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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Parties or Individual Presidential Candidates?

In a recent Suffolk University poll of Iowa Republican likely caucusgoers the following GOP contenders received 1% or less: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore. My focus group believes they should all drop out now because they are hurting the party.

Today Donald Trump is ahead in the polls in Iowa with 17% Wisconsin governor is in second place at 12%. I can’t predict how this will look a month or two from today. Ten GOP candidates are within 8 points of each other in this poll so as some of them drop out voters will migrate to those remaining.

Maybe the time has come for “winnowing” the field from 17 down to the three or four who will be the standard bearers for the party going forward to New Hampshire.

The process is now clearly broken because anyone who has an ego, is looking for a FOX commentator job, has written a book they want to sell, or simply need to feel good about themselves can run for president.

That’s a huge problem because this asks caucusgoers to spend much too much time sorting out this massive scrum of candidates. Most people have a very tiny amount of interest and time to study political campaigns. When they are required to “know” each individual candidate the process breaks down if there are more than, say 3 or 4 running.

A much better road to the White House is for the political parties to be the center of voter attention. People should know what the Democrats and Republican parties stand for. What their platforms are. Then the parties not billionaires or FOX should be in the lead during campaigns.

We seem to have forgotten that we are not a monarchy or a dictatorship. The man or woman in the White House has relatively little power. The Congress, interest groups, the Supreme Court, governors in the 50 states all diminishes the power of the individual who’s elected.

The presidential campaigns have become a personality contest. That’s not very helpful to good government.

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