Back to the political world as the next Republican debate nears. I love the Republican field this year because there are so many interesting personalities involved. This is unlike any other political field I’ve experienced. Fun to watch.
I’ve also noticed that there is a sense of befuddlement with the news anchors and talking heads. They don’t seem to be in touch with the everyday American. The people who are pushing up certain candidate’s poll numbers and virtually ignoring other candidates.
So I decided it is time to give my assessment of the Republican political landscape before the next debate.
1) Donald Trump: 23.929 ==> #1 – 29.8%
Donald started as the front runner before the last debate. And his numbers keep increasing. What makes him so attractive? First he is anti-establishment. The conservatives, independents, out-of-work, people tired of political correct speak, people tired as Washington as usual…Donald speaks for them.
Is he the most conservative? Not by a long shot. Does it matter? A resounding NO! Although the talking heads would like to say this is a conservative revolution. And that the Republican mandate to repeal Obamacare, etc. that the Republican establishment didn’t follow through on is why people are mad. That is only part of the story.
People don’t want the two sides – Republican and Democrat – to play nice together in the sandbox. They see that as just a chance for the government to take more of their hard earned money and line politicians and special interest pockets.
People want American back being America. They realize politicians of all stripes make promises they can’t or won’t keep. They’re used to being lied to by the Washington insiders. And they’re tired of all that.
So they’re excited at someone who calls them all out on it. Someone who wants to make America great again. Someone who stands up. Is brash, bold, and ballsy. A person who can make deals that are good for America. A proven business person. A person who is comfortable in himself. With all his faults. Who cannot be bullied. And is used to getting his own way.
As Americans, we’re tired of being told we need to be more like Europe. We’re tired of being told we need to stop being a superpower. We’re tired of having our country run into the ground by people who are embarrassed at being American.
And so Trump is that person. And he’s comfortable in that role. And he believes in winning. And we want to win. So now how about the others?
2) Jeb Bush: 11.500 ==> #4 – 8.3%
Really? Jeb? He is the establishment candidate. That knocks him out of the running already. But he is also a Bush. Even if he could win the nomination, he’d get killed in the general election. All Hillary, or whoever is their nominee, would have to say is, “Another 4 years of Bush? Really?” And it would be over.
It is also funny because Bush just pales in comparison to Trump. He really is a low energy alternative. He already looks tired. And we saw how Obama wore out from his years in office. He hardly seems himself anymore. So Jeb? Not a chance. His slide from 2nd to 4th in the polls is evidence of that.
3) Scott Walker: 9.429 ==> #7 – 4.8%
Talk about epic free-fall. Scott started out with decent numbers. But dropping from #3 to #7? Time to bow out. I thought Scott had a good chance initially. He was hot off great work in Wisconsin. Beating back establishment types at every turn and getting results. However, translating that into national interest just hasn’t occurred. Not sure why but it seems he’s not recovering. Next…
4) Ben Carson: 8.929 ==> #2 – 16.0%
Ben. The darling of the first debate. Cool quotes. An understated guy. The counterpoint to Trump. A genuine, nice guy. Nice guys finish last? Not quite. He’s moving up in the polls.
But the biggest concern I have with him is even quiet demeanor. Like him, I’m one of those people. Analytical, focused, can get things done and make things happen. A good #2. But a #1? I think not.
This is the time where the #1’s have to be visible. In some cases flamboyant (thus why Obama did well with his Corinthian columns, people’s fainting spells, and huge crowds…and not Hillary with the energy and excitement of a banana slug). Advantage Trump. Nice try, Carson.
5) Ted Cruz: 6.286 ==> #4 – 7.0%
Teddy, Teddy…kind of reminds me of Don Quixote. Tilting at windmills (along with Rand Paul). Idealist. But burns every bridge (as evidenced by his inability to get his point through and make progress in Congress). Good at pointing out everyone else’s faults. But can he actually make a deal? No evidence of that. Yes, could be a strong leader. Yes, a good conservative. But seems a little manipulative and mean faced. Just sense he wouldn’t get it done and we be licking our wounds in another 4 years.
6) Marco Rubio: 5.643 ==> #5 – 5.5%
He’s the good looking guy. But not enough substance. He’s the box checker. But really not seeing the leadership qualities. He’s holding steady but I don’t see him separating himself from the pack.
7) Mike Huckabee: 5.571 ==> #8 – 4.3%
Huckabee is a known entity from the last go around. Entertaining. But maybe too out there on the religious side for the middle-of-the-roaders. And he’s not enough of an insider to pull Jeb’s supporters. Too high a ladder to climb. Likely to bow out if he doesn’t have a big win on Wednesday.
8) Rand Paul: 4.714 ==> #11 – 2.0%
Love Rand in a debate. He knows his stuff. Not afraid to launch the occasional molotov cocktail into the mix. He’s your classic right wing conservative. To Democrats he’s a right wing nut job. To the establishment Republicans he’s a pain in their side. To idealists on the conservative side he makes a lot of sense. And to nationalistic Americans he’s too against America flexing its military muscles worldwide. And dropping from #8 to #11 he should be out following the debate.
9) John Kasich: 3.214 ==> #9 – 3.8%
John made a few ripples at the last debate that kept him in the conversation early. But more Democratic leaning and has more or less disappeared from the discussion. Holding at #9 doesn’t get you much (other than one of the last three spots in the debate).
10) Chris Christie: 3.143 ==> #10 – 2.5%
Chris is fun to watch. Was good in the last debate. Likes to mix it up. The life of the party. But at #10 kind of irrelevant. He can go become a commentator once he drops out.
11) Carly Fiorina: 2.229 ==> #6 – 5.0%
The darling of the kiddie table debate. Dominating 6 other dolts. She shot up in the polls to #6. Becoming another of the anti-establishment possibilities. #6 is not #2 or #3, but it is significant and gives her a chance to show she can make a difference at the adults table on Wednesday.
Strengths are awesome knowledge of the facts. Pit bull tenaciousness. Experience running a large bureaucratic company. And a Washington outsider.
Downsides? She is a relative unknown. She is a woman (I think that still might hurt Hillary too).
That can be both a good (Marketing purposes it separates her from the men in the Republican field. And in a general election she can tackle Hillary head on without her using the woman card on Carly).
The downside is there still may be some people out there who won’t vote for a woman (in flyover country).
And she has a mean looking strange face (yes, people notice that and it can affect their voting behavior – I’ve seen it before – like Michael Dukakis’ nose – people can be petty in this celebrity world we live in). But I do think she has a chance to continue for a while as other less marketable candidates drop out. We’ll see.
So what are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below. Keep it clean and make your points. We can re-discuss further after the debate. When we see if there are any seismic shifts and they reshuffle the deck again.