The upcoming 2016 Presidential Election Cycle appears to be in full swing even earlier than normal. Polling has begun, we are already seeing stories about who can and can’t win. One side is yelling about how some folks aren’t true conservatives, the other side seems concerned that the person whose turn it is might not get their chance. One side needs to realize that repeating the same word over and over just gets annoying and the other needs to understand that this isn’t the playground, it is the Presidency of the United States, there are no turns here.
Both sides have a wild card, and reason for concern, which is fantastic in my opinion.
Before we get to those wild cards I need to make a point. Politicians concerned about someone else in the race need to keep that thought to themselves. The American people who have chosen to identify as Republicans or Democrats get to decide who their candidate will be. That is how it works. A few people inside the beltway do not get to make that choice for all registered voters.
So, let’s start on the right side of the political spectrum. I hear some yelling and screaming about Donald Trump. “He isn’t a true conservative,” is usually where the yelling starts. “Trump is only looking out for Trump,” comes in there sooner or later. I think with all the lost business Trump is experiencing as a result of his decision to run this isn’t about Trump looking out for Trump. He isn’t trying to increase his name recognition, he is already one of the most recognized names in the country. I think he feels he is doing the right thing. That being said there are a host of policy areas he and I would argue about, but that’s what makes America great, we are encouraged to have that argument.
The interesting thing about Trump, and this is why he is polling well, isn’t his name, it isn’t his wealth, it isn’t even his former television show. The interesting thing is that, for better or worse, the man will give you no doubt as to where he stands today. He may change his position from time to time but his current state of thinking will become known. He will never answer a yes or no question with anything other than a yes or no, and he always answers the question that was asked, without pivoting to something else. That kind of behavior resonates with non-political junkies. The true junkies will dig into policy areas to try to figure out what someone meant by a speech but Trump, you don’t have to do that. I also wish he would spend less time telling us how strong his business is. I don’t care, nor does anyone else.
The remainder of the Republican field is another story. When they talk you get poll tested, politically correct, professionally speech written language designed not to make anyone mad. Trump doesn’t care if you disagree with him, the rest of the field does. Therefore they use some language prepared to soften the blow about where it is they actually stand. That is typically how the game is played, but Trump isn’t typical. Love him or hate him, he is who he is. If he excites people with his positions, he’ll do well, inside the beltway people can moan and groan, but they don’t get to decide who the President is. It is we the people who get to decide that.
On the left side of the political spectrum we have Bernie Sanders. What is going on here is that I see all these stories about how Hillary Clinton and her campaign are concerned about him and his campaign. Then I see some stories written by folks on the right about how he is a socialist. Well, yeah, his positions are socialist, essentially. But, at least we know what his positions are. He, like Trump, speaks his mind which is, as I said above, something voters respect.
I see these stories about former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton not talking to the press and how the press has decided “she’s the one,” because they won’t ask her a tough question.
Well a couple of things.
Yes, I agree Secretary, Senator, First Lady Clinton should come out and let us know where the heck she stands on certain positions today, as it seems to be a sliding target. The trouble is with her I’m not sure anyone would believe what she says at this point. I think that is one of the two reasons the media would prefer to ask her about her favorite flavor of ice cream. They are more likely to get the truth and they know it.
The other possibility is that Hillary hasn’t been quiet for 30 years. As a result we know the answer we will get on virtually any subject known to mankind. That answer is simple. It is whatever will get the most donations, or what 51% or more of likely voters think. The Clintons are easy to figure out, and you know what you get, so why ask her to talk about much?
With that rant over I want to say I will be watching closely what this campaign season brings us. My sincere hope is that all candidates on both sides realize that the reason Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are polling so well is that we have no doubt where THEY stand. Stand on your positions but be sure they are yours, not your largest donors. Be true to yourself and the voters will at least respect you. We may not agree, but you will be respected. That respect is what could very well be what drives someone across the finish line as the victor.