Listening But Maybe Not Hearing

Over the past few months most observers have been fascinated with the appeal Donald Trump was having with he public. “Appeal” might be a generous descriptor. With Trump it appears you either love him or hate him. Hmmm.

Now, at least in Iowa, Ted Cruz is seeing his chance to bask in the public spotlight. So what’s so strange about these events?

Both Trump and Cruz are considered “outsiders”. Even though Cruz is a US Senator, he is strongly disliked by his fellow GOP Senators. Trump is an out and out outsider and the plausibility of his candidacy is scoffed at by Party leaders and Congressional caucus members. So why is the public responding more to these “outsiders” than the tried and true mainstream GOP types?

Public opinion poles have long reported single digit favorability for Congress so it should be no surprise that someone considered a fresh face would get a open reception. Trump and Cruz have not set the world on fire with their proposals but that does not seem to matter. These two outsiders are not the current crop of insiders.

For the past 8 years, the GOP has been the party of “no”. Republican Congress members have opposed economic stimulus, tried foolishly to reduce healthcare coverage, advocated programs which would lead to reductions in Medicare and Social Security, and proudly demonstrated their anti-global warming views. The GOP, however, has been a party of “yes” for a long list of lobbyists and special interests (as have also the sitting Democrat Congress members).

The American public may not be the sharpest knife in the draw but Congress’ two faced behavior can’t be missed.

Congress and the GOP hierarchy have been listening to Trump and Cruz and have dismiss their candidacies. That misses the point. Congress and the GOP bosses should instead be listening closer and try to understand why the Trump and Cruz supporters are motivated. For the party’s future health and longevity, the GOP needs to know what average people are searching for, not just how the GOP candidate can trick the voter and elected… which would continue the same games with lobbyists and special interests.

IMO there is little chance that Trump or Cruz supporters necessarily reflect what’s best for America. So why should GOP leaders pay attention?

An outsider victory could endanger the current gravy train carrying Congress members (and their supporters). The very reciprocal arrangement with Congress members and the current lobbyist and special interests is in danger. (You give me money and I will give you a favorable vote for your issue).

The GOP is capable of sound governance but not if it continues with its current policies and strategies. This is a moment to stop whining and begin to really listen.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2016 Presidential election, congress, Conservatives, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party, Uncategorized

2 Comments on “Listening But Maybe Not Hearing”

  1. fatherkane Says:

    While the ‘people’ that support Cruz and Trump are an extension of the Party Of No, the No goes far, far beyond special interests and lobbyists.
    The No that really excites the ‘people’ are the No to same sex marriage. The No to a woman having a choice. The No to voters rights especially minorities. The No to helping the poor. The No to raising the wage. The No religious tolerance. The No to even attempting an intelligent conversation on the gun culture in America.
    Also and perhaps I should have started with this, the Cruz and Trump supporters are ‘no compromise’.
    So you can listen all you want but, as Former Speaker Boehner learned, if someone won’t compromise, why listen?

    • fatherkane, you make an excellent point. The GOP “just say no” is broader than just a few issues. I would submit, however, that the issues the GOP says no to are selected on the basis of what they think their “base” wants unless it runs against the wishes of its favored lobbyists and special interests. The complicated game involves Republicans pandering to certain groups because they think they need their votes to gain office. Once in office they pander to certain lobbyists and special interests in order to gain personally and to elicit campaign donations. IMO, people flocking to Trump and Cruz do not see this marriage between GOP law makers and lobbyists/special interest as helping them.

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