On the Democratic side, we know it's going to be Hillary Clinton. 208 Weekends at Bernie Sander's would be too much for even Democrats to bear. (Hint: he's already dead.) Who again is Martin O'Malley? (Hint: he's polling at .5%.)
Donald Trump has made the debates interesting to watch on the Republican side. It's the great new reality TV show. However, I did miss the last episode on CNBC last night. Instead I watched the Kansas City Royals pummel the New York Mets 7-1 in game 2 of the World Series. As an old Kansas City fan from the 1970s and 1980s, that was heartening. George W. Bush has gotten a job managing the Royals under the assumed named Ned Yost. Good for him!
By national polling averages, the Republican candidates currently divide into 4 distinct groups:
(A) Donald Trump and Ben Carson at over 20%.
(B) Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Carly Fiorina at less than 10% but greater than 5%.
(C) Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, John Kasich, and Chris Christie at less than 5% but greater than 1%.
(D) Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and George Pataki at 1% or less.
Group D, being on the undercard for the debates, is already effectively out and frankly so is Group C. The question is, when is it time to move Group C onto the debate undercard?
By all accounts Jeb Bush seems to have done the worst among the candidates in the latest debate. We'll see if that pushes his polling down to Group C. I suspect it won't, because the moderators did even worse. The rules for the next Republican debate on November 10 are to include all candidates averaging at least 2.5%. That puts Kasich and Christie on the cusp of elimination. Bush probably won't fall that far by then.
The conventional wisdom is that Group A won't make it to the end, that Trump and Carson will fade when it comes time to vote in the actual caucuses and primaries. But I don't see any reason why Carson won't win Iowa and Trump won't win New Hampshire.