This election year is the year of the insider outsider. In 1992, there was a true outsider in H. Ross Perot. He was outside either party, outside the political campaign system and possibly outside of his mind. He won 19% of the popular vote and 0 Electors. John Edwards actually got more Electors when someone wrote his name instead of John Kerry’s in 2004. This time, both parties have at least one outsider running for a party nomination.
It seems like the Democrats are a party of socialists, but Bernie Sanders has never actually joined. He has been an Independent for years, but votes with the Democrats except in extreme cases. It may also be why he isn’t afraid for his future as a Democrats, like so many others are who chose not to fight against Hillary Clinton. Such a binary choice has left Democrats who don’t like Clinton to only have Sanders as an option.
The Republicans are a different story. When this race began, there were a number of “Tea Party” Republicans who didn’t always mesh with the party on economic or policy issues. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were the most outspoken Senators when it came to Obama’s budgets. Paul is out, and former outsider candidates like Marco Rubio and Chris Christie are considered RINOs. Bush and Kasich were always in the Republican mainstream.
That leaves Carly Fiorina, whose political experience was working for John McCain and running for the Senate in 2010. Ben Carson, who rose to fame when he criticized Barack Obama to his face at the National Prayer Breakfast. Then there’s Donald Trump, who not only hasn’t run for political office, he has eschewed most of the traditional actions of other politicians. He has certainly given the 11th Commandment a thrashing.
The problem with Trump as an outsider is that he can’t win without using the same tools as other politicians. Ted Cruz ate his lunch in Iowa because he had consultants and a ground campaign. I suspect that New Hampshire will put an end to any realistic aspirations of Ben Carson and most Christian support will go to Cruz. That could very well win him South Carolina.
I’ve made no secret that I don’t like Donald Trump. Everything he’s done during his campaign have only confirmed my opinions. He’s insulted candidates who get to close to him in the polls. He’s attacked Iowans who didn’t support him enough, he called a room full of New Hampshire residents biased campaign donors. He blames Ted Cruz for cheating and lowering his vote count when the polls say otherwise. This is all bad news for the general election.
Trump’s lousy attitude makes me much more likely to choose any other port in a storm from the GOP field. Of the 3 governors left, I’d pick Jeb. At least he talks a good game. I could vote for Cruz and hold my nose and vote for Rubio. I could also stay home while Trump runs against Hillary.
In 2012, Mitt Romney got 1 million fewer votes than George W. Bush got 8 years earlier. Creating a schism helps when you want to win a primary, but Republican and Democrat votes aren’t fungible. The great majority of Hillary Clinton supporters in 2008 still pulled the lever for Barack Obama rather than going to the Republican side. Trump is not going to back fill his ranks with Democrats if he loses the Republicans (as evil and establishment they may be) who he seems to be running to destroy.
I still expect him to be the next Ross Perot, except he doesn’t have to buy the air time.