NEW CASTLE, Pa., Feb. 22, 2016 — Super Tuesday primaries could finally offer the American people much needed clarity as the 2016 presidential election shifts into high gear. Thus far, the extended primary season has consumed media coverage of politics. As the Republican and Democratic frontrunners focus their attention outward from internal party politics to general election politics, the attention given to the 2016 election will only intensify.
With so much said and so many surprises over the past few months, it is hard to believe there is anything new for the voters to learn.
Regrettably, the sheer number of Republican candidates has prevented voters from really getting to know political outsider and frontrunner Donald Trump. For all candidates, the massive number of names and faces has prevented voters from focusing their attention on the actual policies of the candidates.
As demonstrated by the Charles Kochs op-ed on Bernie Sanders, two political figures can agree on the same public policy, yet embrace very different prescriptions. Instead of scrutinizing public policy and forcing each other to improve upon their stances with critical details, candidates have been too busy fighting for the opportunity to simply state what side of the issues they fall on. This means a GOP candidate could be at a major disadvantage against the Democratic candidate in the general election.
Should the GOP fail to elect Donald Trump to be their definitive Republican candidate, the ongoing struggle, including a potential independent run for Trump, will ensure a Democratic victory in the fall. Should the Super Tuesday primaries appoint him as the definitive Republican candidate, billionaire Donald Trump will have to appeal to the masses.
If popular vote does not yield Hillary Clinton as the definitive Democratic candidate, so-called Super Delegates most likely will guarantee her victory over socialist Bernie Sanders.
Where Hillary is embroiled in a mountain of controversies thanks to her tenure in the Obama administration and time as First Lady of the Clinton administration, she does enjoy diehard supporters who will show up to vote for her without question while she has a strong, well-developed voter base in general.
On the other hand, Donald Trump has enthusiastic voters who will vote for the Washington outsider without hesitation, even though he lacks the support of the political establishment. For Republicans and Democrats alike, Hillary Clinton is the reliable insider candidate; whereas, Mr. Trump says and does as he sees fit while he reserves the right to change his mind in the face of a strong argument.
Although he is predisposed by the prejudices of his affluent background, the Donald cannot be bought.
For self-proclaimed conservatives, the inability to trust Mr. Trump to pursue their agendas may well push them to either prolong the Republican primaries or ultimately help elect Hillary Clinton. The simple truth is that the Donald’s honesty is refreshing and he has a lot of financial wisdom to impart on this country, but his seemingly erratic temperament could be problematic.
In dealing with Russia or Israel, for example, relations are likely to improve should President Trump feels political nonsense is fueling division, yet relations are likely to become extremely hostile should Trump feel Russian or Israeli representatives are trying to manipulate him.
Hillary Clinton is, however, more likely to follow the standard script. In a time of uncertainty with rapid changes, that script may change with events, but her policies will be fairly predictable, whether they serve the interests of the American people or not.
Furthermore, Election Day 2016 will come down to who shows up to vote. If Trump’s public policy views become so outlandish and ungrounded when he is pressed for details, he is likely to discourage his voters and energize Clinton supporters. If Trump can offer a reasonable, inclusive set of public policy priorities and project a presidential aura, his voters will be energized and he may well win.
Unless Hillary can shake off her infamous past, this alone could mean a Trump victory.