Trump keeps drawing those Reagan parallels
I’ve been telling friends for weeks now why I believe Trump has made headway in his campaign run like he has been doing. He has turned the whole process on it’s head from what we traditionally expect or may predict, and what has typically hurled and transfixed a person out of contention. Trump is not afraid to fire back at critics, not just liberals, and not just conservative leaders during a campaign, but with an effective equal opportunity if-you’re-not-with-me-you’re-against-me unrelenting vitriol. When Bush was in office, being run down by every liberal or moderate (even conservative) pundit, media source, or celebrity there was, he did not fire back at these attacks with any sort of effort or interest, and neither did a significant enough base on his behalf. This allowed furious build up on the other side, seen as a more substantial view of the masses. Trump is not of that ilk, and since Bush, there really has been an apologetic tone coming from campaign runs by republican candidates. Which has caused this liberal following to garner larger support groups. Proving Trump’s task of taking some of that GOP credibility back to be an uphill battle. One that he’s gained some traction in despite very stiff opposition, which is to be expected. You don’t have 16 years of weak GOP leadership get pulled back towards the center/right without a lot of strength, backbone, perseverance, and resiliency.
Now, it’s not like conservative leaders haven’t fought back or tried. But usually it remains within the confines of their own sides within their own parties. Do they go after Hillary or Bernie? Yes. As a whole they do. Certainly. But when is the last time one has been able to stand up there and do it as the leader of the GOP? Mitt Romney? John McCain? W? Nope. Not really. Not enough to rally enough grit and confidence to maintain and build on a platform of issues over a consistent stretch of time.
So Trump fires back, and fires back with anger. Hmmmm. Anger. This is usually an emotion that the left successfully infuses into their campaigns. We’ve heard it in dosages such as:
“You don’t agree with a government-run single payer universal healthcare plan? I’m angry you don’t want to help take care of people who can’t take care of themselves! I’m angry because you don’t want to pay more taxes to make this happen!”
“I’m angry that the wealthy owns 99% of the wealth and we don’t tax them 50%, 60%, 70%+, and you’re not for that, too!”
Anger has been a very effective emotion that the left has infused in their message. Painting their opponents and their supporters as insensitive, elitist, bigoted, rich curmudgeon’s who do not care about anything but their own wealth and fortune.
So Trump gets angry, and he skips the 7th and last debate before the Iowa caucus. Instead, Trump will hold a rally to benefit our veterans, a wise alternative to bickering with people on a stage for favor of voters for the 7th time. I’d say that’s not a bad alternative. Especially since Trump has pretty much won the previous 6 debates. A claim I make on the basis that he has maintained, and sometimes increased, his position in the polls during these stretch of debates. Besides, claiming that Fox, the most conservative cable news source out there (if not the only one), is being unfair may appeal to those “Reagan democrats” and other moderates out there who remain undecided, and the ultimate prize is gonna be decided by which party gets more moderates over to his or her side. (And which candidate can get more people who don’t typically vote out of their homes to the voting booths).
Besides, this isn’t a Trump vs. Megyn Kelly isolated feud like most media outlets are painting it out to be, a position that most people think is exclusively the issue. It’s more than Kelly, it’s the network she works at. Upon a Trump video message he sent out asking if Megyn Kelly could be a fair moderator towards him, Fox PR department released this statement:
“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”
As clever as you think this may be, it was clearly an unprofessional message relayed by a credible news source. Particularly before the political debate they were about to moderate, in which the leading candidate has claimed unfair positioning towards him. This has become a faux pas that has definitely left the Fox News Network with some egg on their face.
What choice did Trump have at that point? Show up and continue to follow in the footsteps of right-wing political punching bags, even by conservative news outlets? No, Trump stepped away and said “You can’t toy with me like you can toy with the others”. A message of strength that will be eventually realized, because it is undeniable based on the type of history that the right wingers tend to have selective memories about. So instead of staying and waging in the same ole fight against the same ole republican nominee’s on that same ole stage, he decided against this with a not-so-same-ole fight a republican candidate (the front runner, nevertheless) against the only conservative cable news media. Oh, and he’ll be doing a benefit for a pretty good bi-partisan cause instead. How is this a bad idea?
Well, he can lose the Iowa caucus. True, this is probable. But does that add up to mean that he’ll lose the grand prize? Not if history tells us anything. Rick Santorum won Iowa in 2012, narrowly beating Mitt Romney, who ended up winning by 3X the popular vote in the end. In 2008, Mike Huckabee won Iowa by more votes than ever before or since. Huckabee finished 3rd behind McCain and Romney in popular voting when it was all over. Also, Ronald Reagan in 1980 skipped the last debate in Iowa before voting began, thus losing to George H.W. Bush there. (Sound familiar?) We all know how that presidential election turned out.
But Reagan is a good example to draw from here. The media, both conservative and liberal, need to be cut down to size every now and then. Yet, rarely ever is there an opportunity, nor a candidate with enough political confidence to present this kind of tough challenge to media outlets. Reagan had this kind of demand and pull because he was strong in his political convictions, and he was too popular to take on, unlike the lot of today’s candidates. Most of the time, criticisms of then-President Reagan fell on returned criticism or deaf ears, and media pundits were slower to ask such blatant loaded questions like, “Why secure the borders and penalize illegal immigrants who just want a shot at the American dream?” or “How do you fight these radical Islamist terrorist groups without harming innocent civilians?”
The plain truth of the matter is that Trump has more to lose by being at the 7th debate than he has to gain. His lead in various polling across the landscape is so far ahead that Trump’s absence will either be boldly realized as addition by subtraction (sort of like how he’s funded his campaign), or a distant memory by the time we get to June and July. Strategically, he has more of a likelihood of resonating his message by not being there to defend his platform for a 7th time, and letting his name linger around at that debate among the remaining candidates to talk about and discuss, as they try to catch up. Think about that, if a candidate has built up such a momentous campaign that he can resonate his message more without uttering a word than he can by being there, then he has definitely proven something positive about his campaign, despite the facile shock and criticism by the media. Oh, and he’s going to go help out some veterans instead. Not a bad way for a politician to spend his night, or place his priorities.
And when that boring debate ends, Trump will wind up stealing the show, without even showing up.