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2016 Presidential Election Preview: Grading The Top 11 Potential Republican Presidential Candidates

Here is a look at the best 11 candidates that the Republican Party has to offer. I have graded them based on their social views, fiscal views, potential grassroots momentum, potential establishment support, their total candidate grade, their likelihood of winning the primary, and their overall likelihood of winning the general election.

Please feel free to discuss/argue/debate my opinions in the comment section, I would love to dive deep on each of these candidates before I decide who to endorse, and I want to hear from you folks!


Mike Huckabee

Background: Former Arkansas Governor, Former Preacher, Former Television host

Social Issues: B+ – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, moderate on Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports the Fair Tax, and fiscal reform

Grassroots Momentum: A – Fox News Republican base would get behind him, so would Evangelicals

Establishment Support: C – Backed out to let Mitt take the nomination, some will respect that

Total Candidate Grade: A- – Great candidate if he decides to run, needs to declare early and run hard

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 16%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 8%


Jeb Bush

Background: Former Florida Governor, George Walker Bush’s Brother, George HW Bush’s Son

Social Issues: B – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment. Moderate on Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: D – Willing to negotiate on taxes, careful entitlement reform, big spender

Grassroots Momentum: B – Big brand name, moderates in the party will rally behind him in primary

Establishment Support: A – GOP looking for best chance to win moderates will rally around Jeb

Total Candidate Grade: B+ – Swing State Gov + moderate on immigration/entitlement + big spender

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 15%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 7%



Rick Perry

Background: 4-Term Texas Governor

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, Crime, Immigration, and the 2nd Amendment

Fiscal Issues: A – Called Social Security a Ponzi Scheme, supports the balanced budget amendment

Grassroots Momentum: B – Republicans like Texas Republicans, and he is right on the issues

Establishment Support: D – Needs to shed the “dumb” label from 2012, but can overcome that

Total Candidate Grade: B – Needs to convince people he is intelligent, but he has the whole package

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 14%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 6%



Marco Rubio

Background: Florida Senator

Social Issues: B – Strong on gun rights, and crime, moderate on Immigration and abortion.

Fiscal Issues: A – Strong on tax reform, entitlement reform, and good on budget issues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Latino candidate that people can believe in, could unite party

Establishment Support: B – Strong choice if Jeb is out and Dems are leaning towards Hillary

Total Candidate Grade: B- – Swing State Senator on the right side of every issue for mainstream America

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 11%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 6%


Scott Walker

Background: Wisconsin Governor

Social Issues: C – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, moderate on Crime, and weak on Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: B+ – Union Buster, strong on budget, light experience on federal fiscal issues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Anti-union crowd hero, survived Recall vote, strong candidate

Establishment Support: A – Fiscal Conservative with good track record, could gain momentum

Total Candidate Grade: C+ – Swing State Governor with guts/determination, don’t count him out

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 9%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%


Rand Paul

Background: Kentucky Senator, Former Doctor

Social Issues: B+ – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, moderate on Crime and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Strong on reducing spending, entitlement reform, and endorses the flat-tax

Grassroots Momentum: A – Daddy’s fans, plus he won a lot of support with his filibusters

Establishment Support: B – Reasonably conservative candidate with a brand name and moderate ideas

Total Candidate Grade: C+ – He would be #1 here if he was a governor with 4+ years of experience…

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 8%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%


Paul Ryan

Background: Wisconsin Representative

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, Crime, and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Advanced multiple balanced budgets to congress looking for 5+% bump in revenues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Lots of name recognition, newest budget talks could spark discussion

Establishment Support: B – Lots of establishment money spent on Romeny/Ryan, could continue

Total Candidate Grade: C- – Swing State Representative with budget chops, could leverage debt crisis

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 8%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%


John Kasich

Background: Ohio Governor, Former Representative

Social Issues: A- – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, and Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports lower taxes, lower spending, and entitlement reform

Grassroots Momentum: B – Would build momentum if he can tell his balanced budget story

Establishment Support: D – Very little support in 2000, he would need to improve on fundraising

Total Candidate Grade: D – Swing State Governor with top-rate credentials, just needs to raise cash

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 6%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 3%


Chris Christie

Background: New Jersey Governor, former US Attorney, former Lobbyist

Social Issues: D – Flip-flopped on Abortion, semi-weak on immigration, very weak on 2nd amendment

Fiscal Issues: C – Good on tax reform, great on entitlement reform, weak on replacing taxes with fees

Grassroots Momentum: B – BridgeGate slowed down the momentum, but still has a lot of fans

Establishment Support: B – Well known, lots of wall street money behind him, good establishment choice

Total Candidate Grade: D- – Primary will be tough, lots of baggage to overcome, no huge upside

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 6%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 2%


Rick Santorum

Background: Former Pennsylvania Senator, Former Representative

Social Issues: A- – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, and Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports lower taxes, lower spending, and entitlement reform

Grassroots Momentum: B – Some fans left from 2012, but his fan base will always be limited

Establishment Support: C – Fought Mitt to the end, wasting his money, people will not appreciate that

Total Candidate Grade: E – Strong conservative with little chance of winning the entire election

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 3%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 1%


Ted Cruz

Background: Texas Senator

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, Crime, and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports single-rate tax, entitlement reform, and smaller government.

Grassroots Momentum: A – Hardcore Republicans love him, he will have a following

Establishment Support: D – Never met anyone who thinks he can actually win the nomination

Total Candidate Grade: F – Newby who has a reputation for being extreme, no name recognition

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 2%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 1%



It Is Time For America To Relearn The ABC’s – Always Be Cutting!


Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

In the wake of a $16 Trillion dollar debt that is growing every day, a congress who refuses to say no to spending, and a tide of politicians who want to increase taxes so that they can justify going even deeper into debt….it is time for a change!

Americans need to embrace a new view of government…a much smaller view.

Politicians need to revolutionize how they look at our government, and it all starts by re-learning the ABC’s.

A – Always

B – Be

C – Cutting

We need to take this mantra to the Federal Government, every State Government, all the way down to our Local Governments.

We need to CUT the size of Government!

We need to CUT taxes!

We need to CUT the debt!

We need to CUT spending!

We need to CUT needless regulations!

We need to CUT Foreign Aid during our recession!

If we replace our elected officials with legislators with this mindset, we will soon see this tide of irresponsibility begin to turn.

Balancing our budget will no longer be considered “extreme” politics.

Our paychecks will start going towards helping our families, rather than paying China back for the interest on our National Debt.

Government will be relegated to serving and protecting the people, rather than participating in the race to bring home the bacon to their own states.

Businesses will be free to use their hard-earned money to drive new innovation, new products, at better costs….rather than using that same money to comply with regulations that add no value to the consumer or the economy.

If you believe in this message, please share it with EVERY single one of your friends and family.  This is that important.  America is at a key crossroads in our history.  We can either relearn our ABC’s, or we will very soon find out that it is too late to turn this ship around.

SHARE this article TODAY!

Who Does A Better Job Managing The National Debt?

Breakdown of political party representation in...

Breakdown of political party representation in the United States Senate during the 112th Congress. Blue: Democrat Red: Republican Light Blue: Independent (caucused with Democrats) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In order to understand the National Debt, we need to first look back at the last 30 years or so to try to understand what lead to the National Debt issue getting out of control.   It is extremely important to understand the difference between who controls congress, and who controls the presidency.  While the President is very powerful, and he has Veto power, the congress is who actually passes the laws.  It is very telling to watch what happens when a particular party has control of both the Congress and the Senate, which allows them to pass just about anything that they want, with minimal minority party support.

Since 1980, Democrats have had control of both the Congress and the Senate for 12 years, the Republicans have had control of both houses for 10 years, and there have been 10 years where we have had a split congress.

So, who does better at controlling the National Debt?  Let’s take a look…

12 Years of Democratic Control = $8 Trillion added to the National Debt – $800 Billion per year

10 Years of Republican Control = $3 Trillion added to the National Debt – $300 Billion per year

10 Years of Shared Control = $4 Trillion added to the National Debt – $400 Billion per year

Wait…are the numbers skewed by wars and terrorism and stuff?

Well, the Democrats were in charge during the 1st Gulf War, there was Shared Control during 9/11, and the Republicans were in charge during the 2nd Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan,…So let’s call it even, or at least not a large issue in this debate.

Conclusion:  Despite what the Liberal Media says, you get the most fiscally responsible governments when the Republicans control  both the Congress and the Senate.  The numbers don’t lie.

Neither party has done a good job, but the Tea Party is committed to changing that in the future…

Help us take back control of the Senate this year so that we can return to an era of fiscal responsibility!

Michigan Politics: Triple Zero Plan


budget (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

In order for Michigan to turn itself around, we need an aggressive strategy to drive more money into the economy on a daily basis.  The first step should be to outline a series of tax reductions that will help every single person in the state, regardless of their situation.  The Triple Zero plan outlines how eliminating the Gas Tax, the Business Income Tax, and the State Property Tax would drastically help boost the economy from day 1.

1)      Eliminate the Gas Tax

  1. Gasoline prices are one of the main drivers of the economy.  Typically, when the economy slows down, gas prices fall. Unfortunately, during the Great Recession, this has not been the case.  By eliminating the Gas Tax, people would instantly pay almost 40 cents less for every gallon that they purchase. This money is small enough on a weekly basis that it would get recycled right back into the economy, providing boosts to local businesses.  The elimination of this tax would help every single person who owns a car, as well as all municipalities who run public transportation programs.

2)      Eliminate the Business Tax

  1. Businesses do not invest during recessions.  Consumer Confidence is down, they don’t know when the economy will turn around, and they typically are having trouble keeping up with their bills.  They don’t invest in jobs, they don’t invest in innovation, and they raise prices of their products/services.  By eliminating the Business Tax entirely, you will give businesses the additional money they need to keep prices steady, hire more people, and invest in the innovation that will help bring about the next economic boom.  Eliminating this tax would help every single business in the state, as well as help drive new businesses to want to leave other states and settle in Michigan.

3)      Eliminate the State Property Tax

  1. Michigan has been one of the hardest hit states in Foreclosures and underwater mortgages.  Yet, the state still charges a hidden property tax (above and beyond what your local municipality charges).  This state will never recover without at least a partial recovery of the housing sector.  By eliminating this tax, you would be putting money back into the homeowner’s hands, lowering the foreclosure rate, and driving Michigan Home Prices upward.

Due to the fact that states have to balance their budgets, we need to decrease spending in order to decrease taxes.  The good news is that the three taxes I have outlined for elimination only make up 14% of the states revenue.  This means that the state will have to cut their budget by 14%, something that almost every single business has had to do during the Great Recession.  By eliminating programs, wasteful spending, and over-regulation, Michigan can eliminate over 14% of its expenditures and make room for these three tax cuts which will drive money back into the economy, increase job openings, raise home prices, and help Michigan emerge from this recession as a stronger, leaner state.

Please share this article with your friends and family in Michigan to help spread awareness on how the Triple Zero plan can help lead us back to prosperity.

Follow me @ToddHagopian for more creative ideas on how we can help turn Michigan around, and share this blog post with your friends and family.  Thanks!

We Need A Balanced Budget Amendment Today!

With the National Debt skyrocketing up over $15 Trillion, with Obama’s 2011 proposed budget threatening to balloon that number to over $25 Trillion by 2025.  My newborn child’s fair share of today’s National Debt is already $45,000.  The average family of four in this country has a $180,000 share of the National Debt.  China is our #1 Debt Holder, and is growing increasingly powerful in dealings between the two countries.  If China were to stop buying our debt and funding our untapped thirst for new spending, the United States economy would be sent into a tailspin.  Do we really want China to have that much power over our economy, our jobs, and our country?

There are three possible solutions to our rising National Debt:

1)       Demand that every American pay $45,000 to the Federal Government today, or raise taxes dramatically in order to accomplish this over the next few years.

2)      Reduce spending to zero for each of the next 6 years.  The Federal Government takes in approx. $2.5 Trillion each year in taxes, so if it spent nothing over the next 6 years, it could come close to eliminating the debt.

3)      Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment and get spending under control immediately.

Obviously, only one of these three “options” is really something that can be implemented.  All 50 states and thousands of cities across the country are forced to balance their budgets every single year.  People and businesses must consistently balance their budgets or face bankruptcy.  Yet, the government routinely spends $1 Trillion more than they take in from taxes each year.

Today, Congress has no incentive to passing any real, meaningful spending reform.  Anything that they vote against is going to be used against them during the next election cycle, and their unlimited checkbook is routinely used to try to drive as much benefit to their district regardless of whether it is good for the country or not.

Passing a Balanced Budget Amendment would force the Federal Government to either increase taxes, or reduce spending – Which are the only two options for balancing the budget.  Your congressperson would have to more than double your income taxes in order to balance the budget without reducing spending…Do you really think they would do that?  Of course not, which is why the Balanced Budget Amendment would force Congress to finally tackle spending reform in a real, meaningful way.

The only good argument against the Balanced Budget Amendment is the perceived need for a blank check in times of emergencies, such as war or a terrorist attack.  Because this argument is valid, I am in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment with emergency measures that can be implemented in a completely transparent way, so that the American people can determine whether the Congress used the emergency measures properly.

Other than that, there are no good arguments for why the Federal Government should not balance their budget just like every state and city in the country.

If you know of some good arguments against this amendment, I would love to hear from you.  If not, please forward and share this article with your family and friends, and work hard to convince your congressperson that they need to pass the Balanced Budget Amendment today!

What Does The Federal Government Know About Financial Literacy?


Does anyone else find it ironic that a government with a $14 Trillion Debt runs 20 different agencies with 56 different programs dedicated to financial literacy?


There is nothing responsible about the way this government runs its finances, yet we let them spend millions of dollars every single year “educating” others on Financial Literacy?


Does anyone else think that is absolutely crazy?


If you would like some wasteful spending examples, please visit my post outlining some of the most hilarious ones…


If you would like to read about how responsible the government is at owning land and using it effectively, please read this article on our nation’s biggest landowner (the Federal Government)…


If you would like to read about the history of the income tax, and how liberal politicians like to lie about it, please read this article which explains that America has spent more than half of its history with no income tax at all…


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