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2016 POTUS Candidates and STEM: The GOP Summary UPDATED 4 May 2016

Welcome back to 2016 POTUS Candidates and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Today I’ll briefly look at all 17 of the Republican Party candidates treated as serious candidates.

Who has ran away from the race?

Of the 17 people? 16 people, in a few concentrated episodes in which poor primary results led candidates to drop from the field. As of the last week of February, it had really become a three-person contest. edit: as of the middle of March had become a two-person contest edit again: As of the 3rd of May became a one-person contest. edit again: As of the 4th of May it had officially ended.


Former Governor Rick Perry jumped out first; his campaign officially ran for 3 months and a week, so, congratulations to him for showing some wisdom and getting out while it was crowded. He endorsed Ted Cruz.

Governor Scott Walker jumped out second after a campaign of 2 months and a week. He had to go continue to burn Wisconsin down. He endorsed no one specifically, in general he endorsed anyone but Trump.

Former Governor Bobby Jindal jumped out after just under five months in order to… finish being Governor in a less distracted manner. After the Iowa caucuses he endorsed Marco Rubio.

Senator Lindsey Graham left the race after six and a half months. I guess he’s got to keep being in the US Senate, being one of the less-crazy Senators. He endorsed Jeb Bush.


Former Governor George Pataki left the race after 7 months and a day. He’s the guy from New York who actually has political experience, so obviously he had no chance in this Republican election which seems to be all about rewarding incompetent people. He endorsed Marco Rubio.

Post-Iowa Updates (1-3 February)

Former Governor Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race after 8 months after getting ninth place in the Iowa caucuses. That meant he did better than two candidates who were, temporarily, still in the race for some reason.


Senator Rand Paul dropped out of the race after 9 months after finishing in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses. That left, temporarily, five candidates who performed worse in Iowa but were still running a campaign.

Former Senator Rick Santorum dropped out of the race after 8 months on the same day as Rand Paul because I guess the Wednesday after caucuses is a good day to drop out of a campaign. He got 11th place at the Iowa caucuses, his sweater vest and alarming homophobia apparently not being an appealing platform for Iowa. He endorsed Marco Rubio.


Post-New Hampshire Updates (10, 12 February)

Carly Fiorina suspended her campaign the day after the New Hampshire primaries after nine months of campaigning. She won a delegate in the Iowa caucuses by finishing in 7th place, but by finishing in 7th place in New Hampshire she failed to achieve any more delegates. She endorsed Ted Cruz and in late April was named by him as his potential running mate if he were to win the nomination.


Governor Chris Christie suspended his campaign on the same day after 7 months of campaigning. He placed 10th in the Iowa caucuses and hoped that a strong showing in New Hampshire would show national GOP voters that he had a campaign. But then he got sixth place in New Hampshire. He endorsed Donald Trump.

Former Governor Jim Gilmore suspended his campaign two days later after six and a half months of campaigning. Gilmore placed 12th in the Iowa caucuses and 12th in the New Hampshire primaries; lower than 3 candidates who had already withdrawn from the race.


Post-South Carolina Update (20 February)

Former Governor and former polling frontrunner Jeb Bush suspended his campaign the night of the South Carolina primary 8 months after starting a campaign. He finished 6th in Iowa, 5th in New Hampshire, and barely got fourth place in South Carolina.


Post-Super Tuesday Update (2 March)

Ben Carson ... all-but-suspended his campaign the day after Super Tuesday, almost 11 months into his campaign. After finishing 4th place in Iowa, Carson finished 8th in New Hampshire, 6th in South Carolina, and then 4th or 5th in every following contest. He officially suspended his campaign two days later, and then a week later endorsed Donald Trump.


Post-Superer Tuesday Update (17 March)

Marco Rubio suspended his campaign during the Tuesday the 15th night election in his home state of Florida when he did not win Florida, putting his 11 month campaign to an end. Minnesota, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia were the only primaries/caucuses he won.


Post-Indiana Updates (3-4 May)

Ted Cruz suspended his campaign after failing to win any delegates from the Indiana primary, putting an end to his 13 month campaign. Cruz won Iowa, Alaska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, Maine, Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, but the Wisconsin victory was his last, and after six contests wherein he only gained 3 more delegates, he left the race.


John Kasich suspended his campaign after failing to win any delegates from the Indiana primary, putting an end to his 9 month campaign. Kasich won Ohio and received 2nd place in several primaries but finally accepted that, mathematically or logically, he could not win the number of delegates required to become the nominee.


Who gives the best science answers (still running)

Donald Trump is the only person running and he gives terrible answers, so the GOP POTUS 2016 nomination process has decided that it wants to run a scientifically illiterate person for one of the most difficult jobs on the planet.


Who gives the best science answers (out of race)

George Pataki was the most scientifically-literate person running for this party’s nomination. While he didn’t have any public statements about the scientific evidence for an old Earth or for an evolutionary origin for people, he actually spent time implementing a regional carbon cap-and-trade system and he might have been the only Republican candidate who didn’t want to repeal the Roe v. Wade SCOTUS decision which prohibits states from criminalizing abortion access for the first trimester of pregnancy.


Rand Paul gets second place here. After Pataki left the race, Rand Paul was temporarily the best candidate running. I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote about him when he was still campaigning.

If the only thing being used to determine the “best” candidate in this party was their public answers to four basic science questions, Rand Paul wins. But I can’t give him a 100% positive review. He has given a solid and correct answer as to the age of the Earth and his medical training should give him some degree of ability to tell science from pseudoscience. But he didn’t answer that question a few years ago when he was asked directly. In addition, he has no public record about the teaching of evolution or non-scientific alternatives, his climate record is non-committal generally, and his public voting record is more for-abortion-restrictions than his public speaking record would make it seem. And he’s said some weird and confusing things about vaccines. He is basically a “could be much worse” candidate.


Carly Fiorina gets third place. I’ll copy and paste from what I wrote when she was, temporarily, the least science-hostile of the POTUS GOP candidates.

But this is partially because she hasn’t been asked much about her beliefs. She has no stated opinion on the scientific evidence for an old earth or for a natural evolution of humans from other apes. And she has some undefined positions on when a human life deserves constitutionally-guaranteed rights and has lied repeatedly about seeing some video that doesn’t exist. But on climate change she agrees that humans are warming the planet and that the US and other large-scale carbon polluters should work together. She just seems to be stuck in a party wherein she has to use that fact as an argument for why the US shouldn’t even try, which is an odd way to pre-emptively fail at a task.


Fourth place: Lindsey Graham
Fifth place: Marco Rubio
Sixth place: Tie between Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Jim Gilmore, and Rick Perry
Seventh place: Tie between Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum
Eighth place: Tie between Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Scott Walker

Before Iowa, Donald Trump was not “winning”

I very very very very strongly disliked the manner in which the traditional media discussed Mr. Trump. For months they had been calling him the GOP frontrunner in a series of elections that had had no votes. How can be running, in the front, if there have been no votes? He couldn’t, and it was begging the question / promoting a false narrative to talk about him as a frontrunner.


Especially because, in light of where Republican votes have happened, he wasn’t winning. Jeb! Bush was.


^ Note: This is how things looked before the Iowa caucuses.

538.com has been doing a great job of looking at the “Invisible Primary”: how, before any primaries occur, the elected officials of a party endorse a primary contestant. It’s saying “Hey, I’m a (insert party here), I think that (insert candidate here) is who you, (party voters), should vote for.” It’s a low-risk, high-reward practice; if you early endorse someone who ends up becoming President, it makes you more likely to maybe get offered some nice perks from that Administration, but if you early endorse someone who doesn’t win the White House then it didn’t really matter.


The 17 candidates of the GOP field have been spending 2015 vying for fiscal and polling support but they’ve also been vying for the political support of GOP politicians. Donald Trump was dead-last in that fight, tied with Ben Carson: the only currently-serving public officials who had endorsed Trump were state legislators and apparently the State Treasurer of Arizona.

Donald Trump could very soon be UPDATED 10 Feb is now winning

In terms of state polling of potential GOP primary voters, Trump is crushingly and devastatingly “in the lead”. As of January 26th, he was in the lead, or statistically tied for the lead, of polls in 35 states. But that doesn’t translate into any form of guarantee that he will win (or even do well) in those 35 states. A large chunk of Iowa primary voters (~40%) and an even larger number of New Hampshire primary voters (~50%) make up their mind on who they vote for in the last week before the primary, sometimes the day of. So primary elections are where surprises can and do happen, and it’s why the winners of the early primaries matter so much, because “electability” very quickly becomes a reason why people vote for candidates, and having won a primary greatly increases one’s electability.


… of course the problem therein is that none of the GOP primaries in February look to be situations wherein Trump does poorly. He’s likely to place or win Iowa (Feb 1 - he placed), win New Hampshire (Feb 9 - he won, by 20%), win South Carolina (Feb 20 - he won, by 10%, and that gave him all 50 delegates because South Carolina is winner-take-all), and Nevada (Feb 23 - he won, by 23%) is a bit far off but the polling so far isn’t negative for Trump. Somehow (evangelicals are apparently choosing to back him) his most consistent-performing opponent is Ted Cruz, with Marco Rubio appearing in third place, and other candidates showing up in 4th and lower places.

Basically it seems that the best hope for the GOP to avoid a Trump nomination is to vote for Ted Cruz. Somehow that’s become the narrative in this race, and I’m really sorry for anyone in the Republican Party (PS: why not leave?) who has to choose between those two very poor choices.


Update on 10 February: After the New Hampshire primary’s allotment of Republican delegates, Donald Trump is winning the Republican Presidential nominee race. A GOP candidate in 2016 needs 1237 delegates. He has 17. He is 1.3% of the way there. This is the darkest timeline.

Update on 20 February Trump now has 61 delegates. He is 4.9% of the way to being the GOP candidate for President. This is weird.


Update on 24 February Trump now has 81 delegates. He is 6.5% of the way to being the GOP candidate for President. This continues to be weird.

Update on 2 March Trump now has 319 delegates; he is 25.8% of the way to being the GOP candidate for President. But Cruz’s victory in Texas and other states gives him 226 delegates (18.27% of the way) and Rubio’s victory in Minnesota gives him 110 (8.9% of the way...) so things are getting maybe actually weirder.


Update on 4 March Checking those numbers apparently some more states have dispersed out delegates since two days ago.
Trump 329 (26.6%)
Cruz 231 (18.67%)
Rubio 110 (8.89%)
Kasich 25 (2.02%)

Update on 6 March Results from yesterday’s primaries and caucuses change things to:
Trump 389 (31.4%)
Cruz 300 (24.3%)
Rubio 128 (10.3%)
Kassich 35 (2.8%)


Update on 11 March Somehow some of the previous text was deleted, so here’s the delegate counts as of today:
Trump 459 (37.1%)
Cruz 360 (29.1%)
Rubio 152 (12.3%)
Kasich 54 (4.4%)

Update on 17 March So. With Marco Rubio’s departure there’s a long and complicated answer of what happens to his delegates, because different states/territories have different ways of determining that. For the three remaining candidates the delegates counts (and % of total needed to declare victory) are:
Trump 673 (54.4%)
Cruz 411 (33.2%)
Kasich 143 (11.6%)
So to reach the magic number, Trump needs to win 53% of the remaining delegates, Cruz needs to win 78%, and Kasich needs to win 103%. That makes it very possible for Trump to get the needed number of delegates between now and mid-June.


Update on 3 May With Ted Cruz’s departure, and Donald Trump’s continued successes at winning primaries, it looks like the Republican National Convention in July will not be contested, and that Trump will gain enough delegates in the primaries on June 7th to be the all-but-officially-declared Republican nominee for President in 2016. ...huh.

Update on 4 May With John Kasich’s depature, Donald Trump is the only candidate still running for the 2016 GOP POTUS nomination. The Republican National Convention in July will make that 100% official, but as of today he can run for the general election without having to really bother trying to win primaries.


Who would artiofab vote for?

artiofab would vote in a primary that has better options: this party’s primary choices are awful. But if artiofab was stuck voting in the GOP primary, artiofab would have a tough choice between two non-optimal options


1. Vote for whoever is the biggest threat to Trump

This is a vote for whoever is perceived to be the best-performing candidate other than Trump. Check your state polling to see who that is; usually it’s Cruz but as New Hampshire and Ohio showed sometimes it’s Kasich.


2. Spoil that vote

Take that ballot and break it somehow to show your anger and frustration at these awful options.


Edited to add: none of this is useful advice anymore


Is this actually happening

::artiofab pours himself a strong drink::

There’s been a lot of hesitation by Nate Silver, who is a wizard, to accept that the Donald Trump thing is happening. There’s been a lot of hesitation by almost everybody involved in elections guessing to accept that this Trump thing is happening. I don’t think people want to believe that America is a country where Trump could do well in an election.


For ~85% of America, we think we’re better than this. We think that our country has its stumbling blocks and its occasional moral failings but we think that America of 2016 is “better” than what Trump is selling. But in so doing we’re ignoring the 15% or so of America which is Trump’s base. They’re people who are genuinely frightened by the world and who think that politics as usual has ruined the United States. They’re people who see President Obama as a terrorist sympathizer (...at best), and they want as sudden and rapid of a change from the “status quo” of Obama as they can get. Trump is the only major candidate running for office who has no idea how to govern or legislate who has no willingness to pretend to respect Washington DC or international diplomacy or any status quo besides the one that has made him rich and powerful.

Trump is promoting a positive, hope-filled agenda for people who think like he does: We are going to slow them down. He’s the candidate for the person who doesn’t want the 21st century to be happening. He’s the reactionary conservative that Republicans can only pretend to be.


So good luck to whatever can keep him away from the nomination.

Edited to add: Apparently no one could stop that from happening.

Edited to add: Apparently no one did stop that from happening. Wow.

Fetching top image of a UK polling station from this article which apparently got it from Getty Images. Second image from this directory. Third image from this odd website.

Update 1: to note that Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee left the campaign after the Iowa caucuses
Update 2: to note that Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie left the campaign after the New Hampshire primary
Update 3: to note that Jim Gilmore left the campaign after Fiorina and Christie left
Update 4: to note that Jeb Bush left the campaign after the South Carolina primary
Update 5: to add to Trump’s delegate lead following his win in Nevada.
Update 6: to note that Ben Carson kind of left the campaign after Super Tuesday, and provide an update on delegate counts
Update 7: to note that Ben Carson finally actually completely left the campaign.
Update 8: to provide an update on delegate counts
Update 9: to provide an update on delegate counts, and to note that Carly Fiorina endorsed Cruz
Update 10: to provide an update on delegate counts and to note that Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump
Update 11: to provide an update on delegate counts and to note the departure of Marco Rubio from the campaign
Update 12: to note the leave of Ted Cruz from the campaign and thus the all-but-official victory by Donald Trump this is so weird
Update 13: to note the leave of John Kasich from the campaign and thus the even more all-but-official victory by Donald Trump what the frak

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