I still get a lot of political questions from friends and family about all kinds of issues. The last several weeks, the vast majority of the conversation has centered around one of the Republican Candidates for President: Donald Trump. Love him or hate him seems to be the general consensus from the people that I talk to, there is no in between.
Let me start by saying that in no way am I endorsing Trump, nor will I vote for him in the primary, but he does demonstrate a great lesson that republican candidates need to pick up on: when he says something that might be considered offensive, he doesn’t back off, he doubles down. Probably the best known issues with Trump are his comments on illegal aliens and Senator John McCain.
Too often when republicans are confronted about comments, even those out of context, they back up, dance, and/or spew double talk. Not Trump. When Univision dropped the Ms. USA pageant, he initiated a breach of contract suit. When NBC dropped his programming, he went after NBC. Basically, Donald Trump got a lot of free press and was able to get free media by making the circuit on all of the news stations.
The feud with Senator John McCain is far more interesting. Anyone who knows me knows that I was never a McCain fan… politically. McCain has been a Senator for almost 30 years. He is the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. As the 6th senior member in the senate, he probably has his choice of committees and could probably chair the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs if he really cared about the disastrous state of affairs at the VA. However, I think McCain is an example of a lot of issues in Washington where Senators and Representatives complain, but don’t really take action. If you want an example, look no further than the FairTax. If you look at the FairTax Act of 2011, you will notice that there were 70 cosigners, but it never came out of committee! It seems that people would rather complain in order to get press, than actually fix problems.
A president is only as good as congress, more importantly, his relationship with congress. President Reagan had to work with Tip O’Neill; President Clinton had to work with Newt Gingrich. Neither party really got along, but they did work together. While the GOP holds both sides of Capitol Hill, I don’t think that Trump will have a friend in congress. I think he will end up being alienated like Jimmy Carter.
I think Trump is doing the GOP a favor. He is sucking the oxygen out of the race which will make the lower tier candidates fold. There is only so much time on T.V. and with Trump being a ratings dream (everyone looks at a wreck on the side of the road), he will occupy a lot of bandwidth which will starve out the bottom dwellers. While he leads in the polls today, as the lower tier drops, I don’t see their support going to Trump; I think that they will start to focus on one of the top GOP candidates.
Trump is going to make the GOP race even more entertaining and it is my hope that the eventual winner remembers the most important lesson that Trump brought to the campaign: speak from the heart and don’t back down.