easily picked off."

    The reality: Didn't do well in any of the first three contests. Poor performances in the early debates really rattled him and Donald Trump managed to rattle him and undermine him.

    Ben Carson:

    The prediction: "His fiery attacks delight the right wing of the party but he lacks the broad base support he needs."

    The reality: Perhaps stayed in longer than expected but his lack of depth and experience was exposed during the debates.

    Ted Cruz:

    The prediction: "He has a strong campaign team, can be impressive one to one and he has important backers. He'll hang in the race for a while but is unlikely to win."

    The reality: The last serious challenger to Trump. Well-organised but simply couldn't connect strongly with new voters coming into the party.

    Carly Fiorina:

    The prediction: "No broad base of support, no big backers, no clear new policies. No chance."

    The reality: Never troubled the top of the polls in any state. One good debate performance. That was it.

    Lindsey Graham:

    The prediction: "Not the long shot everyone thinks."

    The reality: Despite a strong message on foreign policy, simply couldn't make the breakthrough. Still an important voice in the party.

    Mike Huckabee:

    The prediction: "Will have to perform well in Iowa again" (he won the primary there in 2008).

    The reality: He didn't and his race ended there.

    George Pataki :

    The prediction: "Pataki has no chance. Likely to be the first to drop out."

    The reality: He wasn't the first out and that's about the only positive thing to be said of his campaign.

    Rand Paul:

    The prediction: "An articulate long shot who will pick up enough support to keep going longer when others have fallen away."

    The reality: Dropped out of the race much sooner than most expected and now faces a battle to keep his senate seat in Kentucky.

    Rick Perry:

    The prediction: "Certainly one of the top five contenders."

    The reality: Dropped out after just 100 days - didn't even make it to Iowa. That was a big surprise for a politician who can work a room almost better than any of the others in the race.

    Marco Rubio:

    The prediction: "He has to do well in the first four contests, not necessarily winning any of them, and stay alive until the show moves to Florida."

    The reality: In the beginning ge was almost certainly many people's second choice but ran a poor campaign and was crushed in his home state of Florida where he dropped out.

    Rick Santorum:

    The prediction: "A candidate whose time has passed."

    The reality: Yep.

    Those who had still to declare at the point:

    Chris Christie:

    The prediction: "May have missed his moment by not challenging Romney in 2012."

    The reality: Thought his campaign would be saved if he won in New Hampshire. He didn't and it wasn't. Now a Trump supporter.

    Bobby Jindal:

    The prediction: "Such a long shot that it seems hardly worth firing up the campaign."

    The reality: Another who didn't make it to Iowa.

    John Kasich:

    The prediction: "Politically he occupies much of the same ground as Jeb Bush. If the Bush campaign fails to ignite…Kasich might decide it's time to get involved."

    The reality: The last man standing against Trump but won only one state. Watch for a run in four years.

    Scott Walker:

    The prediction: "There are questions about his record and shifting positions."

    The reality: Seemed like he was set for the long haul but was not the greatest thinker or candidate and that was exposed during the debates.

    If I'd been pushed a year ago to say who was likely to be the nominee, I would have said Kasich or Rubio.

    But wait, I hear you cry, where is Donald Trump? When the original article was written on June 16 last year, he hadn't declared and no one was sure he actually would.

    When he did, like many others I thought his campaign may make it as far as Iowa and no further. His entry to the race changed everything, and may ultimately change the face of US politics.

    New York: Primaries, politics and the press - The Listening Post

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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