By Trevor Law
Be prepared, we are diving into the future again! This time we are running into the maelstrom that is the Republican primary.
As I said in my last post, it is most likely the Republican party will win the next election. However if you are looking at the GOP field you will see a very confusing mess. 16 candidates are running for office and many of them are very serious. So first we need to sort the candidates into the factions of the GOP. You can sort them into four factions, Evangelicals, Libertarians, Hawks, and the Pro-Business wing.
The first are the Evangelicals, these are people like Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry. These are candidates who are beloved by social conservatives and would be the most likely to talk about family values and would take the hardest line on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and family values. This faction is where you get a lot of activist and the loudest members of the GOP, and it is also shrinking in size compared to the rest of the country and not nearly as strong or united as it used to be.
Next are the Libertarians. These are the new kids on the block and are represented by Rand Paul. In many ways they are at war with the rest of the GOP on many social and foreign policy issues. Since 2008 they have gotten bigger and bigger shares of the primary vote but have really struggled to break into the mainstream of the party. Rand Paul is also struggling to break into the top tier of candidates and so it looks like they will continue to be a persistent insurgency within their party.
Next are the Hawks. These are people like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham. They tend to be very aggressive on things like defense spending and will scream the loudest about national security. This is a very important group as it tends to have a lot of blue collar folks in it who are ex-military, and it has been hurt by the war in Iraq, but it is enjoying a rebound with the war on ISIS. It is tough to say just how much influence hawks have but it is nowhere near as strong as it used to be.
Last but not least we have the Pro-Business part of the party. These are people like Scott Walker, John Kasich and Jeb Bush. They tend to be the least ideologically driven and focus largely on economic issues. They also tend to be the most vocal about tax rates and despise regulation more than most as well. This faction is also where the money is. They can raise massive amounts of money in a short time and have done so in the past few election cycles. I would also say this makes them the most powerful, both because of money and because the argument of “America is in the business of business” still resonates with millions of Americans. In my opinion, this faction will win out, as it has both the most money, and the largest following nationally.
It should also be noted that many of these groups do overlap, many hawks are pro-life, many libertarians are anti-tax, but the purpose of this was to show more an emphasis on what is most important to the various groups within the GOP.
So then what does all this mean? Well as I have stated before I do think the GOP will win in 2016, and as I just stated I do think that the most likely candidate to emerge will from the pro-business wing. So then which one will be the nominee? Well for that you need to ask which will the party agree with the most, and which brings the most to the table? We’ll first let’s talk about Jeb.
He is an incredible fundraiser, from Florida, and has connections to half of the GOP. He is also at odds with his party and is part of a political dynasty at a time when the GOP is very, very anti-Washington. Ultimately Jeb will do well in states like New Hampshire, but will fall flat in most others and won’t win.
Next you also have to ask what region of the country will be most important and for that you have to ask, where have the democrats won, but shown weakness? A lot has been made of the GOP’s weakness with millennials but a lot less have talked about the Democrat’s white, blue collar problem. Romney beat Obama two to one with this once solidly Democratic group, and they seem more than happy to vote for other Republicans. This groups is vital in the midwest which, fun facts, both Walker (Wisconsin) and Kasich (Ohio) are from. Both men did very well with this group and both men know how to win in important states.
Now the GOP has had a great deal of tension within itself about a key question: do we soften ourselves so that we can broaden our base, or do we double down and try to give high turnout to our base. Kasich is much more of a pragmatist, and is a Washington insider, working in Congress and under George W. Bush. Walker is a deeply conservative person, coming up from local government and fighting in local politics until his fight with unions threw him into the national spotlight.
So since the GOP will need to choose one path, moderate, or double down, they will end up choosing one of these two men. Based on what I have seen of the GOP, they will not want an insider, but someone who is seen as tough, conservative, and proven to advance conservative ideas. So in my mind the GOP will rush to Scott Walker with both arms, though not very quickly. The GOP field is huge, and many will want to stay in until South Carolina, but it will be whittled down and in the end, come January 20th 2017 we will be swearing in President Scott Walker.