The 2016 presidential election is now basically at half-time with only the Wisconsin primary during a four week period. Here are some basic thoughts on the Republican candidates and the Republican race in general. I will have another post on the Democrats
In my last post I wrote on the good and the bad of Donald Trump. I stated some things I liked and some things I didn’t like. In summary, I said that whenever I started to think he might be a good choice, he would say something that made me cringe and drove me away.
Up through the March 15 Super Tuesday 2 primaries, one could make an argument that his attention-gathering statements were political brilliance. If he had been ordinary, he would never have been taken seriously. His blunt, non politically-correct statements drove him to prominence and to be the GOP front-runner. Mission accomplished. He was on the path to cruise to the nomination. He said he could act very presidential. It was the time to be presidential, the time to work on uniting the party around him and to reduce his negatives with a thought towards the general election.
Instead, he needlessly made abusive, divisive statements and has shown both a lack of thought on key issues and a total lack of self-control. The post March 15 barrage started with another needless tweet out of the blue attacking Megyn Kelly. He tweeted an awful picture of Heidi Cruz. With polls saying 70% of women have a negative impression of him, how could he possibly think that these tweets would help him become the next president?
His statement saying women should be punished for abortions managed to alienate everybody, both pro-choice and pro-life. It is obvious why the pro-choice would be alienated. The pro-life movement has consistently stated it is not out to hurt the women. Trump’s statement will be used against them for years. Trump acted like someone who was not really pro-life, needed to act pro-life to get the nomination, and was spouting off what he thought was the pro-life position without understanding it. He then went on to make a series of jumbled and thoughtless positions on foreign policy.
In fairness, many of the attacks on Trump say he is racist and sexist. He is not racist or sexist. He has taken controversial stands but there are reasons for his stands. In his entire career, he has given major opportunities to minorities and women. In the eighties, he put a woman in charge of constructing Trump Tower. At that time very few women were prominent in construction. No he is not racist or sexist. He is just crude and offensive in general.
In short, in these last few weeks he has made so many cringe-worthy statements that I think he can not recover.
Ted Cruz’s biggest weakness is that he is rigid, uncompromising, refuses to work with others, so his colleagues hate him. His greatest strength is that he stands staunchly behind his principles and doesn’t cave to pressure so his colleagues hate him. His biggest strength and his biggest weakness are the same thing.
Perfect is the enemy of better. In leading the effort to shut down the government to be perfect, he made things worse. Trying to be perfect isn’t good. Unless of course, you can achieve it.
I’ve heard people say Cruz is stupid. Cruz is brilliant. The well-known liberal Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz told Piers Morgan on CNN in 2013 that Cruz was one of the most intelligent students he ever taught:
One of the sharpest students I had . . . I’ve had 10,000 students over my 50 years at Harvard . . . he has to qualify among the brightest of the students.
Cruz was not my first choice. I liked Walker. I liked Fiorina. I voted for Cruz in the primary. Right now I think that Cruz, like Obi-wan Kenobi, is our only hope.
John Kasich has an outstanding record of accomplishment both in congress and as governor of Ohio. If experience was the main factor in this campaign, he would easily be the nominee. Kasich has failed as a candidate for two reasons. First, he doesn’t inspire the Republican electorate. Second, he cites many liberal positions,such as blanket amnesty, and he seems to eager to compromise with Democrats at a time when Republicans think we compromise too much. His statement that he would consider a Democrat as vice president says all that you need to know here.
Kasich has no chance of winning the nomination and his continued presence in the race takes codes away from Cruz and helps Trump. Unless Kasich has some secret deal with Trump, there is no reason for Kasich to still be in this race. If Trump wins the nomination, he might have Kasich to thank.
Rubio is out of the race now. His candidacy collapsed when he decided to make Trump-like comments about Trump. It reminded me of the old like that you should never mud-wrestle with a pig. You will just get dirty and the pig will like it.
Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or anybody else
There has been talk about the Republican establishment hijacking the convention and putting in Romney, Ryan, or another establishment candidate. If this happened both the Trump and Cruz supporters would be furious. I think that the Democrats could run Hillary from jail and she would still win. If the Republican establishment tries to hijack the process, it will be a total disaster. I really think that, unless Hillary is indicted, that the one Republican hope is to get behind Ted Cruz and help him win the nomination in a fair process.