Monday, May 9, 2016


Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     On Tuesday, Donald Trump won the Indiana primary and Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich quickly suspended their respective campaigns, leaving Trump as the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.  Political pundits immediately begin to handicap the November general election and most conventional wisdom is that Trump can’t beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Here are five reasons why Trump can and should win in November:
     First, Trump’s message energizes people.  Much like Obama did in 2008, Trump is getting people involved in politics who have never been involved.  And not just a few- literally hundreds of thousands who have never participated in a primary are supporting Trump.  His message of “making America great again,” resonates with the working middle class, who have seen jobs and freedom eroded in the past twenty years.  His ‘secure the border’ message plays well with those who live in border states.  His promise to get government out of the way so America business and manufacturing can be competitive makes sense.  His ‘outsider’ attitude toward politics appeals to the vast majority of Americans.  Trump is getting those people to the polls.  They see something different in Trump than they have ever seen before in a political candidate.  He is candid and holds nothing back. 
     Second, Clinton is a very flawed candidate.  Whether you are talking about Benghazi or the email scandal or the Clinton foundation scandal, she is not perceived as being trustworthy.  In a political environment where ‘insiders’ are viewed with distain, Clinton is the ultimate insider.  Senator Sanders has ran a surprisingly competitive campaign against the Clinton political machine, which reveals the chinks in her political armor. 
     Third, Trump is unpredictable and unconventional.  Trump has proven to not be afraid to hit his opponents hard and often.  Most candidates tread softly when it comes to mentioning their opponents.  Trump says things that are politically incorrect and personally insulting about his opponents.  And he does it with little or no regret.  A lesser candidate might shy away from attacking Clinton on women’s issues.  Not Trump.  He has already attacked her for attacking the women President Clinton had affairs with.   While most politicos cringe when he does it, the average voter sees that boldness as a strength.  The public longs for someone who will really ‘tell it like it is,’ and not just use that as a tagline in their campaign material.  Most people are sick of the mealy mouthed political class and Trump’s unconventional style is somewhat refreshing.
     Fourth, Trump will juggle the electoral map.  For the past thirty years, most states vote either Republican or Democrat in the presidential election.  Oklahoma gets little attention because the Sooner state is predictably always a red state.  Only a handful- less than ten- of states are considered battleground states.  Millions of dollars and thousands of hours are poured into those states to move them from blue to red.  Trump’s ability to appeal to union workers and northeast liberals put states like blue states like New York, New Jersey, California and Pennsylvania in play.  Not since Ronald Reagan has a presidential candidate had the ability to appeal across Party lines.  Reagan’s strength was his ability to get conservative Democrats to vote for him.  Trump can do that.  18 million Republicans are projected to vote in the primary and only 11 million Democrats.  That is the first time since 2000 that Rs have turned out more than Ds for a primary.  Many of those are new voters- people fed up with politicians and Washington.  Pundits, pollsters and prognosticators never saw Trump coming and so conventional wisdom is out of the window for this election.
     Fifth, Trump will do well with all demographics.  Political candidates like Trump confound the conventional political operatives.  The pros base their strategy and campaign plans on the premise that all Hispanics and all African Americans will vote Democrat, but with Trump, all bets are off.  His economic message appeals to every American, regardless of race or gender.    Jobs are important to everyone and more Americans trust him when it comes to the jobs issue.
     A year ago, Donald Trump wasn’t expected to win the Republican nomination.  He has been- and will continue to be- a controversial, confrontational, polarizing candidate, but his electoral success has been historic.  He has spent less per vote than any candidate in recent history.  He has gotten more free media coverage than any candidate in history.  He has gotten more people out to vote in the Republican primary than in the past thirty years. Why?  Because people are sick of conventional politicians who tell them one thing and do another.  They want something different.  Trump fits different to a T.

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