Topic category: Elections - Politics, Polling, etc.
Past Week GOP Election Recap -- Observations and Advice for Candidates
(Updated: Monday, March 7)
The Republican nomination contest is one of the most interesting and unusual in history. What has it taught us so far?.
Following are some observations and advice for candidates as the first week of primaries in March draws to a close.
The Republican "establishment" has lost its grip. - Republican Party insiders still have no clue why they've lost any influence over the primary process. This past week's events clearly reveal the American people are fed up with being taken for granted by party insiders. We are witnessing the demise of the paradigm where politicians would say whatever appealed to their constituents just to get elected and then govern exactly as insiders wanted, regardless of voters' desires. The evidence of this revolt is the unanticipated success of campaigns for both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the establishment's two least favorite of the original GOP candidates.
Negative campaigning does not sit well with voters. - The clearest examples have been how every candidate who went strongly negative on Donald Trump has, in the end, lost voters, many of whom appear to have switched to Trump! Even Trump has been hurt when he goes negative in his counter-attack. We're tired of negativism and we don't want to hear any more of it!
The "outsiders" are becoming the new insiders. - Based on Saturday's results, the combined Trump and Cruz vote totals ranged from 70% to 80% of voters. And that is in a field where neither Marco Rubio nor John Kasich is considered a true "insider" of the Republican "establishment". This illustrates the hopeless position of the GOP central hierarchy. Dreams of a Rubio comeback are unrealistic. John Kasich could pull a surprise in Michigan, but Michigan is not a "winner take all" state, so a narrow victory would have only marginal delegate impact. Should Kasich fail to win his home state of Ohio, he will end his campaign.
Media commentators are nearly as clueless as GOP insiders. - It is truly painful to listen to and watch media commentators bloviate about this election. Their contorted excuses for the Trump and Cruz successes and their fantasies for a brokered convention where one of the establishment heroes, Marco Rubio or John Kasich, come riding in on a white horse to rescue the party from the grips of outsiders suggest these people cannot see the forest for the trees! The simple reality is that people are fed up with the establishment political powers ignoring the will of the people, lying to the people, deceiving the people, and running smarmy campaign ads attacking candidates and ignoring the issues that are of greatest importance to the people.
Republican primary vote totals continue to set records, even in closed primary/caucus states. - It is becoming clearer each week that people of all political stripes are fed up with political correctness, a lax attitude toward national security, a completely non-existent program to stimulate our private economy to produce jobs, impotent responses to illegal border crossings, toleration of "sanctuary cities", and a total disregard for constitutional restraints on government power. People want change and, based on its track record, establishment GOP "change" (i.e., promises that go unfulfilled) is no longer acceptable. The GOP electorate has been fooled too many times by empty promises of GOP establishment insiders. Where primaries are open to all voters, a large number of Independents and disaffected Democrats have increased GOP primary vote totals. These increases are unprecedented.
Pundit claims that neither Trump nor Cruz can win women or Hispanic voters. - It is remarkable that pundits actually believe that Trump cannot win votes of women, yet Bill Clinton, the sexual predator, was very successful winning the women's vote. Trump may not win style points, but in a contest between a strong leader and a dishonest, duplicitous and likely felonious woman in Hillary Clinton, it is hard to conceive that intelligent women would allow their emotions to completely overrule common sense and the realities of the consequence of a Clinton victory in November. I give women far more credit than do pundits who peddle the misogynist malarky promoted by Democrats. Hispanics have a reputation for having a strong work ethic. Claims that they would not be responsive to a Trump or the Hispanic Cruz candidacy that promises more jobs for everyone and a resurgence of economic vitality suggest that those making such claims take Hispanics for fools. They are not.
Losers should not try to instruct winners. - Mitt Romney and the GOP insider establishment made a huge mistake when on Thursday, Romney lambasted Donald Trump. This was both unsuccessful and a major miscalculation, particularly considering that the likely beneficiary was Ted Cruz, the candidate least liked by GOP insiders! If the purpose of Romney's attack was to bolster the campaign of Ted Cruz, it worked. If Romney's attack had been for any other purpose, it was a miserable failure. Romney would be well-advised to go fishing and keep his mouth shut for the remainder of this election year. As has been observed by others, had Romney gone after Obama with as much ferocity as he unleashed on Donald Trump, Romney would be running unopposed for his second term.
Threats to sit home or form a third party are both childish and foolish. - The "I'm taking my marbles and going home" mentality has no place in this critical election. So-called "conservatives" and major establishment "insiders" threatening to either sit home or support a third party effort would guarantee a Democrat victory. Such threats ignore the reality that virtually any Democrat would be far worse than the worst imaginable consequence of a Trump or Cruz presidency. Those who cannot see this are blind to reality. Any such efforts, in addition to being childish and emotion-based, would be doomed to failure and earn the lasting disrespect and hostility of the overwhelming majority of Independent, Conservative, and Republican voters.
Harmony is always better than conflict. - Rather than fighting the inevitable, the GOP establishment would benefit enormously by embracing the refreshing change that the Trump and Cruz candidacies have brought to the party. It's time to abandon foolish attempts to control the primary process and make overtures to the candidates who are winning a large majority of GOP primary votes. The question should not be "how do we stop Trump and Cruz?", but rather, "how can we work with and help Trump and Cruz?" so that the GOP goes forward with the best candidate to represent both the GOP and the nation. I seriously doubt either Trump or Cruz would shun constructive advice if offered in the spirit of cooperation and support.
Advice to Candidates:
Donald Trump: While people like the fact that your instinct is to counterpunch, they do not like when you do so with childish antics and uncivil language. Stop with the "little Marco" and "liar" labels for Rubio and Cruz, respectively. Such antics do not help your cause. You are on to something and your success would increase dramatically if you adopt a more presidential posture in dealing with criticism. Now is the time to develop the thick skin you will need if you become the GOP nominee. Dismiss childish attacks of others by responding with dignity. Your news conferences on primary nights, while better than debate performance but still not as good as they might be, are a brilliant strategy that demonstrates how well you deal with news media. You can be our next President, but you must begin to behave more Presidential to secure that result. One final thought, please, drop the claim that Cruz cost Dr. Carson votes in Iowa. There is no way to know whether (a) anyone actually changed their vote on the basis of what happened at a limited number of caucus sites, and (b) even if a vote had been changed, there is no guarantee it went to Cruz -- indeed, you may have been a bigger benefactor than Cruz!
Ted Cruz: In comparison to Rubio's, your campaign has maintained its dignity and avoided most of the childish antics that have hurt Marco Rubio and limited Donald Trump's successes. However, if you focus on key issues that are driving voters to the GOP primary polls, and clearly articulate your positions, you would do so much better than engaging in negative campaigning against Donald Trump. Every one of the four remaining candidates has strong and weak points. Work on your weak points and showcase your strong points if you want to improve your standing. Continued negative campaigning with respect to Donald Trump will only hurt you by limiting your future primary success. Now is the time to adopt a strategy for primaries in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California. You must broaden your appeal or your campaign will suffer from the belief that you cannot win against the Democrat nominee. Should that sentiment prevail at convention time, you would do well to have a private conversation with Donald Trump that would ensure the GOP nominee is an outsider in order to secure victory over GOP establishment insiders and bring fundamental change to the Republican Party.
Marco Rubio: As one who had been a supporter of your Senate campaign, I can tell you that your waffling on the amnesty issue and association with "the gang of eight" was as fatal to supporting your future as was George H. W. Bush's betrayal of his "no new taxes" campaign pledge. Never make a campaign promise you do not intend to keep. If you lose Florida on the 15th, have the grace and respect for the process to suspend your campaign. If you should win on the 15th, you will only do so by ceasing your childish antics of motor mouthing and interrupting when another candidate is attempting to rebut a remark you've made. While at times you are eloquent, at other times you embarrass those who support your candidacy. Avoid criticizing other candidates. Negativism will cost you further votes and is the reason you have fallen from grace in the primaries. You may have been the establishment's sacrificial candidate in their last ditch effort to (1) promote John Kasich as their last great hope and (2) permanently destroy your political future. In short, you need a major adjustment in your campaign style to have any hope of prevailing in Florida on the 15th.
John Kasich: You have a massive mountain to climb. With only a smattering of delegates and no primary victories, you would have to have a substantial win in Michigan, win convincingly in Ohio, have Rubio lose in Florida and bequeath to you his delegates, and then rack up major victories in other states (e.g., New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California). This is unlikely, but nobody likes someone who quits before their game is over. Honor your pledge to suspend your campaign if you do not win Ohio. You could play a key role in the administration of any of the other likely Republican nominees. Certainly, a Donald Trump nomination would open several possible doors where you could contribute to a successful general election and play a vital role in the new administration. To your credit, you've stayed above the fray and adopted a less combative tone than was evident when these "debates" first began. Nevertheless, you would benefit from less motor mouthing and greater brevity and a clear articulation of your position on key issues. Avoid the perception that you're whining and don't criticize other candidates.
Every candidate: Candidates should adopt a more mature campaign style. People want to better understand each candidate's position on issues. They are not interested in negativism, or a candidate's opinion of their opponent, and they certainly are repelled by schoolyard brawls that serve only to diminish those who engage in such behavior while providing juicy fodder for Democrats' campaign commercials. Be to the point. Clearly articulate your views on issues important to voters. Do not criticize other Republicans, no matter what the provocation. And most important, avoid the temptation to comment on your opponents when asked to by so-called "debate moderators" who are more interested in creating a sideshow than a mature discussion of issues. Democrats are already prepared to air attack ads based on bickering promoted by moderators of earlier debates. Don't give them any more!
The dangers posed by massive national debt, terrorism, economic strangulation and disunity are both massive and imminent. We have neither the time nor energy to waste on contentious anger and internal conflict.
Our nation's survival demands unity and harmony, not division and conflict.
Bob Webster, a 12th-generation descendent of both the Darte family (Connecticut, 1630s) and the Webster family (Massachusetts, 1630s) is a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, who served with General Washington. Bob has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.