This is a really strange presidential election cycle.  I don’t think anyone has seen such a bizarre landscape – ever.  On the right, you have a multi-billionaire insulting his way to the lead…on the left you have a 74 year old socialist challenging someone who could theoretically be in prison this time next year.  Let’s get to the meat of this article, shall we?

In the right corner, we have:

  1. Senator Ted Cruz
    • The skinny – most reviled person in the senate it seems in his first term.  He was elected to stir the pot, and indeed he has done this.  Love him or hate him, he is a ridiculously skilled orator and constitutional scholar who graduated from Harvard
    • The pros – His intellect.  However, this didn’t do much for Newt Gingrich over the years either.  He might be able to serve some Texas style justice to Putin…but it could also backfire in a cold war.  Whereas a Trump might hit Putin in the wallet, Cruz might arm Poland and Turkey and start a new cold war.
    • The cons – in the scenario above, his major weakness is revealed as prideful.  This is the type of person who escalates before calculating the results, which is how Trump was able to counter-punch him on the New York values comment.  It’s also why the left fears that all Republicans are going to get us involved in wars everywhere.  He’s also very much hated within Congress.  He appears smug, which to me is not very endearing.  Born in Canada, which might raise issues of “natural born citizen” as there is a lawsuit now filed in Texas to try and clear up the matter.
  2. Governor John Kasich
    • The skinny – he’s Ohio’s governor and former congressman for a lot of years.  Seems like a decent guy, but a lot of what he says revolves around 4-5 talking points he keeps saying over…and over…and over.
    • The pros – He appears somewhat moderate enough that people in the middle or middle left could be ok with him.  Experience as an executive and in Washington.
    • The cons – what might be killing him are superficial, but nonetheless, still hurting him.  One is his hands seems to move and gyrate too much..it’s distracting.  If I have to watch him “lift up” people again, I’m going to throw something at the TV.  The second thing is that it seems like he comes unhinged.  Like it’s not “cool” to be thoughtful this year, everyone has to increase their volume and yell to the audience in anger.  It seems he might have the meat to be VP because he’s not been in anyone’s crosshairs and he could carry a purple state.
  3. Governor Chris Christie
    • The skinny – he got elected as a republican governor in a traditionally blue state, which is impressive.  No nonsense style of communication has drawn bth praise and scowls as he can be depicted as a bully.
    • The pros – he’s done a lot of union busting and restructuring of pension plans in New Jersey.  He’s been lambasted by many union folks because of this, but he’s right.  He can hold a room.  When Sandy happened, he was shaking hands with Obama – I know now Obama is rat poison to be associated with, but in a non-political landscape, I really liked how he was able to work with people outside of his own party to get things done.  Poll numbers have been better as of late.  Got a key endorsement in New Hampshire.  Allowed his state to pass gay marriage – said he was personally against it, but it was the will of the people and he would not stand in the way of it.  Bravo to him for this.
    • The cons – bridge gate was the start of his problems.  People seem to make fun of his weight, which apparently is the last class of people in this country who can be made fun of without anyone calling them on it.  He has taken off a lot of weight, but it then gives them pause – can he not control his own life….how will he run the presidency?  This is more perception than reality, as if someone who is fat is then lazy with his job.  Gross misjudgment of character, but these perceptions and the late night comedians joking about it don’t do him any service.  Many people are put off by his “sit down and shut up” style.  Lastly, New Jersey’s economy isn’t doing great it seems after all of the cuts made dealing with pension issues I heard.  If he can’t run New Jersey’s economy effectively, how will he run the country’s?
  4. Senator Marco Rubio
    • The skinny – Jeb Bush appeared to be a mentor of his.  When Jeb’s turn came up in the Bush family to run for Pres, Marco decided to jump ahead his turn and run against his mentor.  He has a lot of fire.  Could be a solid VP candidate for a Trump type of president due to Hispanic vote
    • The pros – great orator.  Fire.  Good debate skills.
    • The cons – too religious for my tastes, but this plays well for the evangelical groups out there.  Did not like him stabbing Jeb in the back it seems.  While he seems to talk a lot, I don’t have memorable quotes from him.   He also had some weird questions about charges on a card when he was in Florida’s house, but it seemed to be resolved.  Too young it seems – while Kennedy, Obama, and Clinton were very young, GOP candidates tend to be old white guys.  This guy might be back in the conversation 4, 8, or 12 years from now, being only 44 now.
  5. Governor Jeb Bush
    • The skinny – you know his dad and brother were presidents.  His candidacy is being dragged down by the bungling of the Bush 2 administration over numerous issues.  He’s not really able to shake his brother’s shadow.  On the plus side, he could not have thought his brother was a great president, and I give him credit for not going after his brother’s legacy in order to score political points – but it puts him in a no win situation.
    • The pros – executive experience, family name, seems like a genuinely good person, lots of connections.  Can appear more moderate than the Cruz/Rubio/Carsons of the world.
    • The cons – as mentioned above, can’t shake his last name.  Was once labeled as “the smart brother”, but has miserably failed to deliver on that.  I’m not great at speaking in front of people, but I can write some decent shit at times.  He may be brilliant with analysis, or even working with a board room…but in the debates, often he comes off as flustered, pissed off, on somewhat incoherent.  Not sure I’d fare good at all in a debate setting like that, but I’m also not running for the free leader of the world.
  6. Ben Carson
    • The skinny – Brilliant neurosurgeon.  Thoughtful.  Poised.  Quiet.  No political experience and foreign policy is…a foreign concept.  While being an MD requires tremendous aptitude, it might not translate well to other professions.
    • The pros – seems thoughtful.  Occasionally, he really says something amazing.
    • The cons – too many to list, but the debates over time have revealed his many flaws as a serious candidate.  His numbers started tanking when the controversy about his book came to light with him stabbing someone in the belt buckle who may or may not exist.  While he may have had some brilliant sound bites…he also had equal amount of incoherent dribble coming out of his mouth.  When you don’t know what to say, scare them.  Next thing you know he’s talking about ISIS blowing a nuke up in our atmosphere to disable our power grid and I think immediately everyone went to tin-foil hat land.  I work in the cybersecurity field….but ISIS doing that isn’t really on the radar of their capabilities.  It just seems like he’s out of material and throwing shit against a wall now to see what sticks.
  7. The Donald
    • The skinny – multi-billionaire who has sort of plotted this trajectory for 30 years.  He wanted Bush Sr to pick him as VP in 1988.  Thoughtful, yet brash.  Insulting, yet genuine.  Boastful, yet correct.
    • The pros – many.  Has been destroying others in polls for 6 months.  Everyone has predicted his demise time and time again and he keeps getting higher in the polls.  First, he is not acting politically correct, which is a big turn on for a lot of people who are so afraid to get sued over an off color joke.  Second, you had the media portraying him as saying something he clearly did not say – which then launched him in the polls where it seemed the media was out to get him.  Third, you have substance which largely makes sense.  Fourth, even die hard liberals would agree with him living in NYC his whole life, he’s no threat to any social liberal policies on the books.  Fifth, he appears capable of handling the economy at a macro level and running the presidency like a board room.
    • The cons – he has to act more presidential.  I heard him today insulting Glenn Beck for endorsing Cruz.  I mean he really launched into him.  There’s no need to insult Glenn Beck.  Trump may have found a formula he’s sticking with, I just think he’s so far ahead in the GOP polls, that he has to start looking presidential if he wants to be either Dem for the presidency.

Overall – GOP was a field of 16, I have reduced it to those at the debates the other night.  The GOPs main themes seem to be getting rid of Obamacare, strengthening the military, and bringing jobs back to America that actually pay $15 per hour without government intervention.  They are obviously pro gun, anti-abortion, but in the national election neither of these two issues will be a big deal.

 

In the left corner, we have

  1. Bernie Sanders
    • The skinny – self described Socialist.  74 years old.  Rising in the polls.  Strongly supports $15 minimum wage.
    • The pros – I could listen to him talk for hours on end.  I don’t agree with his positions on some things, but his cadence…his passion…it’s genuine.
    • The cons – 74 years old.  Socialist…which even moderate right folks will run to the polls in droves to ensure that doesn’t happen.  Right-right congress, and his policies are far, far left.  Won’t actually be able to get most of his radical plans done.  Talks about free education, $15 per hour minimum wage – his ideas seems to be a lot of giving out things to people for “free” by taxing the wealthiest folks much higher.  Wealth re-distribution.  That’s not really going to fly with a lot of folks.  $15 per hour to work at McDonald’s will not work either.  Lots of ideas that are utopian….good man…not practical ideas.
  2. Secretary Clinton
    • The skinny – former first lady, NY senator, secretary of state during one of the worst disasters a Secretary of State could go through.  Well connected.  Ran for this against Obama in 2008.  Could be first female president ever.
    • The pros – when you listen to her, she is practical..she is reasonable.  She is extremely brilliant, and an impeccable communicator.  Has the resume for the job with Secretary of State exposing her for foreign policy experience.  Has a pretty experience confidant at home to ask for advice, if she needs it.  I was a big fan of hers in 2008 until Obama moved me with his speeches.
    • The cons – republicans HATE her.  She is evil incarnate.  Her problems revolve around trust, where a lot of people don’t trust the Clintons.  Remember “slick Willie”?  Her email scandal is real folks.  For someone who works in the DoD and has clearances (and works in cybersecurity), what she has done to bypass the system is not really acceptable and she will find herself in a Petraeus situation and be ineligible to run for president.  This is a fact folks, you just don’t know it yet.  In case you live under a rock, she decided she didn’t want to use the federally-protected email system which has probably 200-300 of the best and brightest minds in the DC area protecting….and she decided to get a contractor to get her own email server – which was stored in his bathroom closet folks.  His bathroom closet.  Then, messages would come in on the secure systems, and her people, using their email accounts on her server, would type in summaries of the information to then pass to her within her email system.  That’s called spillage folks.  It’s a crime to the degree this was done.  Of course it wasn’t labeled as “top secret”…it’s because her people wrote the email from the equivalent of a gmail account.   Do you see any SECRET or TOP SECRET buttons on your gmail account?  No?  Yeah…now you know why Hillary is saying “but none of them were marked as top secret”.  No kidding.  They  extrapolated information from a SECRET network and transposed it to a non-secret network.  It’s called spillage.  To her degree of doing this, it’s either blatant disregard for how to handle sensitive information or incompetence – neither I can tolerate.
  3. Who?  Yeah…we’ll skip O’Malley

Overall – the left side keeps talking about what they can give you for “free”….free healthcare, free college, we’ll get you $15 hour minimum wage.  The problem is, “free” isn’t “free”.  The appeal here is younger voters who are 24 might find some appeal to this – they just went to Brown, got a Philosophy degree for $240,000 in loans, now they realize they cannot possible pay it back with minimum wage jobs.  These people did not plan out their actions, and want others to be accountable for their mistakes  – meaning, force richer individuals to pay for your college mistake?  Is that fair?  Your philosophy degree can’t really get you a job anywhere that pays decent, so you’re living with your parents making minimum wage and $15 per hour sounds great?  Yeah…it’s a pipe dream.

 

The winner….Trump

Why?  The GOP message of accountability seems to negate Tyler’s student loan debts. Trumps messages about reducing costs by using efficiencies found in the business world can reduce expenses…and thus reduce taxes…thus giving the poorest of people more money in the bank.  Rather than artificially making $15 per hour McDonald’s jobs, Trump seems to want to actually bring back those factory jobs because he seems to understand how money works a lot better than the lawyers who run Washington.   While something like gay marriage could be been a swaying vote in 2004 against Kerry, then in 2012 for Obama….there doesn’t appear to be an emotional issue yet which could “trump” a lot of platforms.

 

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