POLITICS

Ranking The GOP Race To Overtake You-Know-Who

2016 First to Last is facing an unpleasant fact: that the entertaining, traffic-generating fling with He-Who-Must Not-Be-Named is fading. His junior-high insult humor is getting old fast. We predict that, come January, he’ll be playing golf in sunny Palm Beach, Florida, not shaking gloved hands in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

This week we look ahead to the real, if rather boring, Republican race, which, in picking a nominee, will also decide who finally takes on the billionaire lunchroom bully and finishes him off. Here are the top ten NON-You-Know-Who GOP candidates, ranked by how they did in Cleveland and where they now stand early in this marathon contest:

RANK CANDIDATE
1
MARCO RUBIO
How could he be a corrupt establishment insider with that bio and baby face? Youth is "outside" by definition. Among grumps, his sunny demeanor stands out.
2
JEB BUSH
GOP insiders were minimally reassured, but one told us that the Jebster now will have to raise a LOT more money to even go deep into the primary season.
3
MIKE HUCKABEE
There’s a reason why fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton respects his political chops: Huck’s gift for gab and feel for a down-home, church-going crowd is positively Clintonesque.
4
SCOTT WALKER
Made zero impression at the debate, which seemed to be his game plan. No presence, no gaffe. Now back to Iowa.
5
JOHN KASICH
Home-state debut home run from thoughtful, reality-based governor. We like him, which means he’s doomed.
6
CHRIS CHRISTIE
Thrived in the moderated food fight; scored by tying get-tough foreign policy to his tenure as U.S. attorney in New Jersey after the Manhattan towers fell -- although he fudged the timing a bit there.
7
CARLY FIORINA
Designated Hillary hater gets to show her stuff. Now she’ll get some coverage when she takes it back out on the road.
8
BEN CARSON
Seemed surprisingly sane at times, which may or may or may not be an advantage in this field.
9
TED CRUZ
National collegiate debate champ flunks out. Still flummoxed that You-Know-Who is cornering the market on outrage -- and outrageousness.
10
RAND PAUL
Played yapping Pekingese to You-Know-Who’s Rottweiler. And his former PAC director was just indicted. Time for another filibuster.
Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press