Republicans and conservatives are thinking too much in this presidential race.
We have done it before – to our loss – with McCain and Romney. From an intellectual point of view they were clearly superior to Obama. Pundits had white board numbers and polls that showed why McCain and Romney would win. They talked economic theories and foreign policy which showed that our guys had the better plans. Did it work? No.
Right now pundits are busy disparaging Trump and to some extent Cruz. The Washington establishment can’t understand why these outsiders are popular. On paper they should have failed long ago. Charles Krauthammer and Brit Hume in particular are venomous towards Trump and Cruz.
But what they don’t see is a block of voters that we don’t reach out to: the low information voters. They are out there. They put Obama in office. They saw “Obama girl,” the fake Greek columns and Obama dancing with Ellen Degeneres. That was all they needed to see. While our guys were talking policy, Obama was showing them how cool he was. Lots of people voted for cool.
These same voters see Trump as successful. They watched him on TV as the executive who made decisions easily. They see him as the guy behind the glitzy Trump Tower, something he uses quite cleverly. When he talks to people like Greta Van Susteren, Sean Hannity, Barbara Walters and Chris Wallace he does so from his own digs there. It’s a subtle way to reinforce his success and wealth.
No candidate will successfully erase these images from the Low information Voters’ heads. Trump’s been on the scene for a long time and who can argue with his successful company, glitz, gorgeous wife and well known children? How does that stack up against Ben Carson, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, who’s had his own financial ills. They are a McDonald’s cup of coffee next to a Starbucks venti caramel latte.
There is no beating that. Opponents have even tried to drag divorced wife Ivana Trump as a character assassin. It didn’t work. They have tried and will try again to disparage Melania Trump as a model who once posed nude for photos. That won’t work either. That will just enhance the allure of the Trump fame. Melania will most likely gain a lot of votes for him as LoVos would like to see a beautiful woman as First Lady and many will vote for Trump just for that.
The debates don’t matter either. All Trump has to do is an adequate job. Among the others on the stage he looks serious, commanding and authoritative. Jeb Bush looks desperate. His poll numbers reflect that. Ben Carson looks mild. He’s lost ground there. Cruz flirts with pomposity. Rubio’s youth doesn’t work for him in the debates. Viewers react with their eyes to a lot of the debates and not particularly with their ears, save for those serious ones who follow politics intently.
Obama and his strategists understood that how you look and act matters more than your substance. Sorry, but that’s the world we live in now. It’s hard to imagine someone as ungainly as Abraham Lincoln winning today. FDR might have lost had people seen him constantly in his wheelchair.
It’s time we used Low Information voters to our advantage. They vote and they have the right to vote. Maybe a little glitz is not too high a price to pay for a successful candidate that beats a Democrat.