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Are GOP candidates floundering?

Sarah Hussain / Red Dirt Report
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential candidate, speaks to Oklahomans in September 2015.
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With 365 days to go, the Republican Party is in bad shape for the presidential election.

November 3 brought some good news for conservatives with the defeat of marijuana legalization in Ohio and Republican victories in state and local elections, such as Matt Bevin becoming governor of Kentucky. Some polls show that in head-to-head competition a number of Republicans would theoretically defeat Hillary Clinton (if the election were held now). Even so, GOP candidates face very substantial problems in the race for the White House.

Their natural front-runner, Jeb Bush, has fallen dramatically in terms of polls, organization and fundraising. All the other candidates -- regardless of the enthusiasm they have generated -- are seriously flawed in terms of a general election campaign.

Donald Trump, the surprise story of summer 2015, has made a long list of controversial statements and has a history that would provide Democrats with ample fodder in the general election.

Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina lack campaign and governing experience and have their own record of extremist statements that would prove harmful in a campaign to win in swing states.

John Kasich, the darling of the Washington media, has not been able to gain any electoral traction, while others, like Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee have struggled to gain the attention of voters or reporters.

Ted Cruz might have done well in the last debate, but his long record of extremism and obstructionist tactics won't sit well with an electorate that is sick of gridlock.

The best prospect for a new star is Sen. Marco Rubio, though he will have to survive coverage of his controversial finances and his ties to a former congressman being investigated for campaign finance violations.

Rubio's lack of experience and youth, which is appealing for some, could be a problem given that it will be contrasted to Clinton's formidable political experience and command of policy.

Friday's jobs report is also a reminder to Republicans that the recovering economy, with wages up and unemployment down, at the same time that the deficit is down, will make many voters less likely to switch horses in midstream.

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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