Congratulations Republicans! Your candidates are once again ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Six months ago, pundits, media people, and politicians agreed that 2016 would be the year that the GOP could re-capture the White House.
You had many advantages, this time. You had support from an engaged electorate, increasingly disillusioned, after nearly eight years of an unpopular Democrat President. You faced a competitive field composed only of a 74-year-old former hippie, who calls himself a “Democratic Socialist;” a woman–and possible lawbreaker–whose own party members call “unlikeable;” and a vacuous department store dummy from Maryland who has yet to poll higher than five percent.
You boasted a slate of high-profile governors and senators, along with high-achievers from outside of the political power structure. Surely you had all of the ingredients of a successful presidential run.
But then a bellicose narcissist named Trump invited himself to the party and fired insults at anyone challenging him. He maintained voter attention with wide-ranging jingoistic remarks against illegal immigrants, Muslims, and other groups that anger mainstream voters.
Republican candidates lost their composure. They responded to the narcissistic billionaire by turning their attacks on each other. Perhaps they believed the metaphor, “If I feed the crocodile, maybe he’ll eat me last.” They obviously forgot Ronald Reagan’s famous 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”
The National Review, a political magazine that claims to voice the principles of “true conservativism” decided to flex its journalistic muscle by dedicating a cover issue with a gold headline reading “Against Trump.” Perhaps their brain trust believed that the National Review’s gravitas as the ultimate source of conservative intellect could damage Trump’s trajectory to the nomination.
Imagine the dismay of those self-designated political thought-leaders when their ultimate power play had no effect whatsoever. Moreover, they had forever exposed the presumption that voters care about political theories of “pure conservatism” or “pure progressivism.”
Are voters who support Trump conservatives? Some may be. Others may not even be Republicans. A few may be Democrats with liberal positions on other issues. Synthetic labels have little effect on support of Trump or any other candidate.
Republicans, Democrats, and Independents support candidates because of their perceived leadership and integrity. Policy issues are secondary. Party affiliation earns a weak third place rating.
Though few voters—Democrat or Republican—care about the purity of their party’s positioning the official leaders of the two parties continue to roll out policy statements designed to distinguish them from their competitors. To assist the pure conservatives who write the National Review, and the pure liberals who write Mother Jones, we respectfully offer the following political descriptors of their readers:
- Republicans are people who are extraordinarily unskilled at selling policies that few voters understand or embrace.
- Democrats are people who are extraordinarily skilled at selling incredibly stupid policies.
- Republicans are politicians who cover all flaws by shifting any discussion back to their imagined Camelot—the Reagan Years.
- Democrats are politicians who cover all flaws by creating fantasies through clever wordplay.
- Republicans don’t win any arguments unless they reference opaque policy details, waving the flag, praising the military, or invoking religion.
- Democrats win all arguments with snarky name-calling, and character assassination couched in humor.
- Republicans rely on a blizzard of questionable statistics to support their positions.
- Democrats don’t believe in math.
My book “The Victory that Wasn’t” offers a fictional alternate history with a different kind of Military, and better outcomes for all Americans. It’s available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1GUL8oX