[Guest Contributor - Donald G. Mutersbaugh Sr.]
From NRSC Senior Staff operative, Ward Baker, “Observations on Donald Trump and 2016:
“The place is Cleveland, Ohio. The date is July 21, 2016 and Donald Trump has just accepted the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the United States.” Wow! https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/politics/memo-on-donald-trump-from-ward-baker-to-nrsc-senior-staff/1898/
In my mind, in his memorandum of September 22, 2015, Mr. Baker is the first person as a senior Republican Party operative to actually present an intelligent analysis on how to win the presidential election. Even though this memorandum presents recommendations for potential Senate candidates, it should have been addressed to the Republican Party in general. Mr. Baker has captured the essence of what this election is all about: “…this time it is harder to predict an outcome because of the volatility of the electorate. Trump has risen because voters see him as authentic, independent, firm,--- and believe he can’t be bought.” I have written a couple of other CitizenOversight postings about this topic before; I still believe that there has been a paradigm shift in the electorate in this election cycle.
Mr. Baker makes several recommendations for other Republican office seekers if Mr. Trump is the nominee. I found this to be especially important because it is how all of the presidential candidates should be conducting themselves. If the other presidential candidates keep making insulting, derogatory comments about each other, no Republican nominee will win; the electorate will be poisoned by their own negativity. After all, who wants to vote for a nominee whose own party won’t support him? Here are some of the more salient points of Mr. Baker’s memo: “People talk about problems, not issues. So, focus on problems and not issues and offer your solutions. Avoid Washington-speak (legislation, bills, insider talk) in favor of Main Street common sense …. Understand the Changing Environment and Recalibrate Now. The Trump phenomenon exists because Washington politicians promise change, but don’t deliver. Your job is to deliver.”
Another excellent observation made by Mr. Baker: “Trump Can Hit the Right Chord. We may not like it, but Trump has connected with voters on issues like trade with China and America’s broken borders.” How about this one for a very common sense observation: “Trump Rises Because People Understand Him…. Don’t insult key voter cohorts by ignoring that America has significant problems and that Trump is offering some basic solutions. Understand the populist points that Trump makes and ride that wave.” I call this one, “Don't throw the baby (the winning strategy) out with the bathwater (Mr. Trump)”! The Establishment has become so fixated on denying Mr. Trump the nomination that they’ve lost sight of the primary mission: win the White House!
Continuing, it just keeps getting better! How about this for a winning strategy: “We Can’t Afford to Depress the GOP Vote. Spending full-time criticizing our own nominee will ensure that the GOP vote is depressed. That will only serve to topple GOP candidates at every level.” And one final nugget of wisdom: “Covering the Trump Bet. Conventional wisdom has counted Trump out on several occasions. But, Trump continues to rise and the criticisms seem to make him stronger. Trump has been gaining Democratic adherents and he’s solidifying GOP cohorts who feel they have been totally ignored by the Washington Ruling Class. If the environment aligns properly, Trump could win. It’s not a bet most would place now, but it could happen.”
We are now at the end of a two term Democratic administration. I’m not going to say anything about that, but I will say that Mr. Trump has changed the campaigning landscape in several ways. For one thing he refuses to be intimidated by the media, Democratic Party – even his fellow candidates and the entire dissenting Republican Party. Secondly, he has exposed many of his running mates to be the RINO cowards they are. Say what you will, but Mr. Trump is a leader – and that’s what the country needs now. Third, the party has historically chosen the candidate; but this cycle it appears that voters will have more of a say in who the candidate is.
The GOP establishment is desperate and doing everything they can to derail him. Once again they are proving that they are the masters of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. There are so many divisions within the electorate; there are so many signals that change is coming; there are so many turf wars; and most important – there is no leadership within the party to unite and back one candidate. Say what you will, but Mr. Trump sees the big picture – and reacts to it – like a leader should – even though it is politically incorrect and perhaps unpopular.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Mr. Trump decides to run as a third-party candidate. I believe that he has held up his end of the bargain; and I believe that the Republican Party – and his fellow candidates – have continued to disparage, belittle, and criticize him – thereby opening the way for him to run without violating his agreement. In a way – although it would hand the presidency to the Democrats – it might cause the existent Republican Party to become a rump organization – thereby allowing a true, moderately conservative political party to become the Phoenix that will be successful in the next presidential election. I hope that the Republican establishment realizes this could be a possibility and quits the campaign to stop his candidacy; they need to listen to the people, get behind him, quit carping, and move on with a strategy to capture the White House.
Another candidate may overtake Mr. Trump or he may lose on his own. However, he now leads in all of the primaries (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/) The GOP establishment is going to be at a crossroads in the very near future: what do we do if Mr. Trump wins all of the primaries? It could happen – and if it does, they should be focusing on getting voters into the booths to pull the lever for Mr. Trump as the Republican nominee. I hope that somebody like Mr. Baker gets a larger voice in the final decision!
Donald G. Mutersbaugh, Sr. earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and his Master of Business Administration degree from Mary Washington College. He is the former Associate Administrator of Information Resources for the U.S House of Representatives under Speaker Newt Gingrich.