My fellow conservatives, especially in the media, are forgetting the history of our party as well as who makes up the population who vote in our primaries. Who have we elected as our nominees? For a long time now, it’s been older white guys, all above 60 in fact- Romney, McCain, Dole, George HW Bush, Reagan, Nixon, all the way back to Eisenhower. The one exception to that rule is George W. Bush, but he was the son of a former president and had been governor of the 2nd biggest state in the country so that made up for it, plus he was in his 50s already.
Who were the primary voters who voted for these older guys? It was primarily white people over the age of 50, often over the age of 60. So given this, we have to start thinking about the concerns of this voting bloc, since they’re the ones who largely determine who the gop nominee is every election cycle.
Their concerns are the following, among other things: whether or not medicare and social security will be cut, and by how much; whether or not the candidate is strong on foreign policy (these people come from a time of wars, whether it be the Vietnam War or the Cold War, and believe in a strong foreign policy in general, otherwise they wouldn’t have voted for Reagan, Bush, McCain, and Romney, all known for their aggressive foreign policy); whether or not the candidate has governing experience; whether the candidate is able to beat the democrat nominee in the general, and therefore, how electable the candidate appears to be (this was the main reason both McCain and Romney won, despite the fact that they were by far the most moderate, or liberal, candidates in the field, and certainly not the most charismatic or inspiring); and finally, whether or not the candidate appears presidential, in other words, can the voter realistically imagine them as president making decisions in the oval office (this is one reason why they vote for the oldest candidates, in addition to being able to relate to them more).
I guess several of these categories could be combined into one category or factor, which is this: which candidate do you trust the most? If you trust a candidate and believe he has your and the country’s best interests at heart and is competent and courageous enough to overcome all the obstacles in his way and make the right decisions, then you’re willing to overlook his lack of charisma and some of the disagreements you have with him on policy, even big ones (like Romneycare, or McCain’s amnesty)
A few other factors include the following: does the candidate have the appearance of a moderate?; no radical statements in his past, or perceived radical policy proposals that would make these older voters fear that their money and their benefits wouldn’t be safe.
So, given this set of facts and criteria, we can then apply it to the 2016 race in order to figure out which candidate is the most likely to win the nomination. It’s easiest to do this by process of elimination- we just have to determine which candidates meet all the criteria and which don’t, even by one factor in some cases.
Kasich- has the age and experience, but I can eliminate him because he comes off as too unstable or jittery and doesn’t have the temperament of a president, and therefore the older voters won’t be able to imagine him as president, especially given the contrast he’ll have with candidates like Walker and Bush.
Perry- also has the age and governing experience, but fails the electability test in the eyes of too many older voters. He reminds them too much of Bush, and they won’t forget his “oops” moment, they don’t believe he can win a debate, much less a general election.
Jindal- Has governing experience but is far too young, and people can’t imagine him as president, enough said.
Cruz- too young, lacks governing experience, isn’t seen as electable by older voters, and is seen as too radical by them, basically the anti-Romney. There’s a reason McCain called him a whacko bird, and keep in mind this is the same senator from Arizona who we made our nominee, and now those same voters, who are now 8 years older, are gonna make his arch-nemesis the nominee? Just not happening.
Paul- pretty much everything about Cruz applies to Paul, with the added disadvantage that he’s seen as an isolationist on foreign policy, plus he’s made some pretty radical statements over the years that his opponents will surely remind voters of, especially the ones on Iran. So he has zero chance to win the nomination.
Jeb Bush- Has the age, governing experience, electability, and trust factor that the older voters are looking for, so those factors will keep him competitive for quite some time imo. But in the end he’ll lose because voters got disgusted with his brother and simply don’t want another Bush in the White House, especially going up against another Clinton. They know he would be the worst candidate to make the case that we need fresh faces and a change from the old politics of the past that Hillary represents. Plus his stances on immigration and Common Core make him stand out as the least conservative and are pretty much indefensible. He might’ve had a shot in 2012, but this time even moderate republicans won’t give in to the temptation to pick the most liberal republican because we have so many good choices of electable republicans who are truly conservative.
To me that leaves Walker, Rubio, and Christie. I believe these 3 candidates are the most likely to win the nomination, and here’s why:
Christie- Isn’t as old as the older voters would like, but makes up for it in spades with his charisma, confidence, and ability to win over audiences, in other words, his ability to win peoples’ trust. Has the governing experience, and will be seen as electable, and has the appearance of a moderate since he won two elections in a blue state, so the older republicans will believe he can win a general election and run a good national campaign.
As you might notice, my analysis of Christie and some of the other candidates has nothing to do with his policies, some of which aren’t very conservative, but unfortunately policies aren’t the biggest factor, or even one of the biggest factors, in determining who the nominee is, otherwise we wouldn’t have had McCain and Romney as our nominees.
Rubio- Out of these 3 he’s the least likely, but I believe he could potentially break the mold and be the exception to the rules I described above because he has a vision for the country that is detailed and straightforward, has given a lot of thought to the issues, and can answer pretty much any question the media asks him, which will impress the voters and win over their trust. Also, he’s seen as a moderate, and his plans are moderate, like his tax plan and his failed attempt at immigration reform.
Furthermore, out of all the candidates he’s the biggest hawk, which is a big advantage at this particular time given the chaos in the world and Obama’s weakness in confronting it. If all that wasn’t enough, he has the demeanor of a president, he never gets angry or flustered, and combines the happy warrior persona of Reagan with the passion and youthful energy and charisma of JFK. He hasn’t said or done anything radical in his life, so voters will believe he’s electable and won’t say anything crazy during a general election campaign, or implement any crazy policies as president that would jeopardize their wealth or possessions. His youthful appearance and inexperience are big disadvantages, which is why I don’t believe he’ll end up winning, but if Walker or Christie have any bad debate performances or make any big mistakes, he’ll be the candidate who benefits, and could win in that scenario.
Walker- I believe he has the best chance to win out of all the candidates because he checks the most boxes and has the fewest disadvantages. He’s not as old as the voters would like, but he has plenty of governing experience to make up for that, and beyond that, his personality and character demonstrate a maturity and wisdom beyond his years. He’s never said anything radical, and his positions on all the major issues are sufficiently within the republican party mainstream to give the appearance of a moderate. He doesn’t have any foreign policy experience, but he’s already shown that he understands he has to take a hard line on that and talk tough, so the voters will believe he’ll be a hawk, which is undetermined right now. He’s already beaten democrats plenty of times in a blue state, so that gives him lots of electability points, and combined with his calm demeanor and personality will give voters the impression that he can definitely beat Hillary in the general and run a good campaign.
He appears presidential, especially if one watches his gubernatorial debates. Basically, he’s a safe pick for voters who are afraid of what they see happening to the country and around the world and want a strong candidate who will have the courage to fight against the forces causing these changes, but who also is wise and experienced enough to run a competent national campaign and win a general election. In fact, he’s the safest pick, but also the one that appeals to what older conservative voters are looking for the most, which is why I believe he’ll win the nomination in the end, after a long and hard fought battle.
One final note I should add in case any readers get confused is that the analysis I’ve given here doesn’t necessarily reflect all of my views on the candidates, but rather what I believe to be the views of a majority of the gop primary voters who will determine the outcome of the primaries. Don’t shoot the messenger, cause I didn’t vote for any of our past nominees in the Ohio primaries.