More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Trump: South Carolina And Beyond

I am not sure I will classify the Trump victory in South Carolina as necessarily a commanding lead. But the fact remains that Trump's win was by a margin of 10% over the second place winner Marco Rubio, and of course one of Trump's biggest critics, Jeb Bush, is no longer in the race. We have the Nevada primary coming up this coming Tuesday, and of course the big tell, Super Tuesday, is on March 1st. Something tells me that even if Trump doesn't win in Nevada, although he is predicted to win—again by a double digit margin—I think he will do very well when all of the numbers are in on Super Tuesday. And of course the field is going to narrow after Nevada's Tuesday primary, and by the time we get to the final call after Super Tuesday I think we'll be down to three candidates.

Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz. If Kasich's numbers don't add up in Nevada I think he'll drop out. So, perhaps, will Ben Carson.

In my opinion it is still too early to necessarily predicate on the idea that The Donald is an unstoppable force. But if we are looking at just the margins over the course of the campaigns, Trump at least appears to be the presumed nominee. The thought that crosses my mind is how can Trump have his Howard Dean moment in this race? He's said some fairly nasty things, and he said some things in the CBS debate just before the South Carolina primary that not only did not resonate with me, it rubbed a lot of voters the wrong way.

Yet he still won, and it wasn't really all that close actually.

If Donald J. Trump takes home the prize on Super Tuesday I think we can safely assume the republican voters in the caucuses have chosen who they want to see run against whoever is going to be the nominee on the democratic side—who I still think will be Hillary Clinton when all is said and done, and I am fine with that.

When I talk to most of my fellow republicans and conservatives of course I am chastised every which way but Sunday when I mention that I actually am rooting for Trump. Why do I like the guy?

  •  He holds nothing back and takes no prisoners.
  • He is the ONLY guy I think will actually address immigration reform even if I do not think he will be successful in having Mexico pay for the wall.
  • He is the ONLY guy who I think understands fundamentally that trade is good, free market capitalism is good, but that we also have a rigged system that has stacked the deck in favor of OTHER nations while leaving American workers behind.
  • Therefore Donald Trump is the ONLY one who is actually going to begin the process of renegotiating trade deals and ultimately to bring back jobs to American workers who badly need better than Walmart jobs to feed their families and pursue the dying American dream.
  • He is deeply concerned about the advancement of ISIS, the instability in the Middle East, and takes seriously the very real threat of terrorism in the Homeland.
On the last point, I think all of the candidates left in the race have serious concerns about terrorism as well, and aside from Bush
who I thought was extremely weak on the subject, I think all three top tier candidates—Trump, Rubio, and Cruz—would all take steps to curb the threat from Islamic Jihadists. Trump may take the strongest stance however, and with that said, I do think that while Trump has good intentions, on this issue at least, he is going to have to surround himself with the best military and foreign relations people to get his head wrapped around a strategy that will work, that will circumvent unintended consequences, and that will not cause more damage in an already sticky situation.

The one thing that does sort of twist the knife if you'll let me put it that way is that while Trump is getting all the attention on the republican side, the fact remains that where Trump has missed the mark is on substance. He's missed the how's and the why's and how come's. And I think in a general election this detail is extremely important. When Trump gets to the big stage alongside Hillary Clinton who, love her or hate her, has command of her policy, and is well spoken, Trump cannot rely on personal attacks to get the attention of the American people. He has to shred every single idea and statement that Hillary puts forth. He has to command every single issue. He needs to explain in detail why his policies would work, and why he thinks Hillary's would fail. He has to be tough on Barack Obama and his failed policies, which of course Hillary will tout as grand successes, but not just by saying the president was weak or incompetent, but by explaining in detail why he believes the president's policies were bad, how they affected the American people, and if continued how they will continue to affect the American people.

Substance, at the end of the day, is the one thing Trump has lacked throughout the campaign, and the only thing that gives me pause when deciding whether or not even I—a Trump supporter—can ultimately pull the trigger if I were to vote today. Can Donald Trump have a moment like he had with Jeb Bush in the CBS debate where he called former president Bush a liar in a debate with Clinton? I don't think so. I don't think that kind of an exchange would go over very well at all. Although, I do think he can be tough on the issue of Benghazi—but again the approach as to how you do this needs to be careful and calculated. It can't just be name calling and flame throwing. That won't work in a general election.

So all said I give Trump great props for a job well done up to this point, and frankly because of the bullet point issues I am concerned about personally, would love to see him go all the way and get these important things done like nobody else can or will. But as we draw nearer to the strong likelihood that he actually wins the nomination, he really needs to begin the process now of filling in the blanks, and giving us more than what he has given us in the past—he needs to give us the how's and why's and how come's we've been dying to hear.

Because one thing is certain. Hillary will explain her stuff, and whether it is right or wrong, if Trump can't explain his, hers just sounds more thought out and sometimes reality is not what counts. Perspective is everything, and if Trump is perceived as one who doesn't know his way around things, it will cost him the election without a doubt.

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