Saturday, January 30, 2016

Electorate: Knock! Knock! Establishment: Who’s there?

[Guest Contributor - Donald G. Mutersbaugh Sr.]

I would have to say that the title of this blog is what this election cycle is all about. It seems that, “we the people” want to have a voice in who the Republican nominee is; but the Establishment does not want to hear what we have to say. As much as I hate to say it, it appears that the Establishment might win anyway. Regardless of who wins the caucus and primaries, the Establishment candidate’s name may be announced at the convention – even though Republicans may lose the election to the Democratic candidate.


After reviewing the statistics on Mr. Trump’s town hall meeting versus the network coverage of the latest debate, I would have to question how much support he may have in a general election. After all, I do not believe that he has been endorsed by any member of Congress yet (this may be a good thing!). Another point concerns just how large the Republican Party is relative to the entire electorate: about one third. The Democratic base is slightly larger, perhaps at 40%. Even if these numbers are not totally correct, you can get the point that a large number of independent voters who are Millennial, Hispanics and other minorities – are not exactly big fans of the Republican Party. Right now, Mr. Trump has a sizable lead over his next closest competitors, Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio (Real Clear Politics). When is the light bulb going to go on?


The fact of the matter is that the Party and other candidates besides Mr. Trump do not seem to be very well-liked. Because of the large number of candidates now, it does not appear that the Party is directly supporting anyone – except, of course, in a destructive way, Mr. Trump. That seems to be the primary goal: destroy Trump, and then we’ll name an heir apparent. Of course there is always the hope that if Trump wins a few of these primaries, the Republican career politicians (who care more about their careers than the country) will come running to his side to endorse him. One could only hope. But even if that happens, it may be too late for the Republicans to convince a majority of the electorate – which will include conservatives and other members of the Republican base who have been insulted throughout this election cycle – to even give the Democratic candidate a real challenge. There are those who believe that Mr. Trump will destroy the image of the Republican Party; what image? It’s hard to believe that the image could get worse; but if all of the candidates and the Establishment keep talking trash and shredding each other, who could blame the voters for not selecting anybody within the Republican Party?


The voters want someone to change the way Republicans and Democrats do business in Washington, DC. The Republicans said that they needed the House to stop Obama. When that didn’t work, they said they needed the Senate – and they got it. Finally, now that they have both the House and Senate, they are crying to the public that they need to control the White House, also. But in the meantime, they have exhibited no leadership and have broken most of their promises. They have squandered their opportunities and created their own political morass. Part of Mr. Trump’s success stems from the fact that he has ignored the Establishment, the main street media – practically everybody – while addressing some of the main factors that are causing frustration and angst in the electorate: immigration, terrorism, corruption and cronyism, a weak foreign policy, shredding the Constitution of the U. S., and so forth.


It is very interesting to look at the polls in Real Clear Politics. Right now, Trump and Clinton are barely even within the margin of error. Clinton versus Cruz is pretty even, also within the margin. Overall, Rubio is possibly ahead of Clinton – also within the margin of error. So, as I have said before, I believe the White House belongs to the Republicans – as long as they don’t completely bungle the operation – which it appears they are in the process of doing. Sanders, the Democratic candidate, actually edges Cruz and Trump – but Rubio actually beats Sanders! So at first blush it looks as if Rubio would be the best Republican nominee. So the question is: how does Rubio poll best nationally while losing (potentially) some of the primaries? How do you discount the data that Trump may win the primaries, but that he may lose nationally to both Democratic frontrunners?


The Republican Establishment has severely disappointed their supporters; they just don’t get it. It is this Establishment that has created the distrust, anger, feelings of abandonment – and actually has created Donald Trump. The more the Establishment complains about and plots the destruction of Trump (whom the Republican electorate supports), the stronger he gets. If they would only recognize the opportunity they have to capture the White House, coalesce behind him, and support him, the greater the chances are that the entire electorate would select him as the next President. (For example, an availability heuristic could be used to flood the electorate with strong, positive communication about the Republican candidate – including Trump.) 


Let me close with a fanciful scenario to this unpredictable election season. Remember, this is just something to “noodle” on while the primaries sort themselves out. What if Hillary Clinton is prosecuted – or faces legal hurdles that are so insurmountable that it cripples her run for the Presidency? In other words Bernie Sanders becomes front runner. Then, let’s assume that Trump prevails in the primaries, and the Republican Establishment resigns itself to that result. Or, the Republican Establishment decides to torpedo Mr. Trump (somehow, maybe brokered convention?), and selects Rubio as the nominee – after all, right now he has the best chance of beating either Democratic candidate. And then, just for the fun of it, let’s say that the Democratic Party convinces Joe Biden to enter the race because they perceive a loss of the White House. Trump or Rubio vs. Clinton or Sanders? And along comes Joe. Knock! Knock! Who’s there?

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.

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