It Looks Like 2016 Could Prove to be Quite a Contest

It Looks Like 2016 Could Prove to be Quite a Contest

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Twenty-five or perhaps fifteen years ago, in truly perfect political environment, Ohio Governor John Kasich could well have been the perfect nominee for the Republican Party to choose to be its candidate in 2016.  Today, at a minimum he would be a reasonable choice to challenge Jeb Bush who also–instinctively–represents a more classic GOP choice for President than most of the other of the 16 announced candidates. Kasich has the resume, the experience, and the demeanor to govern. Like Bush, Kasich is a reasonable, open voice who probably could led creatively, intelligently, and skillfully. He already showed in Washington strong understanding of the art of political compromise. 

The problem for the Republican Party in 2015 is that the road to the Republican nomination appears to be moving less and less through the path of “reasonableness”. If Kasich, the latest Republican to throw his hat into the ring were able to obtain the nomination, his selection probably would so alienate much of the Republican base with his very “reasonableness” that he would almost definitely insure a Third Party challenge. This in turn would doom whatever chance the Republicans have to regain the White House in 2016.

This condition is due at least in part to what has been developing at the other end of the Republican Party.  The extensive array of Republicans nominees continues to be challenged on an almost daily basis by one Donald Trump; one of the two candidates who has never ever even held political office. Trump’s uncontrolled dissing of John McCain this past weekend clearly would have doomed the candidacy of any aspirant in any “normal” year. This year, however, appears to becoming anything but not normal and Trump certainly is not a traditional candidate. Considering the ovation that his attack on McCain received from his minions on Saturday, GOP leadership are clearly wondering if his growing following as cited in today 's Washington Post polls ought to begin to alert the Republicans to the reality that Trump may well be much, much more than just a passing frivolous flirtation. Now that Trump has also initiated personal attacks on Lindsay Graham and Rick Perry, the Republican debate in Cleveland on August 6 could well provide—at a minimum–considerable fodder for the late night talk show hosts.

The Trump candidacy, however, has raised a suggestion of a further and potentially very serious concern which the McCain flap underscored. When absurd, outrageous statements bring crowds to their feet, the analogy with Hitler and the big lies immediately come to mind.  If he continues along with this tactic it will behoove the political pundits and the American people to watch him and his candidacy and not just read his material. Trump may prove to be not the political clown he was painted as, but, rather, a potentially very dangerous demagogue.

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