The Power of the Press

Trump TriadHow Fox News Has Propelled Donald Trump to the Nomination

I don’t think anyone expected Donald Trump to enjoy the phenomenal success he has since announcing his candidacy for the presidency. Did he have the name recognition? Yes. Was he successful? Yes. Did he have the financial backing? Yes. (His own, mostly) Was he politically savvy? No. Not even a little bit. And, this was not Donald Trump’s first rodeo. Since the late 1980’s, Trump has publicly mulled the idea of a presidential bid in multiple election cycles, and even entered the race as a Reform Party candidate in 2000, dropping out in February of that year.

Also, Donald Trump’s penchant for provocative statements is not exactly a useful trait for someone running for political office. Oddly enough it ultimately worked to his benefit, as voters found his outspokenness and political “incorrectness” a nice change in our current climate. With all this in mind though, he was not seen as a serious contender. Adding to the equation the fact that he was up against sixteen talented candidates, his chances seemed slim to none.

That was last summer. Today, things look much different. That promising field of seventeen has dwindled to three, with Donald Trump leading the pack. Of course, to secure the prize, he has to reach a threshold of 1237 delegates before the Republican National Convention in July. With his current delegate count of 845, he’s still short of the mark. If he does not reach the magic number of 1237, the GOP will find itself in a contested convention where the nominee will be chosen by the delegates. There are all kinds of rules binding delegates to certain candidates through the first or second ballot, but usually by the third ballot all delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choosing. Contested conventions are a rare occurrence in the history of the GOP, and undesirable because of the likelihood of a fractured party and “bloodied” candidate.

In 1976, President Ford entered the Republican convention short of the requisite number, and found himself in a competition with Ronald Reagan. Of course, President Ford secured the needed votes on the first ballot, and the suspense was over. The last time a convention advanced beyond the first ballot vote was in 1952, when the Democratic convention selected Adlai Stevenson.

So what has propelled Donald Trump to his current spot at the top of the leader board? In a word, media. In my humble opinion, Fox News is the main culprit. Since his entrance into the primary, Donald Trump has received nearly $2 billion dollars in free media coverage, with nearly $30 million coming from Fox News Channel. I call them the main culprit, because as a well-known and highly popular conservative news organization they carry a lot of weight with those of us who identify ourselves as Republican, and especially, Conservative. I’m a regular viewer of Fox News, or was anyway.

By legitimizing Trump’s candidacy with their unprecedented coverage and their obvious support for him, they have given him the green light among voters. If FNC, the conservative media giant, is for him who should be against him?

The enamor of Trump, other than how it translates to ratings, escapes me. The anchors and commentators at Fox are very knowledgeable politically. There is simply no way they can sincerely believe that he possesses the skill set to lead our country. The man cannot even complete a sentence. His performance in debates, other than his one-liners and insults, is abysmal. Of course, they most often spin it as a win for him, but anyone who has watched him attempt to answer policy questions is well aware that he is in over his head.

As an example, in the CNN debate in December, he was questioned on the nuclear triad. It was clear that he was unfamiliar with the term, and his answer was nonsensical. I’m not trying to slam the man; politics is a complex business and it is not something you can expect to learn in a few months. I don’t see Donald Trump as the type of person who wants to crack the books and start schooling himself in history and geopolitics. That’s just not his thing. He would much rather be on Twitter or calling into a news show with some incendiary remark. However, the presidency should not be an entry level position.

While Fox News might find Trump’s effectively turning the GOP upside down refreshing, I find it downright scary. Just this past week, he announced that he wants to change the GOP platform on abortion, allowing exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother. This is no small matter. We’re talking about a basic tenet of the Republican Party, and Fox News has been mute on the subject. The abortion issue is complex, and I will not get into it here, but anyone who deludes himself into thinking Donald Trump is a Conservative is going to pay a high price in November. He is not now, nor has he ever been conservative. Fox News portrayal of him as such is disingenuous, to say the least. I must add there are a few at FNC who refuse to jump on the “Trump train”. Stephen Hayes, Charles Krauthammer, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Greg Gutfeld have resisted the urge to fawn over Donald Trump.

Every poll from the beginning of the primary season has shown Hillary Clinton will crush Trump in a general election, so any of the other sixteen candidates would have been preferable as a nominee. A contested convention may be our only hope for selecting an electable candidate. Of course, Trump has continued to fire up his supporters with how the GOP is attempting to steal the nomination from him, insuring rioting at the convention if he doesn’t win. He seems incapable of understanding that going into the convention short of 1237 delegates means he didn’t win. His accusations of delegates being “unfairly” awarded in individual primaries discount the fact that each state has its own rules.

Personally, I hope he does as he threatened early on and leaves the GOP to run as an Independent. With Trump, it’s a lose/lose anyway, and I would rather lose with a credible candidate who reflects the brand of the GOP, than see our party trampled by the likes of Donald Trump. No one man is worth the destruction of the Republican Party.

Fox News is complicit in Donald Trump’s success. They have elevated him over the other candidates, promoted his platform, and given him a pass on hard policy questions. (Again, I am not referencing all the commentators at Fox News). Their selective representation of his policies, failure to hold his feet to the fire on releasing tax returns and total dismissal of his past liberal views, should weigh heavy on them in November.

The Deportation Myth

The Trump and Cruz Plans

The donald     Most Americans are anxious about our fluid borders and the number of illegal immigrants currently residing in our country. Next to the economy, the immigration issue ranks highest among voters. With approximately 11 million illegals, some of whom engage in criminal activity, it is a valid concern.Ted Cruz

Over the course of this primary season, we have heard all the candidates state their position on immigration reform, and though they differ in their approach, they all agree that we must first secure the border before any real improvement will occur.

The current frontrunner, Donald Trump, has grown his popularity with voters largely because he is so outspoken on this issue. He has called for a “ban on all Muslims” entering the United States, as well as promised to deport all 11 million persons here illegally. In his words, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” His harsh rhetoric scores points with voters who like his tough stance.

Senator Ted Cruz has also portrayed himself as being very hard-lined on the issue. He stopped short of Trump’s “mass deportation”, until this past Monday. In what some believe is an effort to gain the support of Trump voters, Ted Cruz now states that as president, he will also actively hunt down and deport the undocumented, but unlike Trump, he will not allow the “good ones” to reenter the United States legally. They will be permanently ineligible for citizenship.

Appearing on the O’Reilly Factor Tuesday evening, Cruz said he would have ICE agents systematically arrest and deport ANYONE that is here illegally. When Bill O’Reilly gave him a hypothetical scenario of an Irishman illegally residing in New York for decades, but working and law-abiding, and asked if Cruz would deport him as well, Cruz answered affirmatively. There will be no exceptions.

Now, I personally believe that we must seal our border to prevent further immigration issues, not to mention the risk of terrorist infiltration, but I do think there is a more humane approach to those already here, who have no criminal record. For the sake of argument, is a so-called mass deportation even plausible? Aside from the obvious emotional toll of breaking up families, perhaps leaving children with only one parent, is it even legal? As appealing as it may be to some voters, if is not possible to enforce, then it is just another political maneuver designed to attract votes.

According to guests on last night’s O’Reilly Factor, John Yoo, formerly of the DOJ under President George W. Bush, and Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law attorney, everyone here in this country is entitled to due process. It does not matter if they are here illegally. If they are on American soil, they are entitled to make their case before a Judge. ICE agents can legally apprehend them, but they cannot immediately deport them. They must first take them to a detention facility until they can appear before a Judge. There are exceptions for those apprehended at the border and denied entry, and for those who choose to leave voluntarily.

Currently, we have 242 immigration Judges in the United States, and hundreds of thousands of cases pending. There is a backlog of one and half years to three years, depending on the state. Judge Dana Leigh Marks, of San Francisco, said, “I have over 2,400 pending cases…my first date on the docket is three and a half years from now.”

The time and costs involved in deportation cases is significant, including the cost of transportation by air for those here from countries other than Mexico. A more efficient system, with a substantial increase in the number of immigration judges would improve the timeline, but no matter what, this issue is a logistical nightmare. The idea that under a Trump or Cruz presidency, we will witness an exodus of millions of illegals as they disappear over the horizon is mythical.

For Trump and Cruz, it makes for good copy, and it certainly garners votes. It is a contentious issue, and Americans impatiently await a resolution. When a candidate promises to round these people up and ship them out, it sounds like a welcome and swift solution. However, we all know that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and the reality is there is not an easy answer. If this happens to be your “go to” issue when selecting a candidate to support for the Republican nomination, you might want to educate yourself on the probability of them following through on their campaign promise.




“Immigration Controversy”, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC.24Feb2016.Television

Kelly, Erin. “Immigration Judges Call for Reform.” USA Today, 27 Aug. 2014. Web.


The GOP Field After South Carolina

 Still a Three-Man Race

Trump Cruz and Rubio

After New Hampshire, and Kasich’s second place finish, the media did its best to convince us that we were witnessing a shake-up in the whole GOP race. Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, in that order, rounded out the top five in that primary. Having Bush finish over Rubio had the pundits debating whether Senator Rubio actually had a path to the nomination. Of course, for quite some time the polls had Trump winning and Kasich with a strong showing because that is where he spent most of his time and funding, but they like to spin!

Apparently, Senator Rubio’s stumble in one interaction with Chris Christie was enough to drag his numbers down, and move Bush up. However, despite the media predictions, neither Kasich nor Bush had a clear path beyond New Hampshire. The media frenzy notwithstanding, I opined it was a three-man race.

After ten days, endless hours of pondering by the pundits, and millions of dollars in advertising, guess what? It is still a three-man race. Trump came in first in South Carolina, with 32.5%, followed by Rubio with 22.5%, and Cruz with 22.3%. Jeb Bush came in fourth, at 7.8%, Kasich fifth with 7.6% and Carson with 7.2%. Bush had the wisdom and grace to suspend his campaign last night, going out with an emotive speech. Kasich and Carson are vowing to stay in and continue fighting the not so good fight. They are not doing themselves or the GOP any favors by doing so. The numbers speak loudly though, Kasich and Carson are on borrowed time.

During Trump’s victory speech last night, he condemned news organizations for saying that as the field continues to winnow, the orphaned supporters will not go to Trump. He thinks otherwise. We need to remember that Trump has never had more than thirty-five percent of support among GOP voters, which means that 65 percent of them do not like him. That is a significant number.

Although he is presently leading in the delegate count, he still has only four percent of the total delegates he will need to secure the nomination. Despite what you hear from the media, this race is far from over, and Trump is not our de facto nominee. Let’s break it down, using the South Carolina numbers.

Jeb Bush supporters will NEVER support Trump. They will most likely go to Marco Rubio, because Ted Cruz is too extreme for them. Add Bush’s 7.8% to Rubio’s 22.5%, and now Rubio is at 30.3%. It is just a matter of time before Kasich and Carson go the way of Jeb Bush, and if they want to help the party, they will do it sooner. Right now, they are just propelling Trump towards the nomination. Kasich supporters could possibly split between Trump and Rubio. Again, they will probably find Cruz too extreme. Add half of Kasich’s 7.6% to Donald Trump, which brings him to 36.2%, and half to Marco Rubio, which brings him to 34.1%.

The Carson folks will not go to Trump. Cruz has disenchanted them with his Iowa campaign shenanigans, so I think they will most likely get behind Rubio, especially if Ben Carson endorses Rubio. That now puts Rubio at 41.3%. As the field narrows further, it will have a deleterious effect on Donald Trump. Even if Cruz inherits some of Carson’s supporters, Trump’s numbers will still go down. Keep in mind that the next primaries are not “winner take all”. Their delegates will be divided proportionally.

Ted Cruz had the edge in South Carolina. He did not win one county in the state. With a large population of evangelical voters, (72%) they were supposed to be heavy in the Cruz camp, but Trump won 33% of their vote to Ted Cruz’s 27%, and Marco Rubio’s 22%. At this point in the primary, Ted Cruz is the candidate on the shakiest ground. His path forward really depends on the evangelical vote, and he is not getting a plurality.

Rubio had a second place finish, and despite the narrow margin over Cruz, Marco Rubio had some great exit poll numbers. He scored highest with voters in three categories: those who are split over whether they want a candidate with experience, those who back some sort of a legal pathway to citizenship, and those that identify themselves as “late deciders” in their choice of candidate. Most importantly, Rubio still polls as the candidate most likely to defeat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.

With Jeb Bush out of the race, look for Marco Rubio to pick up steam going into the next primary in Nevada. Also, look for former Bush supporters, like Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, to throw their endorsement to Senator Rubio. Lastly, as we have fewer candidates on the debate stage, Trump’s deficiencies as a candidate will become more apparent. “We’re going to build a beautiful wall”, will only get you so far. Now, if we can just get Ted Cruz out….

Game Over!


Chris Christie Is Out…

If Chris Christie thought he was helping his campaign as he attacked Marco Rubio during last Saturday night’s debate, he was mistaken. Christie invested a lot of time and money in New Hampshire, but after tonight’s primary results, it was all for naught. Finishing in sixth place, with 8% of the vote, the Christie campaign announced that he has suspended his presidential run. In their words, “He is returning to New Jersey to take a deep breath”.

Donald Trump was the big winner tonight for the GOP, taking 35% of the vote, with John Kasich at 16%, and Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio all at 11%. A sixth place finish disqualified Christie from participating in the next GOP debate scheduled for February 13, in Greenville, South Carolina. Only the candidates who placed in the top three in Iowa, and those finishing in the top five in New Hampshire will be included. That means that Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich will be taking the stage.

Donald Trump has maintained a lead in New Hampshire, so everyone expected him to win, though not by the landslide number he received. John Kasich has spent the majority of his time in New Hampshire, as well as his campaign funds, so he was also expected to do well. Marco Rubio, who had an exceptional debate before the Iowa Caucus last week, and who outperformed his poll numbers there, went into New Hampshire with his numbers rising. His trajectory had many of the pundits expecting him to take second place. After the debate on Saturday night, and Christie’s attacks, the polls began to change. Although Senator Rubio regained his footing in the debate with Christie, and did very well in the latter part of the debate, the media hammered him over the last three days. Those who did not see the debate had only to open their newspapers or flip on their television to see how “badly” Rubio performed. The media has amazing power to shape voter opinion.

Obviously, I am not upset to see Christie out of the race, and this is not just because of his attacks on Rubio. I have never recovered from his speech at the Republican Convention in 2012, which had little to do with helping Mitt Romney, and a lot to do with helping Chris Christie. Worse still, I think his hug fest with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy, combined with the gushing words of praise for him, hurt Romney in the election. He’s just not someone I admire.

It was a disappointing night for the Rubio campaign, but he can resurrect his momentum with a powerful performance in both the South Carolina debate and primary. Rubio needs to pull ahead of Bush in that primary, but the word is already out that the Bush campaign is planning a “scorched earth” attack on Rubio going into the race. Jeb definitely has the money behind him, so it will be another hard fought contest to watch. Trump and Cruz poll well in South Carolina, but I do not expect that Kasich will have a strong showing.

The pundits are really spinning New Hampshire as shaking up the whole field, but I still see this as essentially a three-man race. Kasich will not be in much longer, because he does not have the infrastructure in the other states, or the funding to launch a strong ground campaign. If Jeb Bush does not do well in South Carolina, he may be out as well. He has the financial backing to go the distance, but I am hoping that he will consider the welfare of the GOP and suspend his campaign. At this point, his continued presence in the race benefits Trump.

That leaves Trump, Cruz and Rubio. All three have the funds and the organization to stay in the race and duke it out for the nomination. Marco Rubio is the ONLY candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton. All the polls have been consistent on that score. Most of the pundits agree. Bill O’Reilly even announced it on his show last night. The goal for the Republicans is to retake the White House in November. The voters need to get serious, look ahead, and coalesce behind the candidate who can win.


That Awkward Moment

When you realize you voted for the wrong candidate


At the Republican National Convention in 1976, Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford, the incumbent President, for the nomination. That was relatively unheard of for someone within the party to challenge a sitting president. However, times being what they were, with Ford assuming the presidency after Richard Nixon’s resignation, Reagan went for it.

It was not to be, though. Reagan received 1,070 to Ford’s 1,187. Reagan conceded, but agreed to appear onstage with Ford as a sign of Party unity. After President Ford’s acceptance speech, Reagan joined him and the two men clasped hands. Ford asked Reagan to say a few words, and without notes, Reagan delivered a brief, but inspiring speech that brought an ovation louder than Ford received. It also left many of the delegates thinking and saying to each other, “we just voted for the wrong man”.

That’s kind of like what we saw last night after the Iowa caucus. Rubio went first, which garnered him prime air time, and exuberantly took the stage, thrilled with his third place finish, and delivered a fifteen minute “off the cuff” speech that the pundits are still talking about today. It was Reaganesque! RubioThe result is that Rubio has been in the news more today and trending more on Twitter, than either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, who finished first and second, respectively. They’re not very happy about it either. Both of them took shots today at the media focus on Rubio, and attributed it to that old faithful argument that he is the “establishment” favorite. A truer statement would be that Rubio outperformed everyone’s expectations, and we are seeing the “Marcomentum”, as they say on Twitter.

Trump gave a lackluster four-minute speech last night, with his most notable comment being he liked Iowa so much he might just buy a farm there. Cruz hugged his way across the stage, and gave a disjointed thirty-minute plus oration, or as one source called it, a “marathon speech that monopolized an infomercial –length block of time”, that Fox News finally broke away from to air remarks from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Maybe some of the Iowa caucus voters can relate to those delegates in 1976?



Fox Business GOP Debate Recap

RubioRubio Continues to Impress!

Last night, we saw the candidates in their fourth GOP debate of the 2016 election cycle. Sponsored by Fox Business and moderated by Neil Cavuto, Gerard Baker and Maria Bartiroma, the debate focused on the economy, and was more substantive than any of the previous debates. The candidates fielded questions on job creation, tax plans, immigration, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a fair amount of foreign policy. This was the best debate so far, and the moderators asked excellent questions, but they definitely need to come up with a better way of monitoring the time situation…their bell just wasn’t getting the job done.

Going into the debate, the frontrunners were Donald Trump and Ben Carson, followed by Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, John Kasich all continue to hover around 2 percent in the polls. Overall, the climate was civil, with a little back and forth between Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, and Donald Trump and John Kasich. Donald Trump only threw one real insult, which he directed at his favorite target, Carly Fiorina. He complained to the moderators that she kept interrupting, although in reality, John Kasich was the real culprit there.

So, now to the important stuff…how did they perform? Here are my thoughts:

Trump was just mediocre. He did not have as much opportunity to speak as he normally does, and his lack of knowledge on foreign policy was painfully obvious. This is not surprising, and as the debates become more substantive, his weaknesses will become more noticeable. As a candidate, he lacks depth, so when the discussions become more complex, he tends to quiet down and hang back. His comfort zone is business, and he did make some good points, but I think he is naïve on immigration. I am very much in favor of securing the border, but the idea that we can just automatically deport 11 million people is unrealistic. I do think he has been good for the GOP, because he does shake things up and he is not afraid to go on the attack. I don’t think he hurt his numbers tonight, and his faithful followers will probably stay with him, but I don’t expect that this debate will give him a bump in his poll numbers.

Dr. Ben Carson, like Trump, was just okay. His most effective moment was when he deflected the criticism from the mainstream media over his West Point “scholarship”. He compared his vetting process, and the hard line taken against him, with the fact that Hillary Clinton gets a pass for lying about the events in Benghazi. That brought his best applause of the night, and he made a good point. For the most part, he seemed somewhat disconnected, and his response on the banking situation and on the Special Forces in Syria, didn’t make a lot of sense. As with Trump, I don’t think he hurt himself last night, but I don’t think he had a particularly strong showing.

John Kasich was just painful to watch! He was obnoxious with his constant interruptions, and his long-winded monologues. For a while, it seemed like the Kasich/Cruz hour, as they both dominated much of the latter part of the debate. When Kasich defended the idea of a banking bailout, he got boos from the audience, and according to Frank Luntz of Fox News, he received the lowest score ever recorded with Luntz’s focus group. He was too aggressive and argumentative, and I think his poll numbers will pay the price. I will be shocked if he isn’t relegated to the kiddie table in the next debate.

I’m sorry, I am sure he’s a very nice man, but Ted Cruz just really irritates me. His answers are endless; the man just loves to talk. Most of the pundits are saying he had a great night, and he definitely had more than his share of airtime. He has an extensive background in debate, so it’s not unusual for him to perform well. He had a few good applause lines, but he also had a Rick Perry moment when he was enumerating the five federal agencies he wants to eliminate in conjunction with his tax plan, and he could only name four of them. I think he probably won over some voters last night, and he will probably see a slight bump in his poll numbers, but I still don’t think he’ll overtake Rubio.

Carly Fiorina had a good night. She was more involved in the discussion than Trump or Carson, and she definitely knows her facts. She is extremely well spoken and knowledgeable, and she is comfortable debating both economics and foreign policy, which is especially impressive since she is an “outsider”. I don’t think her poll numbers will change a lot, and I don’t think she has enough personal appeal to win the nomination. She’s almost robotic, and like Cruz and Kasich, she is too long-winded. I do, however, think she would make a good vice-president.

Rand Paul just needs to throw in the towel. I still don’t see how he managed to be on the big stage last night, when Christie was demoted to the bottom tier. He went after Marco Rubio, who is his main competition right now, but I think it backfired on him. He likes to throw barbs at the other candidates, and I think it just makes him look petty. His poll numbers aren’t going to improve, so he’s on borrowed time.

Jeb Bush needed to have a great night, but he didn’t manage to pull it off. He was better than he was in the last debate, which really isn’t saying a whole lot. I just don’t think he’s comfortable in a debate setting. He seems to come across better in interviews or on the campaign trail. Debate performance really shouldn’t be the deciding factor when selecting a President; after all, Obama debated well, and you know the rest of that story. However, Jeb just seems to get a little confused at times, and he just looks awkward. I don’t think he helped himself last night, so his numbers will probably stay about the same.

Last, but certainly not least, Marco Rubio. In my humble opinion, he was the winner last night! He wasn’t quite as good as he was in the last debate, but I still think he came across very well. His answers are concise, and he has a way of discussing complex issues in a way that most anyone can understand. He made some great points about the importance of the family, and about education, and I thought he was particularly strong on foreign policy. He knows that we have to have a strong military, and he made Rand Paul look foolish for attacking him over military expenditures. I kept waiting for Marco to invoke President Reagan, because Reagan was both conservative and pro-defense spending, and that would have really shut Rand Paul down. I noticed on Twitter last night that as the debate was ending, one of the top political backers in the country tweeted to Rubio’s campaign, “I’m in”. I think we can expect to see Rubio move ahead in the polls. Go Marco!!

Jeb is Getting Desperate

Jeb Bush

I think Jeb Bush is probably a very good man, he’s just not a very good presidential candidate. His campaign is absolutely floundering, and it will take more than his new slogan, “Jeb can fix it”, to fix it.

I’m really kind of surprised that he has not performed better in the 2016 race. Although I didn’t know a lot about him prior to his candidacy, and I was “iffy” as to whether his last name would prove a blessing or a curse, I still thought that with his background, he would prove to be a formidable candidate. He has not.

He just doesn’t have it. He lacks confidence, he lacks conviction, and I don’t think he has a strong enough message to make a case for why he’s our best chance to win in 2016. He seems uncomfortable and ill at ease during the debates, so Hillary would wipe the floor with him.

I believe that most Americans respect and admire the Bush family, but I think that two Bush presidency’s is enough for most. Jeb is fighting the ghost of his brother’s eight years in office, and while I don’t think it’s fair to judge him based on his brother’s policies, that’s just the nature of the beast.

I personally like George W. Bush, and I think he was a good president. He had a tremendous amount to deal with during his two terms, more than most other presidents, and I think he genuinely tried to do his best for the country. I know I felt much safer when he was in office. He was sincere and authentic, and he inspired my confidence. Jeb does not.

His dismal performance at last week’s debate, and his desperate attempt to undermine Marco Rubio was another nail in the coffin of his bid for the White House. I don’t think the Bush family will be setting any records for the most family members to serve as POTUS, and I really think that at this point, Jeb is just wasting his time and other people’s money.

I don’t think he’ll give up easily though; he doesn’t want to give Donald Trump the satisfaction of forcing him out. He’ll stay in until someone he esteems convinces him to stop the bleeding, or until his supporters tighten their purse strings. Sorry Jeb….it’s just not happening for ya!

The GOP Candidates: Sizing Up The Competition

four candidates


Republican presidential candidates, from left, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pose for a group picture during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Republican presidential candidates, from left, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pose for a group picture during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

With fifteen candidates battling for the coveted prize of Republican Presidential nominee, and the next debate scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, I thought it might be a good time to compare and contrast our GOP lineup.

The polls fluctuate from day to day, but six candidates consistently stay in the top tier. They are, in no particular order, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz. That leaves nine who seem to stay at the bottom of the pack. Again, in no particular order, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rand Paul, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Jim Gilmore and Mike Huckabee. I look for several of these last candidates to start backing out of the race over the next few weeks. Since it is doubtful at this time that any of these last nine will overtake the top six, I will limit my analysis to the top tier of candidates.

Trump has been the front-runner, but Ben Carson is closing in on him, and even pulling ahead of him, depending on the poll. Third place seems to fluctuate between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, with Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz trading places day to day. Of these six candidates, three of them are political outsiders, Trump, Carson and Fiorina, which seems to be a large part of their appeal.

Donald Trump: on the upside, he is larger than life, with a strong personality. His campaign is self-financed, which keeps him from having to please any special interest groups. He shakes things up because he speaks his mind, saying what most everyone else is thinking, but would probably never have the nerve to vocalize. He has been a public figure for many years, so he has great name recognition. On the downside, he does not have a lot of depth as a candidate; his political rhetoric is not substantive. He is not well versed in foreign policy, which is and will continue to be of major importance in our country. His political and moral views have fluctuated over the years, and he remains controversial. He alienated the Hispanic population with his derogatory comments about the character of Mexican illegals, and with his immigration policy. He has personally attacked most of the other GOP candidates repeatedly, including a scathing remark about Carly Fiorina’s physical appearance. His performance in the debates has been mediocre, although that has obviously not cost him politically. Overall, I would say that as the field narrows, his lack of political knowledge will become more apparent, and that could cost him among serious voters. I think Hillary Clinton would destroy him in a debate.

Dr. Ben Carson: on the upside, he is a highly intelligent and renowned neurosurgeon. He is a self-made man, who grew up in poverty, but who managed to beat the statistics and become hugely successful. He is a deeply spiritual and devoted family man, who speaks about traditional values with a common sense delivery which appeals to the conservative base. He gained public attention at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, where he openly criticized the direction of the country in front of a noticeably uncomfortable President Obama. Carson, like Trump, speaks his mind, and he does not back down with the media. Unlike Trump, he does it in a soft-spoken and non-confrontational way. On the downside, he also lacks knowledge on foreign policy. He has performed decently well in the debates, but his low-key manner is not what we normally see in a presidential candidate. Some voters might think he could be easily trounced by political heavyweights. I think Dr. Carson has the intelligence to problem solve, and to surround himself with the right people to make up for any deficit he has in political knowledge.

Carly Fiorina: on the upside, she is a successful former Hewlett Packard executive who has considerable experience in international business, as well as personal connections with many of the foreign leaders in both the public and private sector. She is the only female candidate in the GOP, and that negates Hillary Clinton’s edge with those that would like to see the first female President. She has performed very well in the debates, managing to move out of the lower tier of candidates after the first Republican debate. She is articulate, exudes self-confidence, and she can hold her own against Donald Trump and her other male competitors. On the downside, she comes across aloof, and she has not managed to connect with voters on a personal level. However, she would be a formidable opponent in a debate with Hillary Clinton.

Marco Rubio: on the upside, he is a product of the American dream, the son of Cuban immigrants, which makes him appealing to Hispanics. His modest upbringing gives him the ability to relate to the lower and middle class voters more easily than say, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush or Carly Fiorina. He is a young family man with traditional values, and he comes across as very authentic, with a genuine concern for the welfare of the United States at home and abroad. He is a first term US Senator, but prior to that, he served in the House of Representatives in Florida for eight years, the last two of them as Speaker of the House. He is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he speaks knowledgeably on foreign policy. On the downside, it is questionable as to whether he can raise the money he will need to stay in the race, and he is still relatively unknown to a large percentage of voters.

Jeb Bush: on the upside, he is a former Governor of Florida and a member of the “first family of Republican politics”, but his last name is both a blessing and a curse. He is an establishment politician, although probably more moderate in his views than his brother or father. He has tremendous financial backing, and a well-seasoned campaign staff. On the downside, he has underperformed in the polls and in the debates. He lacks passion in his message, and his personality and demeanor may be too lackluster to attract much of a following. His weak debate skills may continue to erode his chances.

Ted Cruz: on the upside, he is as conservative as they come, and arguably, the tea party favorite, but I am not a fan. Like Rubio, he is a first term US Senator, but he has the least political experience among the three insider candidates, which is not necessarily a bad thing. He is passionate about his positions, and he has garnered exposure for his incendiary remarks about President Obama and about fellow Republicans. On the downside, when I listen to him orate, I feel like I am at a tent revival. To me, he comes across as contrived and pompous. He doesn’t have a lot of name recognition, and it’s doubtful that he can raise the funds he’ll need to stay in the running.

Personally, if I had to vote today, I would vote for Ben Carson, with Marco Rubio running a close second. We need integrity and authenticity in our president, and both of these men have it in spades. I think a Carson/Rubio ticket would be a winner, with Rubio giving Carson the foreign policy background, and Carson providing the anti-establishment appeal. According to a Quinnipiac Poll, one of the swing states in the 2016 Presidential election will be Florida. If Rubio does not manage to make it into the top spot, he will be a smart choice for the number two slot. He can definitely deliver Florida to the GOP.

Time To Narrow The Field

I was surprised to see Governor Scott Walker exit the 2016 Presidential race as quickly as he did. I would have sooner expected Senator Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Governor Bobby Jindal, or Jim Gilmore to step down first. At least Scott Walker was among the top ten candidates in the last two Republican debates.  I think we are at a point now where we need to winnow a few more. How about Graham, Pataki, Jindal, Gilmore, Paul, and Kasich? As much as I personally like Rick Santorum, he probably needs to bow out as well. Paul and Kasich have stayed in the top ten so far, but I think they are most likely at the bottom of the pack. We need to start weeding out some candidates so we can get a better read on how the remaining are really polling among voters. The debates will be more substantive if we can get a more manageable number, and each candidate will have more air time to make their case.

Why Romney Should Run in 2016

Romney Can WiMitt Romneyn In 2016


          Donald Trump and Ben Carson are currently the top two candidates in the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary, with Carly Fiorina holding in third.  With political outsiders in the lead, voters are saying they are tired of establishment politicians.

          Although these candidates are highly intelligent and successful individuals, their common appeal may be their political undoing. We are living in a dangerous world, and ultimately, we will need a leader who can handle himself or herself on the world stage. None of these three has experience in government protocol, legislating, or foreign relations.

Enter Mitt Romney. Although Romney has not declared himself a candidate in the 2016 Presidential race, he still has time. History has a strange way of repeating itself. In 1960, Richard Nixon lost his bid for the Presidency to John F. Kennedy, but came back in 1968 to win against Hubert Humphrey. In 1976, Ronald Reagan lost out in the primary against Gerald Ford, but came back in 1980 and beat incumbent Jimmy Carter. It can happen.

Romney is a devoted family man with a proven business background, and he is a polished and charismatic Statesman. He embodies the best qualities of Trump and Carson. While he does have a political background, he is not a Washington insider, or a career politician.

Mitt Romney is a thoroughly vetted candidate and this places him in a unique position. While the current candidates exchange insults and claw their way to the top of the pack, Romney can afford to sit out this portion of the process. Like Nixon before him, he can wait and announce his candidacy just before the New Hampshire primary, and rescue the Republican Party in the process.