- The political environment (especially the economy): "The candidate that presents a compelling, optimistic economic narrative that answers the question of "how are you going to help make MY life better" is the candidate who will win the debate."
- The debates: "Elections are about contrasts. One of the most effective ways for candidates to distinguish themselves - for good and bad - is through debates."
- The Super PACS: "Elections are about money. Raising money for a campaign with $2,700 checks and bundlers is so yesterday. I used to pore over FEC reports and count down the days until filing deadlines. No longer. Nowadays, the real action is with the SuperPACs."
- The Marathon: "Elections are won by the best long-distance runner, not the best sprinter. Pay. No. Attention. To. Horse. Race. Polls. They are stupid and meaningless at this point. Pay more attention to each candidate's core vulnerability."
At the end of the day, when you put all the assets and liabilities on the table, it's hard to see anyone but Rubio, Bush or Walker as the ultimate nominee. Sure, one of them could stumble or come up short in a key early state. It's also highly likely that someone like Huckabee, Paul, Cruz and even Perry could win in Iowa. But, when you look at the candidate vulnerabilities instead of just their assets, these are the three who are the most likely to win over the largest share of the GOP electorate. Winning the "Evangelical" or the "Establishment" or the "Tea Party" lane isn't how you win the nomination. Cobbling together the broadest coalition is the key.