Why it's too soon to count out Kasich, Bush, or Christie

There will be no quick knockouts in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. The wide disparities within the Republican Party are not going to resolve quickly.

Brian Snyder/Reuters
US Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich arrives for a campaign town hall meeting in Hooksett, N.H., on Wednesday.

The 2016 election will be a marathon, not a sprint.

We are all focused on Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.

Nobody is focused on Jeb Bush, John Kasich or Chris Christie.

Out of the Top 3, only Cruz is fit to run a true marathon. He has the ground game to win in the South, although it is far less likely that he will be able to compete as effectively in the rest of the country.

It’s unclear how real Donald Trump really is. Does his inevitability crumble after Iowa? What happens then?

What state does Trump really carry? New Hampshire? I don’t know. He has never run for anything before, so it is hard to see if he really has an organization or not.

Rubio is either running a truly modern campaign or he will collapse like a House of Cards. His campaign is also an enigma wrapped in a riddle.  He seems like he is everybody’s second choice, except the right wing suddenly hates him as much as they hate Paul Ryan. I know, it’s weird.

The Bush family has long experience in running and winning presidential elections. In a small state, like New Hampshire, that matters. In a big state, like Florida, it matters more. Bush will win Florida, and do a lot better in South Carolina than people truly understand.

Don’t count either Kasich or Christie out either.  They both have won in blue states and know how to put together winning campaigns. Kasich will win Ohio if he stays in that long, and there is no reason to think that he won’t.

Christie is doing very well in New Hampshire, and I bet he does pretty well in New York if he stays in. His brashness works there.

We usually have quick knock-outs in the presidential primary process. They are usually sprints more than marathons. But there is no evidence that the wide disparities within the party will get resolved quickly.

The hated establishment (I don’t hate them, by the way, but some do) will not sit idly by and allow the party to be hijacked by either Trump or Cruz. There is too much at stake to have the GOP become a complete joke to the wider world.

But the tea party is feeling its oats and they hate Bush, Kasich and Christie as much as the other guys hate Trump and Cruz. So, I wouldn’t expect the tea party to quietly disappear into the night either.

That means that both sides are going to grind it out, desperately get delegates in each primary, and then see what happens at the convention.

This will be a marathon, not a sprint. The race isn’t over yet. It really hasn’t even started.

John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at http://www.thefeeherytheory.com/.

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