Donald Trump has enjoyed a good deal of publicity during the past few weeks, since he jumped on the “birther” bandwagon, voicing skepticism as to whether Barack Obama was really born in the United States. Many of Trump’s critics insist that The Donald is not a serious Presidential candidate and that his newfound “birther” agenda demonstrates that his Presidential campaign is nothing more than a flimflam publicity stunt.
I have a different theory. I believe that Trump is running a “decoy” campaign. Keep in mind that Trump is currently the #2 contender for the Republican nomination. Remember also that the Republican Presidential primaries for 11 states (and the District of Columbia) are conducted on a “winner-take-all” basis – meaning that when a candidate wins a state primary, that candidate wins all of the delegates who will represent that state at the Republican National Convention. If Trump can win a few of those states, he could amass an impressive amount of “pledged” delegates. I suspect that Trump’s goal is to win the support from the extreme right wing of the Republican Party and “hijack” those delegates who would have been otherwise pledged to candidates acceptable to the Tea Party. Bill O’Reilly’s intervention to defuse the “birther” controversy (at which point he insisted that Trump has not been seriously seeking the nomination) was apparently motivated by the fact that the candidates most likely to be eliminated from contention because of Trump’s presence – Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin – are both darlings of Fox News. In fact, Palin is a Fox News contributor.
At the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa, Trump could step aside and support Willard Romney, who is despised my many Tea Party activists for having created what is now known as “Obamacare”. Trump’s elimination of the Tea Party favorites before the convention would solve Romney’s problem with that voting bloc. Romney can be expected to have an equally difficult time winning the support of dog lovers, as a result of his decision to strap the family dog, Seamus, to the car roof for a 12-hour family vacation drive to Ontario. Despite his “Presidential” appearance, this Homer Simpson-esque episode from Romney’s life has already impaired efforts to portray him as a potentially effective Commander-In-Chief.
Meanwhile, President Obama is busy trumpeting his newly-minted, false campaign promises. Gallup reported that on April 15, Obama’s approval rating had tied its all-time low of 41%. More interestingly, his approval rating among African-American and Hispanic voters is beginning to slip from its enormously-high levels:
Though majorities of blacks (85%) and Hispanics (54%) continue to approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, his ratings among these groups slipped in March and have set or tied new lows.
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Obama, elected to office with strong support from minority voters, has averaged better than 90% approval among blacks, and 65% among Hispanics, during his term. Prior to March, Obama’s lowest monthly average among blacks was 88% in July 2010 and December 2010. The president’s 54% March job approval rating among Hispanics ties the low from July and August 2010.
Despite the efforts of Republican commentators, such as Peggy Noonan, to create a narrative to the effect that Obama’s waning popularity – as well as the losses sustained by the Democrats in the 2010 elections – resulted from voter concern about government spending and the deficit, I suspect that Americans have simply become alienated by the failure of Obama and his party to deliver on their 2008 promises. Worse yet, the capitulation to the interests of Wall Street by Democrats who promised “reform” has reinforced voter apathy – the real factor in the 2010 Democratic setbacks.
Cord Jefferson of Good provided this graphic of what Congress would look like if it truly represented America. The failure of Democrats to win the support of Independent and centrist voters is readily apparent. You can blame gerrymandering all you want, but as long as the Democrats fail to provide alternatives to Republican policies, they will continue to lose. I believe it was William Black who said:
Under America’s two-party system, we have one party that is owned by big business and another party that sells out to big business.
I was pleased to see my own sentiments shared and articulated quite well by Mike Kimel of the Presimetrics Blog, in his recent posting entitled, “Why I Will Not be Voting for Obama in 2012”. Although Mr. Kimel doesn’t have an alternative candidate in mind, the very reason for his disillusionment with Obama is that – with respect to the nation’s most significant problems – our current President has proposed no alternative policies to those of his predecessor:
And yes, there are a handful of things Obama did that GW might not do, but let’s be realistic – this has looked from the very beginning like GW’s third term.
Which leaves just one question – if the policies of the Republicans are even worse than Obama’s – and they tend to support anti-growth tax policies (calling them pro-growth doesn’t change the data), what should a rational person do? I don’t know. But I think if I’m going to see Republican policies enacted, I’d prefer to see them run under a Republican label. See, Democratic policies may not be very good, but historically they have tended to produce better results than Republican policies. (BTW – Michael Kanell and I have an entire book called Presimetrics looking at how Presidents performed on a wide range of topics.) Another four years spent bringing the feeble Democratic brand down to the levels of the even more feeble Republican brand will cause lasting damage.
Obama will never re-ignite the enthusiasm of 2008 by presenting himself to the voters as “the devil you know” or “the lesser of two evils”. What America’s middle class really needs is an honest, Independent candidate to make a run for The White House in 2012.