Vetting A Presidential Nominee
Watching the Republican Presidential nominating process unfold has been a lesson in fund raising, possessing the “right stuff”, and standing up to public vetting. The GOP hopefuls list which began at nearly two dozen is slowly dwindling but the serious list (those with a chance) still remains close to 10.
Who will prevail and how long will it take?
Most everyone has been amazed at the success to date of non-politicians Donald Trump and Ben Carson. For a few weeks these two “outsiders” garnered over 50% of the polls. Trump still is hanging in at around 30% while Carson has fallen back to the high teens.
Carson’s recent drop in the polls highlights the amazing aspect of his prior success. Carson has no idea about foreign policy or current events. The Paris attack, ISIS and Syrian refugee issue, when vetted in the public forum, has shown he is not ready for prime time. He would be a dangerous choice for Vice President since he appears to lack even the remotest background in diplomacy and world events.
Donald Trump is a quite different story. He has offered some of the most outlandish proposals on immigration, 9/11, taxes, and refugees and still is standing tall in the polls. Trump seems to have offered a segment of voters someone who “says it as it is”, at least in their minds.
Anti-immigration, xenophobia, and gigantic tax cut promises have boosted Trump’s support even though his specific claims or proposals are patently unfounded. But 30% of the maybe 30% card carrying GOP base in a national election is not enough to win. Hmmm.
While Trump and Carson occupy the top positions, gradually Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasick are rising. This trio still are not a numeric challenge to Trump but are making life pretty rough on Jeb Bush and Carli Fiorina. The rest, Chris Christy, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, and Lindsay Graham have absolutely no chance and must be staying in hoping to get a VP nod.
The Primary race has been marked by pledges and promises which cannot reasonably be believed. No candidate is immune to the urge to say things which in hours are shown unfounded or unattainable. With the exception of Donald Trump, each candidate who has put forward some policy position crafted to appeal to the right, has lost a point or two in the polling standings. If things continue on the same path, by February or March, it should be clear that none of the current candidates has enough support to win in the general election even if they can secure the GOP nomination.
There is one unannounced candidate, however, who does poll well and would make a formidable candidate. That person is Mitt Romney.
Recent national polls show Mitt as by far and away the choice of Republican voters and a solid candidate against Hillary Clinton. If Mitt can stay patient, he could get the nomination without having to announce he is “severely conservative” again.
As time passes, the GOP should recognize in an election where less than a third of voters are true GOP believers (same percent holds for Democrats), that unless the GOP offers a sane, responsible alternative, the mass of independent voters will side with Democrats and again keep the GOP out of the White House.
For my money, Mitt is by far the best choice if there must be a GOP President.