Feedback
Politics

The Lid: Why No One Should Count Out Establishment GOP Candidates

Hillary Clinton said Thursday that she respects Kim Kardashian's dedication to taking selfies. Short-sighted move, Madame Secretary! That audio can now be sampled in the Kanye 2020 campaign rap that drops four days before Iowa!

Get The Lid straight to your inbox each afternoon -- click here to sign up.

'16 from 30,000

By now, punditry about the "pile-up in the GOP establishment lane" may feel like a broken record for folks who have been watching Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich duke it out. But a wonky look into the details of the delegate rules may show the logic behind these candidates' desperate battle to be the last man standing among the traditional Republican candidates. The early nominating contests - particularly Iowa and South Carolina - are favorable to outsiders, which - yes - could give a potential winner like Cruz or Trump a big burst of momentum going into the southern "SEC primary" states on March 1. But the later part of the primary season has some built-in advantages for a more moderate establishment candidate. Why? The early contests award delegates proportionally, while those starting March 15 have the option of awarding their delegates on a winner-take-all basis. Many of those are historically more moderate states, either in the Rust Belt or in the northeast. (There's also delegate-rich Florida on March 15, potentially a huge boon for favorite son Rubio if he's still on his feet.) The bottom line: It's completely possible that an insurgent candidate locks up the nomination with a huge sweep early in the contest, but if an establishment candidate convincingly consolidates support early enough, it could pay big dividends late in the race.

*** Meet the Press guest alert! It's a big show on Sunday, with NBC's Chuck Todd interviewing Donald Trump from the campaign trail in Iowa. Chuck will also talk to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about next week's State of the Union address. Tune in!

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Bernie Sanders is challenging Hillary Clinton over their different approaches to family leave expansion, Benjy Sarlin reports.
  • And Sanders is taking heat for his position on guns again after the president's town hall on the topic last night.
  • Hillary Clinton talked selfies and Kim Kardashian with Ellen DeGeneres, NBC's Monica Alba reports.
  • Jeb Bush says that Donald Trump could win the GOP nomination but that Clinton "will beat him like a drum."
  • Republicans will address the issue of poverty at a presidential forum in South Carolina on Saturday co-moderated by Sen. Tim Scott, NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.
  • President Obama vetoed Congressional Republican's first successful effort to get an Obamacare repeal bill to his desk.

FOR THE RECORD…

"Can I give you this moose?"

  • Man at Rubio town hall in New Hampshire who tossed the presidential candidate a stuffed moose during his question about cutting carbon emissions.

WEEKEND SKED

On Saturday: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich and Marco Rubio attend the "Expanding Opportunity Forum" in Columbia, South Carolina.

Donald Trump Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Rick Santorum are in Iowa.

Marco Rubio holds events in both the Carolinas.

On Sunday: Hillary Clinton is in New Hampshire

Trump holds a rally in Reno, Nevada.

Carson, Kasich, Sanders and Santorum are in Iowa.

Trump will be on Meet The Press.