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  • feedwordpress 22:01:27 on 2016/06/26 Permalink
    Tags: candidates, , , , , , , Trump Train   

    Republicans Running for Office: It’s Easier to Jump on the Trump Train Late than to Jump Off 

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    To every Republican running in any election in 2016, it’s imperative that you think about the current political atmosphere through a lens of discernment and logic. Attachment to Donald Trump will have no positive effects on your own campaign by endorsing him or even giving him lukewarm support now. On the other hand, the potential negatives to your campaign are clearly present and there’s a good chance that it will get even worse between now and election day.

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re a straight-ticket GOP true believer who bleeds Republican red no matter what or if you’re one who takes every issue at face value. From now until very close to the election, you must keep your distance from Trump. I’ll go over the many logical reasons for doing so, but let’s first look at the potential negatives of showing even the mildest form of support.

    If Trump Doesn’t Implode, You’re Not Safe

    One would be hard-pressed to find a major Presidential candidate who’s had as much potential for disaster as either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Clinton’s disasters are tied to her past crimes and in many ways it’s out of her hands whether or not she suffers an implosion-by-indictment. Trump is different. Throughout the campaign, he’s done and said things that will be used against him until November. One does not have to go back to his history to find damning statements; in the last year alone he’s been able to accumulate ammunition for Democrats to use against him and those who support him.

    If you’re a Republican candidate for any office, imagine your competitor running an ad that shows Trump making fun of POWs, mocking a disabled reporter, insulting Mexicans, insulting women, questioning the integrity of a judge over his heritage… you get the point. Now, imagine the ad ending with a sound bite of you supporting or even endorsing him. At that point, it wouldn’t matter what your policy proposals were. It wouldn’t matter how many things you’d accomplished or how often you’d helped your constituents. Your opinions will no longer matter. Your opinions would now be associated with Trump’s opinions and there’s nothing you could do to diffuse it. What’s worse is that your future would not be tied to Trump’s because outside of battleground states, many Trump-supporting Republican candidates will lose by association regardless of how Trump does in the state.

    Many believe that Trump will continue to accumulate negatives. He seems to get bored every time he acts “more Presidential” and inevitably reverts back to his modus operandi. Let’s say for the sake of argument that he turns over a new leaf and acts like an adult rather than a petulant child for the remainder of the campaign. The negatives are still there. The sound bites will still be used against you.

    If Trump Implodes, You’re Toast

    What if Trump goes too far as he’s almost done on several occasions. What if a scandal rears its ugly head shortly before November; there are stories that are likely being held by liberal mainstream media that won’t be released until it’s too late for the Republicans to recover. What if Trump’s tax returns get leaked? What if he’s made to sound like a fool during debates? What if…

    There are so many potential derailments that could be lurking around the corner. If any of them come out, candidates in tight races who have supported or endorsed him might as well hang up their political ambitions now. The sad part is that if Clinton is indicted and the country has to choose between her scandal and Trump’s scandal, he could still end up winning. However, those who supported him will be irrecoverably damaged.

    The Pragmatic Road

    Utah Congresswoman Mia Love is taking the pragmatic approach. She’s not speaking ill of Trump any more (even though she voted for Ted Cruz in the primary), but she’s giving up her delegate slot and is not going to the GOP convention.

    “I don’t see any upsides to it,” Love said. “I don’t see how this benefits the state.”

    It isn’t about benefiting the state. It’s about avoiding the questions that will come at the convention where she will be cornered into endorsing Trump. Rather than risk it, she’d rather sacrifice the potential national spotlight in favor of not attaching her name to Trump’s. It’s the smart move for someone in her position as a rising star who is locked in a tight battle for reelection. It’s the type of move that every GOP candidate should consider depending on the dynamics of their own race. If they’re going to be cornered at the convention, don’t go. If the question about Trump pops up elsewhere, prepare a good answer. That’s the first stage of the pragmatic approach. We’ll get to the next stage shortly, but first let’s look at some of the reasons that it makes sense to NOT endorse, support, or attach to the Trump campaign in any way… for now:

    • The anti-Hillary vote is not necessarily anti-Democrat: There are currently a large block of Trump “supporters” who are claiming that Trump might not be perfect but at least he’s not Hillary. This is a righteous perspective for a voter, but it’s dangerous for a candidate. Even lukewarm support for Trump is support for Trump that can and will be used against candidates. Hillary-hating Independents or moderates might vote for Trump out of fear, but they won’t necessarily vote for those who supported him. If anything, they might vote against them for the sake of checks and balances.
    • The anti-Trump vote WILL BE an anti-Republican vote: The reverse of the previous bullet is not true. Those who oppose Trump will not only oppose him but will also oppose those who support him. There is a real fear that’s associated with Trump, so candidates who give him even the slightest level of support will be associated with being in his camp. Many of the anti-Trump voters will try to completely obliterate his political existence. That existence extends down-ticket.
    • Your endorsement will not help Trump: Presidential candidates do not need endorsements from those running down-ticket. It doesn’t help them unless it’s a cross-party endorsement, while a lack of those endorsements doesn’t hurt them. Endorsements and support from down-ticket candidates is for the sake of the down-ticket candidate. It’s about riding on the coattails of the Presidential candidate’s support. In this rare case, Trump’s potential down-ticket negatives outweigh the positives.
    • Trump will likely not reward you for your endorsement: Unless you’re Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, or any of a handful of supporters who have a spot waiting for them in Trump’s administration, you’re not going to get anything from Trump for your support. He won’t be helping you win. He won’t remember you if he wins. If you’re a big-enough name, you’ll get a press release and a mention during a speech. If you’re not, well, you won’t.
    • By focusing strictly on your constituents, you’re own campaign can shine: The moment that a candidate supports Trump in any way, their opinions no longer matter as much. They will get asked to react to “this thing that Trump did” or “that faux pas that Trump made.” Their entire candidacy gets framed by their attachment to Trump. By withholding support, they retain their independence and can keep the focus on how they will handle the issues.

    The Biggest Reason to Withhold Support

    Which has more impact: supporting Trump today, in July, or even in September, or throwing your support his way in the week or two prior to election day? Think hard before you answer that question, though the answer should be obvious. Let’s look at the scenarios…

    If you withhold your support and Trump implodes, you’ll be seen as the type of candidate that makes smart decisions, that follows your conscience rather than the mandates of the party, and that puts your constituents ahead of the national narrative.

    If you withhold your support and Trump doesn’t implode, you can make a big announcement just prior to election day that you now feel comfortable supporting him for President. Here’s the thing about support: in this society of short attention spans, the impact of support for any candidate, in particular one like Trump, will be strongest in the one or two weeks following the endorsement. His supporters will instantly embrace you for seeing the error of your ways. In fact, they might embrace you even more fervently than if you’d been a Trump supporter from the beginning.

    Withhold Properly

    I’ve heard dozens of attempts to not support Trump. Almost all of them are poor. First and foremost, not supporting Trump will be seen as supporting Hillary if it’s not worded properly. You have to get that out of the way immediately. Second, you have to give a reason for not supporting Trump at this time that doesn’t sound like you’re scared of attachment to him. Finally, you have to leave the door open in a way that puts the onus on Trump to earn your support. No matter what, you cannot appear to be indecisive.

    Here’s a quick example of an answer to the question, “Do you support Trump for the Presidency?”

    I am opposed to Hillary Clinton, the liberal agenda, and most importantly to [insert your opponent’s name]. Trump is our party’s nominee but I am going to do what’s best for the people I hope to represent. I agree with some of what Trump is saying and I disagree with others. From now until the election I will be watching him very closely to see if his ideas and his ability to deliver on them are aligned with what’s best for the people of [insert city, district, or state].

    The follow up question will be something like, “So you won’t vote for Clinton and you might not vote for Trump unless he changes his ways?”

    At this point none of the candidates have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that they will be a great President. I’m hopeful that Trump will demonstrate the ability to become a great President but as of today he still needs to put out a platform that he sticks to and that he can deliver on for the most part.

    The “gotcha” question where they’ll try to paint you into a corner will be, “If the vote were today, who would you vote for?”

    Thankfully I live in a world where election day is in November and impossible hypotheticals are left to the journalists and Democrats, but if the vote were today there’s not enough information to make a decision. It wouldn’t be Hillary. Trump’s positions haven’t been locked in yet, so in the fantasy world you envision I likely wouldn’t vote for the Presidency.

    Once a candidate decides to hop on the Trump train, they’ll get all of the negatives associated without the benefit of any positives. If they withhold their support properly and use it to leverage Trump towards a more conservative perspective, more Republicans will win their elections regardless of what happens to the Presidency.

    Author’s Note: There is no practical scenario in which I would personally support Trump. The purpose of this article is to express a pragmatic approach for current GOP candidates across the board to win as many races as possible. Regardless of whether you’re a #NeverTrumper, a card-carrying Trumpster, or anywhere in between, this perspective can help America by getting as many Republicans into office as possible. I encourage you to share it with their campaigns through email, social media, or any way you see fit.

    Image Credit: Trump Train USA

  • feedwordpress 07:01:22 on 2015/12/31 Permalink
    Tags: , candidates, , , , , , , , , ,   

    The Reset Button, the Nuclear Button, and the Eject Button 

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    In the digital age, we’re used to having pretty much everything available to us at the click of a button. In fact, many of us don’t even click actual buttons anymore. Our smartphones have screens that mimic buttons just fine. For the President of the United States, there are symbolic buttons that they can push. For voters in the GOP primaries, each candidate represents a different type of button that will determine the fate of the nation.

    The field is too big, so I’m adding a fourth button to the mix: the Placebo Button. With this button, voting for particular candidates will be as effective as voting for nobody at all. While it’s hard to say that about a candidate like Rand Paul who I like, I have no problem with saying that a vote in the primaries and caucuses for the following people would be an empty vote. It won’t help them win because they can’t. It removes your ability to vote for someone who has a chance and who comes closer to your perspectives ideologically. Those people are:

    • Rick Santorum
    • Mike Huckabee
    • John Kasich
    • Carly Fiorina
    • Rand Paul

    They are all good people in my opinion. Any of them would have been able to beat Hilary Clinton. Any of them would have been better Presidents than Barack Obama. None of them have a chance of winning a primary or caucus and are therefore a distraction. They should drop out to prevent too many pushes of the Placebo Button.

    Now, let’s look at the other candidates who have a chance of getting the nomination (though some of them have chances that are approaching zero).

    The Nuclear Button

    Those who push the nuclear button want to blow it all up. Washington DC is too corrupt and someone needs to ride into town and get rid of everything.

    Nobody can do that, of course. There’s something called checks and balances that have generated a working government for over two centuries. The problem is that anyone with political experience cannot be trusted by those who want to push the Nuclear Button, so it doesn’t matter whether or not they can accomplish what they claim.

    These are strange times, though. We need a shakeup. We need something different than the rhetoric and cronyism that has plagued the federal government for decades. We’ve been able to crank out one strong President in most of our lifetimes. If we can’t find another Ronald Reagan, then the Nuclear Button is the only option.

    The candidates who represent this button are obvious: Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Their lack of experience is their strength. Their lack of knowledge can be overlooked. They haven’t been tainted and that’s more important to some people than knowledge.

    The Reset Button

    Most who want to push the Nuclear Button are likely unaware that there’s a Reset Button that will achieve the same basic goals without risking mutual destruction. It’s “Nuclear Lite,” not because it’s less devastating to the Washington Cartel but because it’s more strategic.

    There’s no need to even attempt to build suspense. Ted Cruz has made more enemies in the Senate, the Congress, and the White House in less than one term than most Senators make in a lifetime. He represents a political form of anti-establishment that makes them uncomfortable at the least and potentially terrified, particularly if they’re establishment born and bred.

    What he can achieve in DC is arguably more potent than the nuclear option. He doesn’t just know the Constitution. He’s memorized it. As crazy as that is to most of us (I had trouble memorizing 12 lines for a high school play), he knows the core document of our country inside and out. More importantly, he’s used this knowledge with cases that he’s argued and won before the Supreme Court. His time in the Senate may be limited, but his ability to navigate the waters makes him the perfect person to engage a Washington DC reset.

    The Eject Button

    There are two variations of the Eject Button. It is a button that never existed before Barack Obama became President, but he had to inadvertently build that button to because the unthinkable is happening. The country is falling apart. The ship is going down. The engines are stalled and most Americans are too engrossed in reality television to understand it.

    The Eject Button represents a complete disregard for change. Pushing it essentially says, “Things are bad but if we change it we might make things worse.” It’s the safe button, not because it represents safety for the country or its citizens but because it means that the status quo can continue on.

    Our country has been in the shifting hands between the Democrats and the Republican Establishment since Reagan left office. It’s no coincidence that things have been in a steady spiral since then with the most recent two Presidents pushing us towards the abyss.

    While I don’t want to see us push the Nuclear Button, it’s a better choice than pushing the Eject Button.

    The two variations of the button are voting for any of the Democrats or voting for the Republican Establishment candidates: Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, or Jeb Bush. They will be business as usual because they only know political expediency and playing to the whims of Neocons. They will continue the country down the Clinton/Bush/Obama path and give us no hope of seeing the Reaganesque change that can come from Cruz for sure and possibly from Trump or Carson.

    I know it’s hard to hear the truth, particularly if you’re supporting one of the Eject Button candidates, but this is too important for anyone to let go. This is the most important nomination process in the history of the country. We have to get it right.

  • feedwordpress 09:52:05 on 2015/06/01 Permalink
    Tags: 2016 Election, , candidates, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Why Everyone’s Wrong About the Growing Republican Field 

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    If you’re a Democrat, you’re probably thinking that there are so many Republicans running for President that it will be hard to decide who to attack. If you’re a Republican, you’re probably groaning every time a new candidate is announced because it means more confusion on the ticket and more debates to watch. Nobody should be groaning. This is a very good thing. This is America.

    Conservatives may not remember, but the “large” field in 2012 wasn’t really that large. I remember vividly as I watched Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and finally Mitt Romney all have frontrunner momentum at various times during the campaign. The field was considered to be a big one, but I didn’t think so. In fact, I thought it was too small and as it turned out we never really had a candidate that the country could sink its teeth into.

    Many blamed the nomination of Mitt Romney and the eventual failure of the party to take back the White House from a weakened incumbent on the lack of a real candidate. They were all extremely flawed and nobody showed more than an occasional spark of excellence. With no strong candidates available, we ended up with a moderate, flawed candidate who didn’t seem to have the heart to win. He did well during his first debate with the President and then faltered badly. Some even thought that it was a strategic loss by the President in the first debate to set up a slight underdog feeling to galvanize the base. Whether it was intentional or not, it worked and he won.

    Now, we are looking at nearly 20 announced or potential valid candidates. Some are strong like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. Some are weak like Rick Santorum and Jeb Bush. Most are still too unknown to really pass judgment. That’s a good thing. With the field so large and growing, it is quickly becoming a massive potential meeting of the minds to determine what messages will resonate and which portions of the platform will work.

    In America, diversity is both our strength and our weakness. Having too many choices can be a bad thing and that’s why nearly every journalist on both sides of the aisle are already complaining about a bloated list of GOP candidates. For the Democrats, there are only three valid candidates currently: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley. Between the three of them, they will be fighting for a nomination that many are already prematurely giving to the former First Lady. She has a bigger fight than most are seeing at this point.

    The GOP has a big advantage with so many candidates. What many are calling confusion will actually put more feet on the ground to promote a conservative message. Not all of the messages will be the right one, of course, but it’s better to get more people talking to more people than spreading them thin. The fear for Republicans is that in the confusion there will be too many choices and the wrong candidate will rise to the top. Call me a purist or an idealist but I believe that having so many options will force the eventual candidate to be stronger, wiser, and more prepared for the general election.

    The biggest threat to the Republicans will come in the form of fundraising. So many hands will be put out there to ask for support and that means they will be spread thin. Some believe that this will hurt them in the general election as funds will be depleted more quickly fighting on so many fronts, but again this is an erroneous concept. Primary money is not the same as general election money. Once a candidate is able to rise to the top and win the nomination, the fundraising machine will go into high gear again. Money will not be a problem for either side and until there’s campaign finance reform it will likely never be a problem in a Presidential election again. That’s another story altogether.

    The 2016 election is going to be a wild ride. Don’t be deflated or confused by so many candidates. In America, we’re given the type of resources as a society to stay on top of what all of the candidates are saying. My big fear is that the media will, as usual, try to shift momentum to the wrong candidate. That’s where you come in.

    You’re already spending time on YouTube and on news websites. Put down the Taylor Swift videos and Alex Rodriguez articles for a couple of weeks and learn what the candidates are actually saying. Study their history. Look at their platforms and stances. Make an educated decision and you’ll help America pick the right President for once. It’s been a long time since that has happened.


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