John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know In This Election Season

Posted on January 26, 2016
He's all over the place!

He's all over the place!

“He's all over the place! Nine hundred feet up to 1,300 feet. What an asshole!”

The scene from the iconic movie “Airplane” reminds me of the latest polls on both sides of the aisle.

First Hillary is up 30. Then it’s Bernie.

Kasich is a strong second in New Hampshire. Then he’s in dead last.

Rubio is closing strong. Trump is closing stronger.

Cruz is up. He is down. He is all around.

These polls can give you a headache if you pay too much attention to them.

Here are the things we know for sure.

At the national level, both Hillary and Trump are winning.

We also know that winning at the national level this early in the race is meaningless. Hillary was roughly in the same spot in 2008, Rudy was in roughly the same spot that same year, and Howard Dean was the king of Iowa up until that point then he wasn’t.

We also know that State Polls are notoriously unpredictable.

Governor Conway in Kentucky can attest to that fact.

We also know that most people haven’t decided how they are going to vote, even at that moment.

And why would they? There are a lot of candidates out there and we have a lot of time left before people have to decide.

We also know that in primary elections, a lot of people who say they are going to vote, don’t. That is especially true for Trump voters, many of whom are independent and only vote periodically.

One more thing we know is that in multi-candidate races, often times, the candidate who escapes the most attacks can sneak through.

It worked for John Kerry in 2004. Gephardt and Dean clubbed each other and that gave Kerry a chance to skate through. John McCain was given up for dead, and he came back to life.

There is a circular firing squad in the GOP primary and a duel to finish in the Democratic primary. Can the man given up for dead (Kasich) come back and can somebody jump in after Hillary loses both Iowa and New Hampshire (Biden)?

In politics, you never know.

As Donald Rumsfeld would say, we don’t know what we don’t know in this coming election battle, but I would venture to say that it’s a lot.