One day we will look back at the 2016 Presidential race and laugh. Not!
This has been one of the most contentious races in recent history and we’re not even battling the Democrats yet. While we started out with nearly 20 candidates, we have finally narrowed the field down to four. Having yet to coalesce behind one candidate creates a dilemma. As of today, it is evolving into a two man race with only about 100 delegates separating front runner Donald Trump from Ted Cruz. In the past week, Cruz gained 125 delegates and Trump gained 124, hardly moving the needle.
As someone who is still undecided, I have been struggling with many factors. Here is my perception of where the candidates stand. My goal is not to bash but to put things in perspective.
At the very least, Donald Trump has added an aura of unpredictability to the race. We never know what he’s going to say or how folks will react, yet he is still the one to beat. Trump represents the ‘destruction of the status quo.’ His support is not ideological, but represents a need to change the establishment. This sentiment has been growing for the better part of a decade and now has a voice; a very boisterous voice. The ‘idea’ of Trump is appealing to millions. Like him or not, he is making a statement. The silver lining is that he is getting new people to participate in the process and he even seems to be resurrecting the so-called Reagan Democrats. Whether his confrontational approach will be able to overcome the Clinton ‘machine’ in November, remains to be seen. The poll numbers do not look good, but he really has yet to focus on Clinton.
With Ted Cruz, you have the personification of the ‘ideal conservative’ with a taste of ‘anti-establishment.’ Cruz believes in the literal Constitution and the principles it represents. He also shows no fear when going toe to toe against Republican establishment giving him an ‘outsider’ edge. The man is brilliant in his knowledge of all things Constitution and he is an amazing orator. Couple that with the fact that he is a ‘true believer’, gives Conservatives someone as close as possible to the ‘ideal Conservative’ candidate. Out of the remaining candidates, he has been showing the most momentum and is not far behind Trump. One possible issue with Cruz is that Clinton can try to create a distraction by exploiting his Canadian birth. Another thing to consider is if such a solid Conservative can appeal to the coveted Independent voters or Reagan Democrats. That being said, could you imagine Clinton even attempt to debate Ted Cruz? Get the popcorn!
As for Rubio and Kasich, they represent the establishment and the fat lady is not just warming up, she is singing loudly.
When Jeb Bush failed to gain any traction, the party turned to Marco Rubio. He is young, energetic, charismatic, and most of all, can be molded. He was completely unprepared for the onslaught from fellow republican Candidates. A cake walk compared to what the Clinton ‘machine’ would do to him. There is also the weight of the Gang of Eight bill on his shoulders, his Achilles heel. Let’s be real, he is losing ground quickly and needs to suspend his campaign while he still has a bright future. He has future potential but has a lot to learn. Consistently coming in a distant 3rd or even 4th should tell him something. A ‘spanking’ in the Florida primary will kill any credibility he has left. Live to fight another day Marco.
John Kasich has one thing going for him, he has always tried to keep things professional and amicable. He used Reagan’s eleventh commandment perfectly. I commend him for that. But, he has made several bad decisions as Governor of Ohio and he is the epitome of the Washington insider. He will never get the nomination and will likely drop after Ohio. You are the weakest link, Buh-Bye.
If Rubio and Kasich drop, then Cruz and Trump can battle it out. I do not like the idea of Mitt Romney trying to manipulate the outcome. It’s not right to thwart the will of the people. Let the process work. If nobody gets to 1237 naturally, then we can have a brokered or contested convention. Until then, KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF IT. Focusing efforts on derailing one candidate in favor of your ‘chosen candidate of the month’ will alienate millions of voters we will need in November. You should be focused on unifying the party against Clinton, not our own. Remember the 11th Commandment.
This year will define how our party moves forward, shifting toward the right, or shifting toward the unpredictable. Change is coming either way, the fact the two top contenders are perceived outsiders, speaks volumes. This is a symbolic shot across the bow of the Republican Party leadership. Are they listening?