Will undecided voters impact Trump lead in South Carolina?
South Carolina voters will head to the polls on Saturday to cast a vote in the GOP presidential primary. Judging preferences by questioners at the Thursday Town Hall featuring Jeb Bush, Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), and Donald Trump, a fair amount of voters may still be undecided.
A Wednesday Town Hall featured Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL).
I know exactly how those undecided voters feel.Polls on South Carolina at Real Clear Politics suggest Trump remains the clear frontrunner. Cruz is in second place with Rubio nipping at his heels. The same status applies to the candidates nationally.
At present, I don’t pay much attention to polls matching a Republican against the Democrat nominee who will, barring a miracle, be Hillary Clinton. The GOP field stands at six candidates right now, so the votes are split six ways while Dems’ are split between two.
As I pointed out in a previous column, Mrs. Clinton has a definite political edge via manipulation of her party’s super delegates regardless of how future primaries turn out. Democrats seem bent on erecting a Clinton dynasty, an oddity in a nation founded to avoid rule by royalty.
As I’ve said before, I think the GOP field will eventually winnow to Trump, Cruz, and Rubio.
Trump has drawn more attention from media, with many anti-Trump pundits claiming media are biased towards him. That isn’t true. Trump’s speeches, off the cuff and deliberately non-politically correct, naturally draw coverage. We live in a click-bait age, like it or not.
When you have the pope, obviously a fan of the US Democrat Party, attack you and anyone else agreeing with your border security proposal, that guarantees media coverage.
As a sidenote, media say this cycle for both parties is a circus. The Vatican appears to be a circus at present too.
Because Trump responded gracefully to the pope’s political attack, I believe it actually mobilized bias for Trump rather than against him.
South Carolina media say Trump is the reason a record turnout is expected for the GOP, because so many want to vote for or against him. In the Thursday Town Hall moderated by Anderson Cooper, Trump drew the trickiest questions while Ohio Gov. Kasich pretty much drew love taps and former Florida Gov. Bush drew standard policy questions.
Kasich, for fiscal conservatives and those who believe the federal government should align with powers in the US Constitution, is a turnoff. He seems to have a federal policy for everything and I do not believe he will reduce government even if he reduces government jobs. His expansion of health insurance programs for the bottom quintile of earners (or non-earners, for that matter) is debatable when it comes to cost. The libertarians at Cato took a dim view of it, but there’s a counter argument you can study at Annenberg’s Fact Check, a site I consider somewhat biased to left of center.
Bush’s challenging issues are his family’s power comprising the fact two of his kin have already served as president in the last 27 years, and his position on migration and border security perceived as left of center. However, in the Thursday Town Hall, Bush’s ideas on health insurance reform, criminal justice reform, and downsizing the federal work force made a lot of sense. In that Town Hall, Bush came off more like he did when he was a popular governor instead of the reserved, often wonkish personality we’ve seen during this cycle.
Trump was a different matter. He dodged and deflected when an audience member resurrected the argument over whether former president George W. Bush “lied” about reasons for putting troops on the ground in Iraq. Trump has adopted the GOP goal to remove restrictions across states for purchasing health insurance.
Republicans should also consider what we consumers already know. Permit us to choose our coverage criteria instead of mandating what coverage we are forced to purchase. Above all, remove the tax on our bodies. That is unconstitutional and anyone who hasn’t had a lobotomy should agree.
During the Town Hall Trump was simply Trump, often digressing and providing more information than we are accustomed to hearing from politicians. That, however, is a plus to many voters who aren’t in the political class.
Trump has a singular edge just as Dr. Ben Carson does. Neither man has ever served in office, so even if they took a previous position at odds with conservatives in the GOP, neither of them has ever cast a single vote or determined policy on any level. No one else on the debate stage, including the stage for Democrats, can claim that.
For Trump to lose South Carolina, every major poll—8 of them at least—would have to be seriously skewed. I do not believe that many can be wrong, and I believe the polls are fairly trustworthy because this is a primary not a caucus.
Trump has gained popularity partly because Republicans and leaners have pretty much had it with politicos who have engaged us in expensive, nonproductive wars, raised our taxes, tanked the values of our home, and required us twice (first Clinton then Bush 43) to bail out financial interests. Standard stump speeches, even if delivered with Obama-like skill, do not cut the mustard nowadays. Dem contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) proves that as well.
Non-interventionist Michael Scheuer with whom I find myself at odds over some matters summed up the situation in a manner that will resonate with many disaffected voters. Those many view as the establishment, according to Scheuer, “passionately hate Trump because they have not been able to buy him — as they have purchased Clinton, Rubio, Cruz, and Bush — and fear that a President Trump might put America first and let the world go its own way so long as the United States is not attacked.”
The Palmetto State holds the first in the South primary.
As South Carolinians go to the polls on Saturday, I will be thinking about my home state although I left more than a decade ago. If I were there, I’d be voting too.
Thing is, even at this late date, despite my daily immersion in federal politics, I am still not sure whose name I would bubble in. Trump, Cruz, or Rubio? Therein lies the decision for many.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 29, 2016)