If Republicans are to succeed in their efforts to have a member of the GOP living in the White House on January 20, 2017, they must begin to separate themselves from destructive candidates. Republicans already have a reputation for supporting the wealthiest Americans over the working class. They have not reached out to minorities or women. Rand Paul, speaking at CPAC was being honest when he said that the GOP must change. Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, received second place in the straw vote. But his remarks at the podium gave him black marks with the voters in his own state.
Walker made the first gaffe in the 2016 presidential race at CPAC. He was criticizing President Obama’s strategy against ISIS. He then compared his battle with 100,000 union members in Wisconsin with his ability to challenge ISIS rebels. A furious uproar began in his home state. In freezing cold temperatures more than 5,000 union members marched in front of the state capitol. The impromptu rally wore signs and chanted, “I am not a terrorist.”
Walker began his anti-union campaign by limiting the bargaining power of state workers who were union members. Now he is attempting to reduce the power of all unions in the state by changing the law and making Wisconsin a ‘right to work state.’ This misnomer gives all power to business owners. It prevents unions from collecting dues from non-union members.
Is this someone the Republican Party wants to be their standard bearer? Although the wealthy control our government and over 90 percent of the nation’s wealth, they do not have superior numbers in elections. That honor belongs to the working class.
Independents, such as myself, have moved away from the GOP. We are waiting to see if changes will incur within the party which will make it more appealing to all voters. Personally, I would like to see a presidential candidate emerge who has ideas instead of criticism.
At the present time, although it is early in the campaign season, only two probable candidates have offered ideas instead of condemnation.
Jeb Bush and Rand Paul have expressed concerns about issues most candidates choose to ignore. This separates them from other hopefuls.
Paul has been honing his campaign skills from the day he was sworn into the Senate. He has also amassed a skillful group of insiders who will offer sound advice during the campaign cycle. Although Rand Paul is a base Libertarian as is his father Ron, he has separated himself from his most extreme ideas. Many of Paul’s opinions appeal to younger voters.
Bush will stake his credibility upon his two terms as the Governor of Florida. His conservative policies were successful as he improved the state’s economy, and established a respected educational system.
He has already separated himself from other Republicans by supporting common core education principles, and responsible immigration reform.
Each of these men face certain obstacles and possess distinct advantages. Mr. Paul is in Washington at present. As a member of a dysfunctional government and a divided party, he will be forced to rise above the public’s dismal approval rating of all in Congress. He will also have difficulty securing support from some members of his own party. However, his ideas and principles appeal to a wider range of voters than most Republicans, and he has had the advantage of being in the public’s eye for years.
Mr. Bush’s more moderate stance on the issues appeals to a large base of GOP loyalists. He is not part of Washington politics, and will likely appeal to more Independents. His vulnerability is related to his last name, and the fact that he and his family are associated with the Washington elite.
Will Scott Walker be in the mix in mid-2016? Time will tell, but it doesn’t take many ‘misspeaks’ for voters to begin moving away from a candidate.
The final question is about the party itself. Does it consider Scott Walker a qualified candidate, and someone who is representative of GOP ideals; and can he defeat Hillary Clinton?
By James Turnage