We started with 17, and officially there are still more than a dozen candidates running for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. However, 90 days out from the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses, the race is really down to its Final Four on the road to next year’s convention in Cleveland.
In alphabetical order, either Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Donald Trump is going to end up being the Republican nominee for this reason. They are the only four candidates who have established the base of support, resources, and voter enthusiasm necessary to not only sustain their candidacies, but actually grow them.
Every other campaign is at a point of diminishing returns, and therefore simply marking time before accepting the inevitable—they’re not going to be the nominee. It’s just a matter of how and when they choose to bow out, but GOP primary voters have spoken and the process has rendered its verdict.
Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages our Final Four has standing between them and the nomination.
ADVANTAGES—A potent combination of astronomical likability numbers to go along with this cycle’s cherished outsider status…top-notch fundraiser…growing bolder on the issues as the campaign goes on…the most inspirational figure in the field.
DISADVANTAGES—Appeared out-of-his-depth on the issues as a frontrunner in the last debate, not even knowing the details of his own tax plan…yes, he raises a lot of money, but he spends a lot of money, too…his national campaign team does him no favors at times and is the worst at messaging among the top contenders…his reserved persona can come off as socially awkward to some.
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