By Trevor Law
A few weeks ago I confidently predicted Scott Walker would be the Republican nominee and I even thought he would be President. Well he just dropped out of the race. This is the point you start reassessing your assumptions and figuring out what you were right and wrong about.
So what was I right about? First I thought the GOP wanted an outsider, someone who who had no experience with Washington. I assumed that meant anyone who had actually been to Washington (Rubio, Cruz, and Paul) or had family members who were President. (Do I really need to say it?) Apparently the party has decided that anyone who was ever elected to office anywhere is too close to Washington. Since Trump, Fiorina, and Carson are the ones fighting for dominance and everyone else seems to be just fighting to get attention, I was right about wanting an outsider, but wrong to the extent the party demanded it.
I also failed to anticipate just how big the divide in the GOP was. I figured the GOP would be divided and have a rough primary but this…I mean the party is literally deciding between the three least qualified people to be President. Only one of them has even run for office before, let alone won it. This…is truly unprecedented because in all of American history, the public has only every elected Cabinet members, Generals, Representatives, Senators and Governors to the White House. While some of them were out of office at the time of their election, all of them had some government experience. The country as never elected a businessperson or a doctor to be President, based on the sole fact of them being a doctor, or a businessperson. We are in uncharted waters and I’ll be perfectly honest, I have no idea what is going on.
When Trump rose in polls and didn’t self destruct I felt like the entire the world no longer made sense. This…was driving me crazy. Then Carson rose, and now Fiorna is climbing in the polls. This is making my brain melt and so I had to rethink everything I thought I knew. As I was watching the debates last week, and a part of my soul was dying, I had an epiphany. While Rubio and Bush were doing well and were exactly the kind of candidates I would expect, I really couldn’t tell the difference between most of the candidates. Trump, Carson and Fiorina, however, kept standing out. These candidates didn’t sound like they had been tested in front of a focus group, or had prepared for moments like this for years in advance. It made them sound like real people and like they wouldn’t feed you a giant mound of bull.
Look at the Democratic side and you see the same thing. Bernie Sanders is a lot of things, but no one is attacking him for not being genuine and honest. While plenty of people call Trump a liar, it’s really hard to call him fake. No one could be that big of a jerk and not be faking it. From the beginning I suspected this election would mirror the election of 1976, and I still think it will. The country will demand a candidate who is outside the mainstream of politics and will be seen as genuine, and someone willing to tackle real issues. Since so much of American politics is about dodging tough issues, and having poll tested answers. Whoever our next President will be, I’m more than willing to bet they will look more like Jimmy Carter than anyone else, a well meaning guy with not a lot of experience as a traditional politician. Don’t get me wrong, maybe Hillary will turn it around, maybe Bush or Rubio will figure out a way to win, but if the dynamics of this election don’t shift we will have very nontraditional candidates.
With all that in mind, it looks like we could very well see Carson versus Sanders in the general election and no one would be more confused by that than me. It’s important to remember something else. In 2008 Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton seemed unstoppable. Neither of them went on to be the nominee. Neither went on to win. Right now both parties are trying to figure out what they want out of a nominee so don’t be surprised to see some more ups and downs. People like me and the talking heads on TV love to talk about who will win and why so and so is unelectable, and while precedent matters, in the end, the American people will be choosing. They can be a fickle lot, but they are the ones who ultimately hold the levers of power. The Iowa Caucus isn’t until February and a lot can happen until then. So sit back and enjoy the ride everyone, because we are in uncharted waters, and land is nowhere to be seen.