Thursday 29 September 2016

As US presidential race heats up, odds are on Clinton to face Cruz and win by a nose

Niall O'Dowd

Published 05/01/2016 | 02:30

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to her introduction at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to her introduction at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. REUTERS/Jim Young

As the pages turn to 2016 and the US presidential election looms, it is time to handicap the field of Republican and Democratic runners.

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After all the pre-race hoopla, they are ready for the starting gate less than a month from now in Iowa, on February 1, for the most important race on earth.

While it all might seem confusing, by March 2 after Super Tuesday and 12 states have voted, I believe we will know who the two squaring off for the White House will be.

Then all eyes will focus on July 18 in Cleveland, when the Republican convention is held, followed by the Democratic one on July 25 in Philadelphia.

Here are the runners and riders and their chances of success.

REPUBLICANS

Donald Trump

The big talking horse is Donald Trump - in fact, this horse never shuts up and, worse, the media cannot get enough of him because their ratings grow markedly like Pinocchio's nose whenever he shows up and mouths more exaggerations.

If this were a running of the mouth, Donald would win by a furlong as he discusses everything from female bathroom habits to Bill Clinton's sex life. But as the year goes on, the stalking horses will begin to close in.

Watch out for March 1, Super Tuesday, when 12 states decide the race. My tip is Trump will become an also-ran at that point.

Presidential Odds: 9/2

Republican nomination: 3/1

Ted Cruz

The ultimate dark horse, a Canadian-born candidate who says he's Cuban - even though he's half Irish. He has settled comfortably in the Trump slipstream waiting for the front runner to falter

Arrogant Cruz is almost as hated by his own party as he is by Democrats. His Harvard roommate said he'd rather pick someone out of the phone book. Yet he has run the cleverest race of all, sneaking up on the outside on Trump. The Republican winner, I suspect.

Presidential Odds: 3/1

Republican Nomination: 7/4

Marco Rubio

The show horse. Elegant, great-looking, JFK aura but so far surpassed by Cruz after a muddled start where he lost several lengths. He thought he was fighting Jeb Bush for the nomination but Trump streaked ahead.

He can still make up the ground but he needs a breakthrough with less than a month to go.

Presidential Nomination: 8/1 Republican Nomination: 5/1

Ben Carson

Needs a visit to the vet right now, suffering from wounded pride after being an early front runner.

This former neurosurgeon was once right up there with Trump but GOP voters were much more unforgiving of his gaffes than Trump's. He made a major error with his statement that China was fighting in Syria. His campaign is likely to be pulled up.

Presidential Odds: 9/1

Republican Nomination: 7/1

Jeb Bush

Morning Glory - a horse who shows great form in the morning but can't reproduce when the real race begins. He utterly misjudged the anger and hate on the GOP side. He is a decent politician who was a well-liked governor of Florida and raised $100m, but he didn't scare the opposition off. He acts like he has been gelded in clashes with Trump, which he invariably loses. Still not totally out of it.

Presidential Odds: 10/1

Republican Nomination: 7/1

Chris Christie

As Governor of New Jersey, he spent too long fattening up in the paddock before entering the race. Could possibly catch on with a surprise result in New Hampshire - but it seems unlikely.

Presidential Odds: 12/1

Republican Nomination: 8/1

John Kasich

A very likely VP candidate, as he is governor of Ohio, the most key swing state of all. A horse of a different colour, as he is a moderate, which dooms him as nomination winner.

Presidential Odds: 20/1

Republican Nomination: 10/1

Nags, also-rans, all 500/1

Mike Huckabee, an elderly nag who has the chance of a donkey in the Epsom Derby. Carly Fiorina is the only filly, but I suspect she is as off-putting as Margaret Thatcher to many with her high horse act. Then there is Rand Paul, the eye surgeon who can't see the reality that he's hopelessly behind and Rick Santorum, the perennial Paddy last runner hovering around the 1pc mark.

DEMOCRATIC RACE

Hillary Clinton: A well-bred filly from a famous political family looking to make history by beating the colts.

History says no, but she is the stand-out in a very weak Democratic field of opponents.

Trump has carried the Republican runners so far to the right that she has a huge gap to exploit along the rail.

She has a history of making mistakes, however, and must keep her campaign gaffe-free if she is to triumph.

Expect her to face Cruz in the presidential election and win - but not by much.

Presidential Odds 1/2

Democratic Nomination 1/20

Bernie Sanders

This veteran - who is outclassed but tough and a hard battler who won't go down without a fight - might win an early state.

But he has no hope when the contest goes to the black and Latino rich voting states.

Presidential Odds 15/1

Democratic Nomination 10/1

Martin O'Malley

Looks and acts the part, with that Irish JFK aura, but he has failed to figure and has fallen too far behind.

Presidential Odds 150/1

Democratic Nomination 50/1

Irish Independent

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