The Next President Will Be...
I recently read an interesting article titled "No Experience Necessary? Trump and the Future of the Celebrity Candidate." It began a train of thought about what kind of candidate it's going to take to compete against Donald Trump if he's still unscathed after his first term.
The authors make the case that as much as political experience may be necessary, personality is likely just as important. They offered up ideas such as Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban, and even talked about Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg before coming back to democratic firebrands such as Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Corey Booker, and Bernie Sanders.
So with all these names out there, what's it going to take to appease the American public?
Republican strategist Rick Tyler, who served as Sen. Ted Cruz’s communications director in the 2016 presidential campaign had an interesting viewpoint in an interview with Yahoo News. “Part of how Trump ended up being elected was that voters didn’t care if he had experience. They wanted him to blow up the system. In a sense they said, if the government is punished by us electing Trump, so be it,” Tyler said. “There’s an element of ‘I don’t really care what he does as long as he’s mad about it.’
You could make the case that that's why Ted Cruz was the last man standing against Trump in the primary of the last election. He was an anti-establishment candidate with some experience and that's what a large portion of the electorate felt the country needed, someone to rail against the system.
The case can also be made that the soul of the Republican Party has been wrested away from incumbent politicians in Congress and is now the Trump Party. People like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan realize this and either kowtow to Trump or are getting out of politics all together.
Many people call it his 'base,' but it's likely about a third of former GOP supporters that make up that base. The rest are aligned with him based on his platform even if they can't stomach the man himself. Either way, Trump has definitely upended the system in that his supporters side with whatever off-the-cuff idea he has over the views of those in Congress.
In many ways, that's going to be the path to defeating Trump if he's still in office for the next election. Instead of fixing a broken system, there are numerous ways to tie Trump to the things many average citizens wanted him to go to Washington to fix.
Citizens saw a Washington filled with fat-cat millionaires using their positions to enrich their own pockets and only beholden to special interests. Electing someone who didn't need, or would be swayed by, the money flowing freely into politics was one of the things that helped elect Trump.
The recent court case that was brought against Trump by Maryland and the District of Columbia that argues Trump is in breach of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution is one such example of him using his position to personally profit.
A second example will be when Trump negotiated with China and they agreed to invest in a joint venture with Trump properties in Asia, as well as granting Ivanka the corporate trademarks for which she had been applying. In exchange, Trump looked to lift sanctions against ZTE, a Chinese company that the United States had found to be committing espionage against our country.
In a startling rebuke of Trump, the Senate voted 85-10 on a defense bill that included provisions that undid a Commerce Department decision to relax sanctions on the company in June of 2018. One month later, however, a new version of that bill promoted by Republicans in the House of Representatives watered down those sanctions and delivered Trump the policy he was seeking in another example of Congress caving to the whims of this president at the expense of national security.
Another avenue to argue will be the profiteering and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars by Trump appointees. Six people Trump put into government positions have been tied to lavish spending habits on the taxpayers' dime. From lavish furniture to first-class travel to family vacations, there has been no shortage of personal gain from those Trump has put in positions of leadership.
The website at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is tracking the profiteering and offers the following from the first year of the Trump presidency:
-President Trump spent a full third of the first year of his administration—121 days—visiting his commercial properties. This government is not offering any data on the cost to taxpayers for those visits.
-Seventy executive branch officials, more than thirty members of Congress, and over a dozen state officials visited Trump Organization properties during the first year of the Trump administration.
-President Trump and his White House staff promoted the Trump brand by mentioning or referring to one of the president’s private businesses on at least thirty-five different occasions during the president’s first year in office.
-There have been more than forty instances of special interest groups holding events at Trump properties since January 20, 2017.
-Eleven foreign governments have paid Trump-owned entities during the president’s first year in office, and at least six foreign government officials have made appearances at Trump Organization properties.
-Political groups spent more than $1.2 million at Trump properties during the president’s first year in office. Prior to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, annual spending by political committees at Trump properties had never exceeded $100,000 in any given year going back to at least 2002.
All of this profiteering is going to be a way to show how Trump hasn't 'drained the swamp,' as he called it, but that he's one of the alligators in the swamp.
From all of this, the point that some candidate needs to learn is that there needs to be some form of anti-establishment message in their campaign. There is still corruption in politics and much of it stems from money as the graph above shows. Attacking the system and not necessarily going after Trump directly might be the best way to go.
Along those same lines, many people often joke how they wish that Congressmen had to wear racing suits like those in NASCAR and every campaign contributor gets a patch sewn onto their outfit. The bigger the donation, the bigger the patch so we can all see who has bought and paid for each representative. It would be ideal if the dark money were removed entirely from the process, but until that happens, Americans assume the worst about their Congressmen and Congresswomen voting by money and not constituency.
There are a myriad of lessons to learned from the current administration. Another is that there needs to be transparency for the next candidate. America doesn't want their government done in secret and doesn't want to be lied to or gaslighted every single day.
America needs an honest and open candidate and between the two final candidates in the last election, neither had this quality. Part of why Trump won was that his party actually gave him his nomination while Hillary's shadiness fractured the Democrats and the Russia hacking illuminated that fact into Trump's favor.
Regardless of whether the Trump Campaign colluded in the last election, the Russian hacking and Comey announcement that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton's e-mails a few weeks before the election did enough damage on its own to cost her the election.
Whoever opposes Trump in the next election had also better learn how to control the narrative. Clinton allowed him to run the election on his terms in that her corruption was a big theme and that fear was a prevalent issue. Fear of North Korea, fear of immigrants, fear of government control were all things central to why people voted.
With all the themes out there, Democrats and liberals certainly understood some of the reasons why Hillary lost the election. Trump put her on the defensive and she didn't have a strong enough message of her own to control the election.
There had better be a message explaining how Democratic policies address each of these issues. Some examples of this messaging need to be the fact that under the last Democratic administration the most illegal immigrants were deported in history, that the net undocumented population was decreased by one million people, that border security funding was increased significantly, and that many targeted for deportation were criminals.
In terms of the economy, how policies that keep Wall Street in check while allowing for economic growth should be a balance that America can be happy with so that the economy doesn't come to a crashing halt because of dangerous policies and corrupt practices by high-ranking corporate elites. Speaking to how the Stock Market tripled under Democratic control and unemployment was cut in half needs to be promoted.
These messages need to be illustrated and the populous needs to understand why they are important and when networks such as Fox News spew misinformation such as liberals want open borders, they need to be called out for their blatant lying.
The consensus is that the person to oppose Trump from the left needs to be a fresh face. The propaganda from Fox News and the cultism on the right has been so swayed against long-time Democratic politicians that someone new, and without baggage, like an Obama will be needed to allow the message to be heard and not the rhetoric.
It will also have to be someone moderate that can reach across the aisle and embrace some policies of the other party. Someone who can admit that inner city violence and immigration are concerns that need to be addressed. That perhaps there is some middle ground on issues such as religious freedom and abortion without lessening either sides rights. That states rights are important and making America into a cookie cutter of liberal values is one way to alienate half the population.
While there is certainly a large swath of both parties that is being taught to hate those on the other side, actively listening to the concerns, working with members of their party, and meeting in the middle is going to be an important quality of the next candidate for president. When someone from a party openly states they are unwilling to work across the aisle, Americans need to send a message and vote them out of office immediately. There's no place for that if America is going to remain unified and work towards improving as a nation.
America is definitely looking for a candidate that is fiscally responsible and can balance a budget. All of this deficit spending needs to be reigned in and agreeing with someone like Rand Paul who stands firm in his principles on such an issue would be a good thing for the liberal left to get behind.
There are some good people on the left but there is still some distrust within the Democratic Party after allowing Hillary to run roughshod over them in the last election. The leadership needs to get together, become strong and honest to unify, and do it quickly. With all the disdain for the current administration, court cases striking down gerrymandered districts, and retirements within the current Congress, there's great opportunity for the current minority party.
On the right, many Democrats would have been able to have voted for John Kasich in the last election. He was a capable leader of a state and someone with some moderate views that appealed across the aisle. If Trump stays as the nominee, the left sees his fascism and partisanship as major concerns, so they will be motivated voters. When the head of the party endorses an accused pedophile (Moore) and known supporter of white supremacist groups (Stewart), that's going to unite the opposing party against them, that's for sure. There is a hope that the right finds a more moderate approach in the next election.
For both parties, it's just a matter of finding two candidates that fit those positive qualities that America needs. In the last election, it ended up being neither, that's for sure.