So far, the run up to the November 2016 Presidential election indicates that the messenger is more important than the message. It seems to me that no one can possibly pay attention to the words and promises spewing from the mouths of the various candidates, especially their interminable post-primary speeches. It is not what they say but how they appear to the American people that will make or break them.
Here is the way they appear to me, and, I suspect, to a lot of others. I will admit that I initially supported Jeb Bush and felt that a Bush/Kasich ticket would be very electable in November. To win in November the Republicans must carry the key pivotal states of Florida and Ohio.
Donald Trump comes across as someone who is willing and anxious to kick butt both at home and abroad. He appears to be a nasty, mean type of boss who will take no excuses and tolerate no fools. This does not necessarily make him unqualified to be President. In fact, I think that those qualities are required in a President. After all, Trump is running for Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the United States. Those who call him unqualified mean that he has never held elective office before, but no one can deny that he has the experience and knowledge required of a CEO.
On the other hand, Dr. Ben Carson, who finally dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday, came across as too nice a guy to be President. His message was appealing but no one cared since he was too quiet and self-effacing. He was just what you would want in a family doctor but you would never choose him to represent you in a bitter divorce case. Although he had a brilliant career as a brain surgeon, he should have had his own head examined, especially as his numbers started to drop.
Senator Ted Cruz reminds me of a sleazy televangelist trying to drum up donations from little old ladies. Why would an inexperienced first-term senator think to even run for the Presidency before establishing himself as a Senate leader? Again, his ideas and principles might be good but a majority of the people in the country will never vote for someone who seems so self-centered and uncompromising. His tedious and long-winded post primary speeches make one question his sanity. Finally, his unwillingness or inability to cut a deal with other candidates has left the way open for Trump.
Senator Marco Rubio is a young Senator who could be a great Senator but he seems too young and immature for the Presidency. He is 44 but looks younger. People will say that Jack Kennedy was only 44 when he became President, but Rubio is no Jack Kennedy. It is true that President Obama was as young and inexperienced in government or leadership when he ran for President, but that just proves my point. In most of the primaries the Rubio/Cruz vote totals have equaled or surpassed Trump’s, but so far neither one has had the political practicality to combine forces.
Governor John Kasich of Ohio looks and acts Presidential. The large field of Republican candidates had kept his numbers down but if he wins the Ohio and Michigan primaries, his star will rise. As mentioned above a Republican candidate must win the key pivotal states of Ohio and Florida.
Speaking about Florida, Jeb Bush came across as one of the least charismatic candidates in recent history. His failure proves my point about messenger and message. He had the best ideas and plans but no one could get past his name and dull manner. Taking off his glasses, removing his jacket and tie, and rolling up his sleeves made him appear wimpier and wimpier. Enlisting the aid of his brother and elderly mother in the South Carolina was the last straw.
The Bush campaign was another good example of how money does not always talk in politics. The millions he wasted could have been better employed in bribing Cruz and Rubio to drop out of the race.
Finally, I am amazed at how commentators think there is a Trump bandwagon when it is obvious that two thirds of Republican primary voters cast their ballot against him. It is obvious that Trump has a strong core of support but he has never had to run one- on one in any contest.
Some pundits think that the bitter Republican primary campaign has been a bad thing for the party but I think that it will turn out to be positive. At the outset, the Republicans put up a field of at least a dozen viable candidates, each of who had good credentials. The youth and energy of the Republican candidates stands in marked contrast to the aged Democrat contenders. Even when Democrats sought an alternative to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, they could only come up with old Joe Biden.