By Sal Bommarito
The New Hampshire primaries takes place this week. Is it a do or die situation for certain contenders? It appears so.
Let’s consider, one more time, what each GOP candidate brings, or doesn’t bring, to the table.
As an aside, the polls during this election cycle have been remarkably inaccurate. Therefore, voters need to be skeptical of them moving forward. We would be better served by supporting the best candidate and not influenced by polling alone.
Trump. Polls have him at about 31%. He’s led in New Hampshire from day one. Voters are now getting to know the real Donald Trump; New Yorkers have been aware of his shtick for a long time.
Trump is a hustler and a self-promoter who knows little about government. His responses to those asking for details about his vision and plans are always non-specific because he is incapable of elucidating them. The man is entertaining and successful, but his potential as a president can only be evaluated based upon his career in real estate, certainly not domestic and foreign affairs.
Voters had better be cautious about his demeanor along with is lack of experience. Trump cannot deal with criticism. His responses to it have always been vulgar and highly personal. Trump has single-handedly dragged down the civility of the election process more than any former candidate.
How will Trump deal with a media that assesses every move by the president? How will he get along with world leaders he has already called out on numerous occasions? I hope voters recognize that Trump is a bully, and not a diplomat by any stretch of our imagination.
Cruz. Polls have him at 13%. It’s now clear that Cruz is very religious. This perspective, in part, causes him to take positions that are far from mainstream attitudes in America. Cruz’s vision of government is uncomfortably radical, and this makes him unelectable in the general election.
Another incredible discovery about the first term senator is that so many of his acquaintances dislike him personally. Even those who knew him as a young man have been critical. How can Republicans support a candidate that is despised by both opponents and colleagues? Usually, such wide-ranging disgust is reserved for men that have been in the White House for a period of time.
Cruz’s campaign has been accused of dirty tricks including a message sent that Ben Carson was dropping out of the presidential race. This may have been an important factor in his winning the Iowa caucuses.
Rubio. Polls have him at 15%. Personally, I think Rubio is a Republican version of Barack Obama. As another first time senator, he is inexperienced, ideological and ready, willing and able to say anything that furthers his political ambition. Former senator, Rick Santorum, endorsed Rubio, but was unable to offer one major political accomplishment attributable to Rubio.
Chris Christie has been particularly vocal about Rubio’s resume. He said he is a “talking point candidate,” who walked away from an immigration bill that he originally sponsored.
Every other candidate has one weakness or another. Kasich (11%) is highly qualified as the sitting governor of Ohio and a former member of Congress. But, he may be too moderate to win the nomination (hard core Republicans shun moderation, for some strange reason).
Bush (10%) was the odds on favorite to win the nomination. He’s experienced as the former governor of Florida. But, personality has trumped substance in this primary (no pun intended). Bush is not exciting nor is he an effective orator (just like his dad and brother, who were both presidents). If Bush doesn’t have a good showing, he may be finished.
Christie (5%) would be a wonderful vice presidential candidate. As a powerful speaker with a great presence and a good record in New Jersey, he could be the presidential nominee’s henchman. It’s doubtful he’ll make a strong move in New Hampshire.
Fiorina (5%) is another VP candidate. She has no political experience other than losing a U.S. Senate race in California. Some question her business acumen; under her leadership, Hewlett Packard performed horribly.
Carson’s (3%) candidacy has become a joke. Being a great surgeon doesn’t qualify him as a president. Similarly, being a great president doesn’t qualify someone as a surgeon. Carson looked foolish during the introductions at the last debate.
Well. There you have it. The only salvation from Trump (real estate hustler), Cruz (the hated one) and Rubio (the empty suit) are Kasich and Bush. I think they are long shots, but I wish them well.