In the race for the Republican nomination for President, there are really only four viable candidates as we approach the February 9th New Hampshire Primary, and the Massachusetts Primary in March.
They are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie.
To understand the race and why it is so contentious, you first have to understand the civil war being fought in the Republican Party.
On one side, we have the Washington, DC establishment Republicans and their supporters.
They are, for the most part, more moderate Republicans who are either liberal, or wishy-washy on social issues. These are the Republicans who believe that social issues are less important. They also believe working with Democrats and compromising on key issues helps to advance the conservative cause.
On the other side of this war are those “outsider” social and fiscal conservatives who are tired of the establishment Republicans preaching conservatism while voting for budgets that increase spending and social programs. At the heart of this war is a strong contempt that both sides have for each other. Establishment Republicans feed into the false news media stereotype about members of the Tea Party, painting them as crazy extremists who can’t be reasoned with. They marginalize them publicly and ignore them privately, while paying lip service in the media to the Tea Party issues.
On the other hand, right wing conservatives and Tea Party members mock and deride establishment Republicans by stereotyping anyone who does not tow the line 100% on every Tea Party issue. Their favorite invective for moderate and establishment Republicans is: RINO (Republican in Name Only).
None of these tactics are helping the party or the country, despite the fact that both sides have legitimate points. But, since both sides stopped talking to each other and working together, the chasm between both grows wider.
And, as each side publicly demonizes the other with half-truths and verbal (as well as social media) attacks, the news media shamefully skews their coverage to help Democrats by painting the entire GOP as dysfunctional, hateful, angry and unreasonable. Even though both sides of the Republican Civil War know this, they continue to circle the wagons and shoot in … on television.
The 2016 Presidential Race will either result in a peace treaty between the two, or it will result in a split party and perhaps, the end of the national Republican Party as we know it… not to mention another Democrat being elected president.
Can any of these presidential candidates unite the party completely?
I do not think so. But there is hope with a few of the candidates, that the damage can be minimized and the party can be saved.
WHERE I STAND – Let me tell you my own personal perspective on the candidates so you can factor that in when evaluating the candidates and matching them to your own political beliefs and priorities.
I was a Scott Walker supporter from day one. Two weeks ago, I decided that I am most likely voting for Governor Chris Christie with Donald Trump being my second choice, Rubio third, and Cruz fourth. Yes, I can still be swayed and it’s possible I will change my mind but for now I am a Christie supporter with Donald Trump as my backup candidate.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Rubio and Cruz are amazing candidates and I would not be unhappy if either of them won. But in a primary, I cannot vote for Cruz because I support the NSA as one of my big three issues, and Cruz, sadly does not. Just like you, I evaluate the candidates not just on where they stand on issues, but what kind of priority they give to those issues important to me. I want a candidate who not only believes in the same issues that I do, but sees my top four or five priorities as their top priorities.
THE CANDIDATES – Let’s take an objective look at the top four candidates and what they bring to the race, the presidency, as well as their impact on the Republican Civil War.
DONALD TRUMP: The most lied about Republican candidate; Trump has been so maligned by the news media that there are actually Democrat activists calling him a Nazi. Trump’s enormous popularity, and indeed his very candidacy, is the result of the Republican Civil War. Social conservatives who normally would never consider a candidate who is as wishy-washy on abortion as Trump, are flocking to Trump faster than Hillary Clinton can delete her emails.
Trump is strong on national security, fiscally conservative, supports lower taxes and cutting government spending, but is not an extremist and does not come from the far right wing of the conservative ideological spectrum. The biggest fear with Trump is that because he has no political ideology at all, he is a big question mark when it comes to how he will choose the next Supreme Court nominee.
Clearly, a Trump nomination will cause fear and panic in and among the moderate and establishment wing of the GOP. If he wins the nomination, many of them will flee or stand on the sidelines.
Could he beat Hillary Clinton? Yes. But it will be an uphill battle, as she will have the full support of the cable news media, most print media, Hollywood, the Democratic Party, the education establishment and the social service industry which makes billions on the largess of government.
If Trump is nominated, he will have to bring those who hate him most inside his tent and placate enough of them to bring a unified party to the final election. That is going to be tough to do. The question is not can he, but will he?
Trump is unpredictable and often thinks… and acts .. outside the box. So, there’s no telling what he will do.
On the issues, Trump is against illegal immigration, but not immigration in general. This has widely been misrepresented by the so-called news media. He supports the NSA (a big issue for me). He is pro-life but wasn’t always pro life, and he is pro-second amendment He is for a strong military, pledged to blow up ISIS and Al-Qaida, wants to build a wall on our southern border, and pledged the death penalty for cop killers. He has never held elected office or worked in government.
TED CRUZ: Cruz is a United States Senator from Texas. He is probably the most socially conservative of the top candidates and is the favorite of social conservatives, as well as the fiscal conservatives in the Tea Party. Cruz is not well liked by the establishment Republicans or the insiders, which is odd because now he is one.
Cruz is also very fiscally conservative and mirrors his political beliefs with his religious beliefs. He is pro-life, pro-gun, strong on border security and national security. Cruz is hostile to the NSA and has no administrative experience.
But, despite being beloved by many in the Tea Party, Cruz does have crossover appeal within the GOP. If he wins the primary, he will be able to bring establishment and conservative factions of the party together in large measure.
One of the biggest problems for Cruz and the party (if he were to win the primary) is that the news media and Hollywood have already been very successful in stereotyping Cruz as a religious kook.
Remember, most average voters are not following the inside baseball of the campaign and will not make their minds up until after the primaries are over. These voters are most susceptible to the news and Hollywood propaganda.
CHRIS CHRISTIE – Christy is a Republican Governor in a state that is very liberal and dominated by Democrats (New Jersey). So, you would think he was a liberal Republican like Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. But, he’s not. Christy is pro life, pro-gun (though he has been wishy-washy on guns in the past), is a former Federal Prosecutor who was appointed the day after the 911 attacks, and is the only candidate in the race who prosecuted terrorists. Unlike most candidates, he says what he means and he means what he says.
In the GOP Civil War, Christy is a marked man in the right wing of the party. Most Tea Party members see him as a RINO because he doesn’t tow the line 100% on ideological issues.
He got a bum rap by the news media which purposely misled people to believe he had something to do with a bridge being closed, and he also gets a bad rap for allegedly hugging President Obama when he visited New Jersey to give flood relief money to New Jersey residents displaced by a hurricane.
For the record, there was no hug, but to those who ferociously despise the president, his shaking the president’s hand was all they needed to never want to support him for anything. If Christy is nominated, those voters will stay home.
As a leader, Christy is pragmatic. As a governor, he has shown leadership abilities in working with the Democrat legislature in New Jersey, and shown he has the ability to handle crisis management.
Christy wants to build a border wall, but has mocked Donald Trump for wanting to deport the illegal aliens who are already here. (he’s wrong on that). He also supports the NSA (National Security Administration) and their efforts to use electronic surveillance in the war on terror. (Christy and Trump are the only two who hold this position).
Christy has the ability to defeat the Democrats in the final election if he can unify the party and bring an end (even temporarily) to the hostility within the party. He will have to meet with and take seriously the concerns of the Tea Party, and he will have to find a way to get Trump supporters (who seem to hate Christy) to fully support him and show up for the final election.
MARCO RUBIO – Rubio is a United States Senator from Florida, which is one of the most important states to win in a final presidential election. He is extremely socially conservative, fiscally conservative, and a Washington insider. But, for some reason, Rubio escapes most of the justified Tea Party vitriol heaped onto D.C. Republican insiders. Rubio’s strength is foreign policy where he is unwavering in his commitment to fight terrorism, stopping Iran and fighting radical Islam.
Rubio is soft on illegal immigration, at least if you are a conservative. In the wider spectrum of public opinion, he is far more moderate than he is portrayed to be. He not only won’t deport illegal aliens, but he also favors allowing, “anchor babies and dreamers” (those who were brought here illegally as children through no fault of their own, or were born to illegal aliens), to stay in the country. And while this is something I agree with Rubio on, most GOP voters do not.
His biggest strength is his potential choice for Supreme Court Justice. Because Rubio is a constitutionalist (at least he has been so far) his choice for the Supreme Court will be someone who believes the constitution says what it means and means what it means.
As for unifying the party, Rubio is a Washington insider but he represents the values of the Washington outsiders, and very well could bring the Tea Party and the social conservatives together with the moderate, (so called RINO establishment) Republicans. Rubio’s problem is that he has no executive experience; he is weak on domestic policy, and his chance of defeating the Democrats is questionable.
WRAP UP –In the end, if you are taking a Republican ballot in February (NH) or March (MA), whomever you vote for, remember these few things …
A candidate who holds the same positions as you, may not see your issues as much of a priority as you do. Listen to the candidate debates and see how much time they spend on the issues you care about most. If a candidate mentions your key issue once or twice but elaborates more on other issues, there is a good chance that candidate will not fight as hard as hard as you want them to if they get elected.
Most of all, DO NOT rely on television news for all your information on the presidential race. Twitter and Google are your best resources for finding out the truth about what the candidates are really saying, (without news media editing) what they mean, and what their positions really are. The news media (particularly television) are not objective referees giving you objective information about these candidates. But the information IS out there if you care enough about your country to do a little homework.