Aug 2, 2015

Can a Trump Ticket Win The Presidency?

Current polls show Trump as leading the Republican field for the Presidential nomination.  Those same polls also show that Trump would lose to a Hillary Clinton ticket.  To further complicate things there is division within the Republican party on Trump.  Some fully support him regardless of his past comments and stands and others point to those comments and stands to say he is just "playing" Republican but is really a Democrat.  Those people may need to remember that even Reagan was a Democrat at one time.

Regardless of what the polls say right now or the feelings within the party, the old saying must be applied that says "It ain't over until it's over".  The fact is we are a long way away from the elections and anyone could get the nomination for either party.  Another fact is that those polls showing Hillary Clinton defeating Trump do not take into account running mates.  A running mate can make or break you on several fronts.

When it comes to running mates, consider the last election.  The Democrat ticket had a Caucasian everyman type and an African American.  Voters could relate to the ticket.  Minorities could look to Obama and say, "he's for us!"  Voters could also look to Biden and say, "I bet I could have a beer with that guy!"  Democrats presented what in their mind, and apparently the voters as well, was a dream team.

Now, look at the Republican ticket.  Republicans put forth a former governor of a small northern state who happened to be rich,  and Caucasian.  The running mate was also from a northern state, Caucasian, and considered to be a rich, inside Washington guy.  Add the fact that neither of these candidates appeared to know how to talk to everyday folks and you have a disconnect with the voter.  In other words the ticket did not appeal to voters as much as the Democrat ticket did.

Fast forward to a potential Trump v Clinton battle.  Clinton has the advantage already.  She has a popular, former President as a husband, she's a woman, she has a long history of Washington service, and she brings an impressive resume along with supporters and potential cabinet members to the table.  Trump on the other hand appears to talk straight, he doesn't seem to play politics, and he knows how to run business....something our government as a whole does not appear to be able to do - if you don't believe me, just look at the shape of the United States Post Office compared to FedEx or UPS or any other delivery service.  Clinton alone has a clear advantage; however, a running mate decision could tip the balance.

For a moment disregard who Clinton might select as a running mate.  Let's just assume that it is someone from the political world - perhaps another Senator, etc.  Most people will not focus on her running mate.  Trump on the other hand will have a focus on who he selects.  If for example he selects another rich, upper class, person (whether in Congress or not) to run with him, he will likely lose the election.  However, that is not likely to happen with Trump.  Remember, Trump likes to win.  He has built a fortune on winning in business and he's not likely to turn that winning spirit off when it comes to selecting a running mate.  Trump will likely select a running mate who is considered the everyman, or who can connect with minorities, but at the same time has a strong service history in government.  He's going to look for a Colin Powell, Condoleezzza Rice, or a Marco Rubio as a running mate.  He's going to do the same thing that Obama did- he will look for a running mate that connects to people that he cannot or perhaps does not connect to as easily.

If Trump selects the right running mate, then the election will be anybody's at the end of the day.  Voters who call themselves Democrats, Republicans, or others and often vote for who they consider to be the best candidate regardless of party, will have a decision to make pending Trump's selection.  Naturally, party hardliners will vote for Trump regardless of his running mate just as Democrat hardliners will vote for Clinton no matter what her negative and questionable escapades have been in recent years.  

In the end, if Trump and Clinton receive the nominations from their parties, the battle will be for the undecided voter as it almost always has been.  That undecided voter will ultimately be more affected by the running mate selection of Trump than by Trump himself.  If Trump wins the nomination, he had better use that genius business mind of his to select a winning combination for the Republican ticket or American will be in for at least four more years of Democrat rule from the White House.