Primary frontrunners doom GOP
Today, the Iowa caucus officially kicks off the race toward the presidency. As Americans, we only really have two realistic options in terms of the type of people we are to vote for: Democrats and Republicans. Despite the shift of the average American’s views towards being more moderate, we haves two parties that are becoming more polarized. The most interesting issue at hand is who the Republican Party (GOP) will choose to lead their campaign for the right to preside over the American people. As of now, the two front-runners in the Republican Party are businessman Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, neither of whom are qualified to lead and represent the American people.
Overall, I feel that people are fairly reasonable, so a person as unreasonable as Trump getting the support that he has right now is unprecedented. Clearly, he is an intellectual of sorts, since he was able to turn a million dollar loan into a a billion dollar franchise, but the things that he says, the way he presents himself, and his beliefs make him seem like he would fit better in a comedy script than in the White House.
He is essentially the maverick of the mavericks, not only in the fact that he does not have any political experience prior to running for president, but also in that the method by which he expresses his opinions traps his own party. For instance, when he says something along the lines of wanting to prevent any more Muslims from entering the country,the GOP establishment and the opposing candidates cannot disagree with him because a large percentage of their constituents feel that there should be some preventative steps taken to decrease the amount of terrorist acts that are occurring on American soil, and that Trump’s assertions could be on the right track.
Since Trump has taken the initiative to appeal to a good number of Americans, it is possible his campaign will come to fruition. Initially, it seemed that his behavior could only last so long, but despite how radical his beliefs are, he does not seem to be decreasing in popularity. As Trump said himself, if he were to go into a street and shoot someone, he would still have supporters.
In the case of Cruz, the people that know him and are not part of his inner circle do not seem to like him as an individual. For the most part, people would like to have a president that they feel that they can relate to or is generally a good person, as shown by both the 2008 and 2012 races. Cruz may not be an individual that people feel would look out for their best interests. As a college student I would like to think that unless I was an absolutely horrible person, a former roommate would never bash my character and values online in view of the general public. Yet since Cruz reached the public spotlight, his college roommate Craig Mazin has been continuously posting about the character issues that Cruz was demonstrating in college. From what I have seem from Mazin's posts, he does not seem to be doing this to gain “fifteen seconds of fame,” but rather as a means of exposing to the general public to who Cruz really is as a person.
In addition, Cruz has had issues with integrity during his campaign. Cruz claimed that he and his wife funded his campaign for the Senate in 2012 completely independently by liquidating all their assets. What he did say was that he had also received a loan from Goldman Sachs to help fund his campaign. Not only did he not tell the public, he also omitted the loan from his campaign finance reports, according to The New York Times. I know that it is not uncommon for politicians to lie or stretch the truth to win the public’s sympathy, but if a man cannot be vouched for by his college roommate and has a history of hiding the truth, can he really be trusted to lead the country?
There are other criticisms of him, such as the generally pretentious vibe he seems to give off. There are even questions about the legitimacy of his campaign since he was not born in any one of the fifty states or any of the American territories.
Even Trump has brought up the fact that the people around Cruz do not seem to either like him or trust him. Despite the fact that Cruz is Trump’s biggest opponent right now, I think he brings up a valid point about the type of person that we want to lead our country.
These two candidates raise questions about the GOP as a whole and what it means to be a Republican. If the “leader” of the Republican party will be either a radical and illogical person or a person who does not seem to get along with others, what is the practicality of the party in the modern day?
If the leader of the Republican party does not really fit into what the general population feels should be done it seems that the party has two options. The first option is for the Republican party to reformulate its policies to comply with what a wider swath of the people believe in.
The alternative is for the Republican party to die out and for another party to rise and take its place beside the Democratic Party. This may sound unlikely, but this would not be the first time in American history that a prominent political party has fallen. If you look back to the early 19th century, the Whig Party was once successful, but eventually lost power and collapsed when the party’s values no longer aligned with what people believed in. Whig party members migrated to a different political institution. America is changing, and if the political parties do not reflect this change, they do not deserve to be in charge of our laws.
When the Supreme Court made the prevention of same sex marriage illegal, I had two thoughts. I thought about how much has changed over the last few years, and about how America would never have another Republican president. This second thought may actually be true since the general American populace is trending a certain way while candidates like Trump and Cruz are going the other. These are not the people that should be in charge if we want to keep progressing as a nation. All in all, I feel that we as people owe it to each other to put people in power who represent what we believe. Any step that is not propelling us forward is a step that inhibits us from being the best country we can be.