Editor’s note: James Williamson is a native and former resident of Ohio who currently lives in Nevada. He is also one of the brothers of yours truly, Daniel Jack Williamson, the owner of this blog. He has written many other guest blog articles for Buckeye RINO, and for that, I am grateful. –DJW
The Disruptor of the Disruptors
Following announcements by Ted Cruz and John Kasich that they have suspended their campaigns [and with the unofficial delegate count for Trump exceeding the 50% mark before reaching the end of May], it appears that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. Much to the chagrin of the Republican old guard they are going to get a candidate that broke all the rules (never ran for office before, didn’t spend large sums of cash in the primary, ignored political correctness… … … … list goes on) as the de facto leader of their party. You might call it a coup. You might call it a collapse. Many are heralding the end of the Republican party. I don’t think it’s any of those.
I’ve read numerous op-eds by pundits that Trump became the presumptive nominee because no one took him seriously. What precisely do they mean by “taking him seriously?” Are they suggesting that they weren’t trying hard enough to get the public’s attention early on in the race? All the Republican candidates were trying to get media attention and Trump sucked all the oxygen out of the room. I think they all knew that even if they thought his ideas were a joke they could not ignore his persona. Trump has spent the last 40 years in front of a camera and he knows how to get attention. I don’t think they underestimated him there. I think the operative word here is frustration.
Maybe they are suggesting the other candidates should have spent more money? Some of the candidates spent much more money than Trump (most notably Jeb Bush before he bowed out) to no avail. Apparently money can’t buy what Trump has to offer. Or perhaps, Trump recognized that people really don’t want to see political ads for 18 months straight? Maybe Trump will start a new trend in politics: Save your money early in the campaign. Even though Trump spent very little money I don’t think that was a factor in the other candidates taking him seriously.
Perhaps what these pundits mean is that they should have attacked Trump more? If negative attacks would be effective on Trump he would probably get more of them. Unfortunately that is the name of Trump’s game. Even Hillary Clinton learned the hard way that Trump has an amazing ability to take a negative statement and turn it on you. (Remember what happened when she said he was sexist?) I’m not sure what taking Trump seriously would have done to change the other candidate’s campaigns. Can someone help me here?
I’m also not sure how Hillary and company taking him seriously is going to make a difference.I read that Reid (who is obviously supporting Clinton) is already starting the criticism and gearing up for a fight. So what does he bring on in the first round of the fight? Trump is a sue happy tax cheat and a hater… You’re going to have to come up with a better one than that Harry. Maybe you need to revisit what happened when Hillary called him sexist. If you did you’d be putting your armor on because if you get his attention you just might end up in the line of fire. Oh, and make sure you protect your whole body because Trump apparently doesn’t have any issues with hitting below the belt….
I have a news flash for the Democrats: Negative attacks won’t work, spending more money won’t work, ideological arguments won’t work, even charm won’t work (if Hillary had any…).
Unfortunately for politicians you can change your views and you can change your rhetoric but you can’t change who you are and that’s what they would have to do to defeat Trump. People are voting for Trump because of who he is, but more importantly because of who he is not. He is not a career politician. He is not an apologist. He is not a sell-out (well so far…). He’s not hiding who he is or what he believes (just changes his mind a lot). He’s not a pushover and probably most important he’s never been a resident of Washington DC.
I saw this coming late last year.The event that convinced me that he was going to be the nominee is when he suggested blocking all Muslim immigration and his numbers went up… his numbers went up!!!! Labeling him as a xenophobe has not worked at all. That’s because I don’t think he is a xenophobe. I think what is happening here is that Trump is the only one who is listening to the key swing voter constituents that are going to decide the elections. Yes, you heard that right: Trump is the only one listening. Cruz appealed to his base, not swing voters. Sanders is doing the same. Hillary is making an appeal but with the media in her back pocket she is still thinking she can shape public opinion rather than listen to it.
Let’s analyze this for a minute. What has the public liked about Trump? Well, they actually like the idea that he wants to slow down immigration and more thoroughly vet immigrants. I don’t think he ever intended to keep them all out and of course he won’t but the bluster and outrageous promises are his style. I think that for him it’s not important to be precise in what you say but to show passion when you say it. It really seems to be resonating with rust belt voters in particular. Contrast this with the open door policy of the Democrats and even some of the Republican field. The candidates think they are being reasonable but what the public hears is: “We don’t care what you think!”
The public also likes it when Trump talks economics. Why? Because he, and only he, is articulating many of their frustrations. Decrying rising cost of health care, part time work, stagnant wages, dwindling manufacturing resonates with voters in key states like Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Obama is crowing about how wonderful things are and Hillary has to follow in that wake because she is, after all, the heir apparent. Voters don’t like to be told that everything is rosy when they think it’s not. Message to voters: “We don’t have a clue what is really going on.”
The last area that Trump is strong on is his America first slogan. Even I’m on the bandwagon there. Bad trade agreements, half-committed involvement in foreign conflicts, offering protection to everyone without getting reimbursement, apologizing for our history, and squandering our hegemony on goals that don’t further America’s best interests have been the fruits of several administrations now and Americans don’t like it. In particular I think that Trump’s message on national security resonates with voters. It’s closely related to the issue of immigration. While I certainly don’t advocate starting wars going around publicly announcing you aren’t willing to get involved in one is precisely the sort of thing that invites it. I think the average American knows this and they get nervous when they hear the doves saying we need to show more love and compassion toward antagonistic nations. Message to voters: “We’ll still be spouting rhetoric while the country burns, just like France in WWII.”
While I certainly believe that war should be avoided, what good does a military do if it’s never an option? How is a nuclear weapon a deterrent if the enemy knows you will never use it? I think Reagan proved that being willing is often all that it takes. Jimmy Carter couldn’t get Iran to release hostages because they were certain he wouldn’t send troops in after them. They weren’t sure that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t. History is rife with similar situations. Unfortunately for us, while our “leaders” have forgotten history the Russians have been learning from it. They are running amok because they know the current administration won’t do anything serious. That may change if Donald Trump becomes president. He said in his America First speech that we need to be more “unpredictable.” Yes, I believe Trump is a poker player. He knows that showing all your cards up front doesn’t help you win. After all that’s what America really wants right now: a winner. Right or wrong I think that there are enough people in the country now that believe that Trump is the winner they are looking for. Can you say, “President Trump”?
May 29, 2016 at 10:03 pm
I especially like your observation that, “Hillary is making an appeal but with the media in her back pocket she is still thinking she can shape public opinion rather than listen to it.” I think that’s exactly what she’s trying to do in the face of the State Department Inspector General report about her email server. She’s trying to shape public opinion by doubling down on her lies. She’s not listening to voters who find that she is untrustworthy. We know this because she is not turning over a new leaf. If she truly listened, she’d reform her ways. Now, it’s not just the voters who are not being listened to. The media are also not being listened to by Hillary. They are still in her back pocket, but they are trying to tell her to be more transparent. She still thinks the media will eventually fold, like they did when her husband was POTUS, so she just feels that she can double down, stick it out, and shape media opinion to mirror her point of view. But the media have been getting burned routinely by the Obama Administration’s opacity. They are getting fed up with the chronic lack of transparency. Nonetheless, Hillary has outstubborned the media before, so there is a real question about how this will all turn out: Will the media cave in again? Or will they finally decide to stand their ground, refuse her revisionist spin, and not allow these negative news stories about her to just fade into the background? I think the media can only win on the transparency front if they refuse to let Hillary change the focus to Trump. She has said over and over that she is willing to be held accountable, and has spoken as if she already has been held accountable, but the truth is: She never has been held accountable. I wonder if she ever will be held accountable.