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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Candidate Profile (D): #5. Lincoln Chafee

For background to this series, click here.

Let's get this Democratic Party started! The fifth most likely Democratic nominee (who is officially running!) is . . .

#5. Lincoln Chafee, 62, former Republican Senator and Independent Governor of Rhode Island, 1999-2007; 2011-2015

Campaign Website and Slogan--www.chafee2016.com--"Fresh Ideas For America"

PPFA Slogan--"Fresh Ideas On How To Lose Badly."

Educational Background--B.A. from Brown University (Classics)

Ideology on liberal-conservative spectrum (-10 is far left and +10 is far right. A center moderate is 0.): -4.5 (Individual rights: -7; Domestic: -4; Economic: -6; Foreign policy: -1)

Liberal Rank based on above: 3 of 5

Spin from the candidate's campaign--Lincoln Chafee has political experience that is unmatched by the other 21 candidates running for president. He's been both a U.S. Senator and a governor, meaning he has experience in Washington and executive experience running a state. Pay no attention to the fact that he was once a Republican. He was the most liberal Republican in the Senate, the last of a dead breed that traced its lineage back to another Lincoln. In fact, he was the only Republican to vote against the Iraq War, a fact that can be deployed when it comes time to do battle with Hillary Clinton. After leaving the Senate, he gradually realized the errors of the GOP's ways, and he withdrew from it to become an independent with a leftward lean. In fact, he became one of Barack Obama's biggest supporters, not just voting for him twice but also helping him get elected. In 2013, he became a Democrat, and he now wants to use his experience to bridge the divide between left and right.

Spin from opponents--He has unique political experience all right. He's the only candidate to have been an elected official of one party and is now running as a member of the other. Being an elected Independent governor in between is icing on the capricious cake. Can he make up his mind? It's no wonder he's a man without supporters. It's because he's a man without a compass.

How do the polls look?--Did I mention he was a man without supporters? He's in last place in every relevant poll. Nationally, his 0.6 is the envy only of George Pataki. In fact, it's worse than Pataki's situation if you consider that Pataki is in a 17-candidate field, while Chafee is only one among a handful. Of the last fifteen national polls, Chafee has polled at 0 in ten of them. His numbers are similar in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he clocks in at 1.0 and 0.5, respectively. You'd think his best chance would be in New Hampshire, just a two hour drive from his home state of Rhode Island, but in the last three New Hampshire polls, he's hit zero each time. Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont, has rallied nearly the entire anti-Hillary crowd there.

Perhaps The Huffington Post put it best: "Literally No One Supports Lincoln Chafee."

PPFA analysis--Oh, and he's a distant last place in fundraising, too, claiming less than a half million dollars as of July 31. That's a number that has been beaten twice over by many massive single donations to most of the top candidates' SuperPACs.

Even sadder are his favorability numbers. The most recent national Monmouth poll found that his favorable/unfavorable split among Democrats was 8/11. I don't know what's worse--that he had the only negative split in the field or that 81 percent of his new party said, "Who?" And it's not like he just entered the race; he declared his intention to run back in April, one of the earliest candidates to do so.

In sum: last in the polls, last in fundraising, and last in the hearts of his countrymen.

PPFA nomination rank--5 of 5 (Odds: 100:1) Sounds like a last place ranking to me.

PPFA general election rank--4 of 5. If he DID get nominated, I would think a moderate politician with a Republican history has a better shot at winning independents than a self-described socialist.

Then again, at least we know what a socialist stands for. Let's try this again.

PPFA general election rank--5 of 5.

See you back here for #4 in the Democratic countdown!

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