On December 24th, Adam Goodman joined Fox and Friends co-host and bestselling author Brian Kilmeade on Kilmeade and Friends to discuss the 2016 presidential election. With the end of the year approaching, candidates and politicos alike are looking towards the next year as one of exciting campaign ads, surprises, and change. Goodman and Kilmeade offered some major takeaways on the current state of the campaigns during their discussion.
Ben Carson restructures advisors, never a good sign.
“It’s never a good sign when a candidate turns on his own team,” said Goodman after Ben Carson announced he was restructuring key campaign advisors in the wake of published criticism from within his team in the New York Times.
“The candidate is basically saying ‘it’s not going well because of them.’ I think a lot of people would say it’s conjecture that Ben Carson really hasn’t been on his game for a number of weeks and that’s what we’re seeing in the polls.”
Ted Cruz scores big
“He flew under the radar as he built an organization on his grassroots effort,” said Goodman, calling Cruz’s campaign strategy thus far “second to none.”
“He has a social media presence that he’s launched from the beginning, so every time Cruz does anything, he gets a million to 1.5 million hits on Facebook, and people are paying attention.”
Cruz, whose experience had been questioned, saw his daughters criticized in the media. This humanizing event has strengthened his campaign.
“This is the end of what I call the audition phase” said Goodman. “With any audition, the first thing you look for… is how you feel about somebody. It’s not just what their credentials are, their background – that’s important intellectually, but you get an impression.”
“I think Ted Cruz scored big.”
Republican candidates seek “establishment mantle.”
“Everyone right now is trying to figure out who’s going to claim the establishment mantle,” said Goodman. “Rubio seems to be in pretty good shape to get there.”
Cruz and Rubio have recently sparred over immigration policy and the use of intelligence. “It’s hurt Rubio certainly more than Cruz.”
“I think the guy to watch in terms of the establishment lane is Chris Christie,” said Goodman. Christie has the opportunity for a strong resurgence in New Hampshire in February when the state holds the first primary in the nation.
“If Chris Christie were to take second place in that primary, which is very possible… you now have an additional problem for Rubio,” said Goodman. “He’s starting to get closed out… in the establishment lane which began with Jeb Bush, moved to Kasich, Rubio and others, and now might actually wind up in a place like Christie.”
“I think the biggest story out of this year is that this is a campaign against the system and the establishment right now, and that’s why the outsiders are trumping and surging, and why the insiders are still scratching their heads about why the conventional playbooks don’t seem to be working.”
Donald Trump leads in polls
As we look towards the first primaries in key states like Iowa and New Hampshire, many are wondering how Donald Trump’s campaign will fare. Trump has had a notable lack of ground campaign and organization in both states, though he is leading in the national polls and in most Iowa and New Hampshire polls.
“Certainty in Iowa, traditionally that would hurt him,” said Goodman. “Organization has always been a guarantor of success in Iowa. We have to organize, get people to actually attend the caucus – to spend time out of their busy days to go and be a part of the process.”
“On the other hand, you’ve got a movement that Trump has begun that has been impossible to monitor… polls are modeled after [past campaigns]. I don’t think we’ve ever seen what we’re about to see in the campaign in ’16 in terms of turnout, who gets energized, and who comes out and votes.”
“The bottom line with Trump is that it’s never been about running the best campaign,” said Goodman. “It’s about running the best candidate and candidate message, and on that front… he has caught the imagination of a lot of people, and I think he’s going to be a factor all the way through.”
Rand Paul won’t participate in 2nd tier debate
Currently, Rand Paul doesn’t have the standing to be a part of the 1st tier debate in 2016 if the new debate criteria are enacted. He revealed that he won’t take part in a 2nd tier debate, saying “we’ve got a first tier campaign… I’m not going to let any network or anybody tell me we’re not a first-tier campaign.”
Of Paul’s decision, Goodman said both Paul and Kasich have a fondness for complaining when the rules don’t favor their campaigns or positioning on the debate stage.
“This campaign is not being driven as much by paid political ads, but by moments where people get a glimpse of leadership,” said Goodman. “For Rand Paul to pass that up, a chance to be on the second stage with whomever, is really a bad call and probably speaks to his temperament.”