Stanford Erickson is a resident of Vero Beach and author of “Mama’s Boy Presidents: Why Do We Keep Electing Them.” His website is http://www.StanfordErickson.com. This Op Ed piece was previously published in The Indian River Press Journal
LISTENING TO REPORTERS AND NEWS PUNDITS AT THE LAST REPUBLICAN DEBATE IN MILWAUKEE, I was surprised how they concentrated on the performance of each candidate and how well each of the candidates articulated their policy differences with one another.
Naturally, this is important but there were three other aspects that needed to be touched upon.
• One, can the candidate win the Republican primary?
• Two, can the candidate wrestle the U.S. presidency away from the Democratic Party?
• Three, can the candidate beat Hillary Rodham Clinton?
After nearly seven years of President Barack Obama, most Republicans assume the majority of voters feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. There is reason for this. The country has experienced the slowest economic recovery from a recession in modern times. Obamacare generally has alienated the medical profession, and we patients are feeling the brunt of that.
The world has become a much more dangerous place primarily because President Obama considers it less than egalitarian for the U.S. to take a leadership position in the world.
Those of us who thought an African-American president would bring black and white races closer together discovered we have a president who actually has fermented disunity and mistrust among the races.
For example, he informed us that Travyon Martin could have been “his son.” The sons of all of us are a president’s sons.
Yet Obama must be doing something right because the Democratic Party is following his lead and moving further left than he. Obama has endeared himself by giving the voters a lot of free things. The Congressional Budget Office reports that 60 percent of U.S. households now receive more in federal transfer income than they pay in total taxes.
Bernie Sanders pledges to up the ante by an estimated $18 trillion in augmented entitlements over ten years, forcing Clinton to also offer free things like college tuition, college loan forgiveness and child day care centers for working parents.
So it would appear it might be difficult wrestling the presidency from the Democrats’ magnanimity when most Republican presidential candidates generally favor fiscal austerity and reducing the level of entitlements to voters.
In addition, it will be difficult wrestling the voters away from electing a Democratic president while the Democrats keep majorities in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.
All of these media meccas greatly influence “fly over” areas of the country through national television broadcasts originating in these major Democratic-dominated cities. Media people in these cities are surrounded by Democrats. It’s not so much that these big-city media elite have a bias, it’s that they are conditioned to think that policies espoused by the Democratic Party are indisputable.
Finally, whatever Republicans think, Hillary Clinton is going to be a formidable candidate. How can that be?
Wasn’t it documented at the recent congressional hearings on Benghazi that she emailed her daughter the night of the attack and emailed the next day to two foreign leaders that she believed the attack was caused by Islamic militants? But over the next few weeks, she parroted the fictitious administration party line that an American-made video apparently caused the spontaneous attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Polls show the majority of Americans don’t think Clinton is trustworthy. But that doesn’t mean Democrats and independents won’t vote for her. For most Democrats and many independents, social and cultural issues trump being a trustworthy candidate.
Also, the congressional hearings indicated Hillary Clinton has schooled herself to keep her cool. The more I watched her being interrogated for 11 hours at the Congressional hearings, the more I thought she had appropriately transformed herself into Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire cat, with her wide bemused eyes and condescending smile.
Given all these obstacles, I think the Republicans are facing a very difficult task in winning the presidency in 2016.