Presidential Horse Race 2016: Trump and Carson’s war on political correctness pays off

Jeffrey A. Rendall

All the candidates hoped next week’s fourth Republican debate would be different – and it looks like some of them got their wish.

Daniel Strauss and Hadas Gold of Politico report, “Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee failed to make the cut for the main stage at next week’s Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal debate, a particularly harsh blow for the New Jersey governor who has struggled to gain traction in the presidential race after being seen as a rising GOP star in 2012.

“The two Republican candidates failed to meet the 2.5 percent average polling threshold, meaning they'll both be bumped to a 6 p.m. undercard debate on Tuesday, appearing alongside former Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.”

Yes, that’s right – Lyndsey Graham and George Pataki will join Jim Gilmore on the sidelines watching the 1%’ers go at it before the main event. What, no good ‘ol boy stories about bad grades and beer from your dad’s bar this time?

Say it ain’t so, Lyndsey.

You need a thick skin to run for president. Some of them are finding out the hard way.

Face it, Jeb. You’re simply not electable

It shouldn’t come as any great surprise to hear Jeb Bush isn’t going to be president in 2017. Not only are his odds of winning the Republican nomination getting worse by the day, his general election numbers, should he pull off some miraculous reversal of fortune in the primaries, are horrible too.

RedState’s streiff reports, “Everything indicates that Jeb Bush cannot be elected even if he wins the nomination. He has no base of support within the GOP and none among the general voting population. His fundraising clearly indicates his obeisance to the moneyed elite. The sooner Bush decides to wind up this failed venture, because right now he seems to be focused on trolling Marco Rubio rather than winning the nomination, the better off we will all be.”

Streiff also pointed out that Bush has four volunteers in all of Iowa… no wonder he’s polling at 4%. I haven’t checked lately, but several of the state’s establishment elected Republicans had already endorsed him. Maybe they’re his four volunteers.

No one gives Jeb a chance anymore (aka, the conventional wisdom), which is why Byron York of the Washington Examiner thinks…Bush might actually have a way to pull it out.

In a story he titles, “Don't laugh: The Jeb Bush victory scenario,” York lays out Jeb’s only hope. “There's no avoiding the fact that at this point in the game, the Jeb success scenario depends on other candidates falling. Four of them, specifically.”

For those not paying any attention to the race thus far, the four are Trump, Carson, Cruz and Rubio. Jeb’s handlers still think Trump and Carson will eventually flame-out because they’re not professional, experienced politicians. When that happens, BushWorld would count on Cruz and Rubio savaging each other so severely that they’d be permanently damaged goods.

Jeb would then swoop down like a savior from the sky and rescue the Republican Party. You know, the “safe” candidate. Just like McCain and Romney were.

Of the remaining candidates (Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham), the Bush people like their chances against any of them individually.

Jeb’s folks also believe it’s possible Ted Cruz might do the dirty work for them in taking out Rubio, leaving a one-on-one against Cruz – which of course they think they could win.

(Note: Or some in the conservative media might also take out Rubio, as this story from The Hill indicates.)

Let’s recap their strategy against Cruz… a political candidate without a base of support but with gobs of big donor establishment campaign cash pitted against a grassroots favorite, also with a lot of money raised mostly from the people who vote.

Which looks like the better bet to you? Can you imagine Cruz in a debate solely against Bush?

It’s getting to be less and less fun writing Jeb Bush’s campaign obituaries, but this is starting to reach the ridiculous point. Even if the top four all do as Jeb’s advisors predict (hope), that’s not going to change the fact people don’t like their candidate (as streiff argued above).

At best, they could hope the leaders falter, but then there would be a series of “not-Jeb” auditions among the other candidates. I’d argue several of them would end up on top as better overall choices for Republican voters.

Bush is staying in it for family pride at this stage. Or possibly, as Richard Viguerie suggested, because he wants to preserve the establishment’s power going into the convention.

You just can’t make people love you, Jeb. It’s a lesson we all learn sometime in our lives.

Fighting back against political correctness is a winning strategy

There are no doubt many people who still wonder how it is Donald Trump and Ben Carson are doing so well in the Republican presidential race.

After all, they both have a long and winding road of damaging statements they’ve made in the past.

And for Trump, there are also his business bankruptcies. There are videos of him praising Hillary Clinton. Heck, there’s even the fact he’s been married multiple times and once touted himself as “very pro-choice.”

Similarly, Carson unashamedly holds his Christianity on his sleeve. He criticizes ‘Black Lives Matter.’ And he had the gall to say he wouldn’t support a Muslim for president (which he subsequently clarified to say a Muslim who adheres to Sharia law).

In a normal year, that’d be a lot to overcome. The establishment media wouldn’t allow it.

But all of the conventional wisdom ignores what makes Trump and Carson appealing to so many. Their supporters love them because they represent the antithesis to the political correctness that’s overtaken and ruined the country.

Perhaps for that reason, Tuesday’s good day for conservative politics is being credited to “Trumpmania.”

Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator sums it up. “Left to their own devices, Americans in four different states have given a decided thumbs down to politically correct ideas that men using women’s bathroom was a ‘civil right,’ that Tea Partier Matt Bevin’s unabashed Christianity, support for social issues, and opposition to Obamacare was a loser, that gun control in Virginia was a winner. And again, don’t forget the sheriff out there in San Francisco who was a defiant supporter of Sanctuary Cities — and is now the about-to-be ex-sheriff…

“There is a reason why Tuesday’s elections have turned out the way they have. Beyond the standard issues of the economy or national security, political correctness has emerged as a hot button issue touching Americans in all walks of life. Safe to say, they are sick of it. Say again, sick of it.”

Yes, we are sick of it. We’re tired of being called bigots for adhering to the teachings of our religion. We’re sick of being called intolerant because we believe a person should have to show an ID to vote. We’re fed up with being told we’re waging war against women because we don’t believe taxpayers should be forced to pay for their birth control.

Trump and Carson are leading in the polls because they’re not afraid to articulate what so many Americans feel in their hearts. It’s okay to support traditional marriage. It’s okay to be patriotic. It’s okay to believe the government shouldn’t control all our lives to protect the whims of tiny minorities with extreme views. And yes, a man dressing as women is “extreme.”

Dare I say it, weird?

(Note: On a related note, check out this look at Carson’s Facebook post on why he’s running for president.)

The new normal in conservative politics is fighting back against the forces of political correctness. We saw it in last week’s debate. We witnessed it again this week in the four states Lord talked about above.

And I have a feeling we’re going to see the same thing happen starting in February of next year. Watch out, establishment.

Jindal keeps up the effort to stand out

I mentioned yesterday that Bobby Jindal is engaging in an all-out effort to win in Iowa. Unlike Jeb Bush, Jindal’s campaign is taking a realistic view towards how he can make progress in the state and afterwards, should he somehow manage to win.

Ben Kamisar of The Hill reports, “With limited funding and a crowded lane for the evangelical vote, Jindal faces an almost insurmountable hole in other primaries. But he has put virtually all his chips down in Iowa as he adheres to the playbook that has, in the past, rewarded the long shot.”

Kamisar adds that Jindal’s campaign has held 122 events in Iowa over 70 days, according to The Des Moines Register, and his 70 days spent on the ground are more than any other candidate on either side of the aisle.

He’s been there so long he’s seen an entire corn growing season from sowing the seeds to reaping the harvest.

Though his fundraising is virtually non-existent, Jindal does have a Super PAC that’s helping on the ground in Iowa. David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reports, “The super PAC (Believe Again), run by Jindal's long-time consultant, Brad Todd, is supplementing the campaign by underwriting town hall meetings across Iowa, as well as tele-town halls.”

Believe Again holds the events and Jindal is the invited guest. Staff then collects information from attendees.

Carly Fiorina’s Super PAC is apparently doing similar work.

It’s a means for lower-polling candidates to stay in the race. In an age where politics is so dominated by fundraising, the PACs perform a valuable function beyond just flooding the airwaves with political commercials.

Time will tell whether Jindal can find his “lane” and move up in the polls. As I’ve said, he’s an interesting candidate who deserves an opportunity to try and show why he should be president.

All he’s asking for is that one chance. I think we should give it to him.