I’m hearing Amanda Carpenter and other “Anyone but Trump” GOP know-it-alls insist that Trump alienates voters while Cruz attracts them. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes it’s just one person’s opinion, but a) that person is me – Ha! – and b) consider the following…
I have a handful of conservative-leaning friends who, like most of the electorate, can at best be described as recreationally-engaged in the political process. They’re mad as hell, they vote reliably, but they don’t spend all day following this stuff and at most might catch an hour or two of news per week. Some do like Cruz, but several others — surprisingly to me — simply don’t. Why don’t they like him? It’s hard for them to articulate, but the consistent theme among their reasoning is that his personality just grates on them. And while I love Cruz, I do understand how his personality and delivery could turn some people off.
His delivery, to many, is received as smarmy. I know it’s sincere. You, I’m guessing, know it’s sincere…but to the recreationally-engaged, it can come off as so polished that it’s smug. Lots of pauses and lingering smiles book-ended on one side by the tone of a preacher and on the other by the tone of a shrink. Sounds like a winning combination for politics, but politics are changing…and Donald Trump is why.
All of my recreationally-engaged, conservative-leaning friends like Trump. Actually they love him. He’s the right person for the right job at the right time. What’s more, he’ll attract an enormous swath of Democrat voters. In fact if he and his campaign play it right, then by October 2016 the nation will be so busy talking about “Trump Democrats” — that they won’t even hear the media’s inevitable, incessant swooning for the possibility of our nation’s “First woman President.”
Cruz will attract plenty of GOP voters, but he’ll create enthusiasm among the Democrat base because they uniformly can’t stand him. That word “uniformly” is operative. There isn’t a single Democrat voter out there who won’t be convinced he’s evil incarnate…and there’s not a thing he can say or do about it. The die is cast both in terms of his personality and the opposition’s perception of him. He’s been “the guy who shut down the government” for years, and his style just isn’t the combination of combative and entertaining that Trump’s is. He’s weapons-grade Democrat enthusiasm fuel and even if he did win a general, our nation would be as if not more divided along partisan lines than we are now.
Trump on the other hand will, like Cruz, enrage a lot of hoity-toity types on both the left and the right…but will ultimately get a great GOP turn out and will even peel off substantial portions of otherwise reliable Democrat voters. By acquiring a firm coalition of Democrat voters (Trump Democrats, aka #TrumpDems) — he’ll humiliate Hillary, the DNC and the institutional left/MSM…and thus denigrate enthusiasm among the Democrat base.
Cruz is excellent. He’s the only person in this race who’s actually fought the fight they all promise to, but none do. But if Trump stays the course he’s on he’ll not only win the Presidency…but he’ll do so with a real mandate to effect real change, and it will be the result of truly bipartisan support among the electorate.
Even when we win elections we still lose the national conversation, and thus very little changes in our favor legislatively, socially or culturally. On virtually every issue except the 2nd Amendment, the Democrats have won the national conversation for my entire life. (I’m 38 years old.) Even if the “national mood” shifts our way in polls, thanks to the uniform voice of the institutional left…the perception nationally remains “Democrats are cool. Republicans suck.” Trump’s brash, candid delivery is long overdue, has been exceptionally well-received and will continue to be throughout the general. The media who normally gloat when attacking Republicans, literally have to avert their eyes from the camera when they dare say something negative about Trump. Chris Wallace is among the toughest in the business,. and on Trump’s recent appearance on Fox News Sunday…I watched him make Chris Wallace blush. Blush! Trump is far more savvy and agile than he gets credit for and will tighten up his rhetoric as POTUS, but the threat will always be there: Express intellectual dishonesty from your political or media-based platforms, and Donald Trump — who, like we the people, has had enough — will expose and shame you for it.
Because Ted Cruz truly cares, and because he’s sincere…he should heed this constructive advice. Bow out after tonight’s debate, offer full-throated support for Trump and then be one of the best spokespeople and litigators Trump has on the national stage. And don’t do it while lobbying for a VP slot. Instead, encourage Trump publicly to bring Carly on as the VP. I argued against Carly as the VP in recent months but have since changed my mind and decided she is the best VP pick for a variety of reasons. I’ll write more about that another time, but first things first: Trump and Cruz are the two most powerful individuals in this race, but it’s Trump who can truly effect lasting, substantive change by uniting our nation in ways many of us didn’t believe were so expeditiously possible. I wish Cruz could do that because he’s sacrificed a great deal on behalf of our movement, but he’s simply not the guy.
Don’t shoot the messenger.