February 29, 2016 8:00 AM
To borrow loosely from Sherlock Holmes and his process of deductive reasoning, if you remove all of the other candidate possibilities as either unacceptable or impossible, the individual you are left with, no matter the challenges he or she faces ahead, must be the best choice to vote for on Super Tuesday. This may or may not be “elementary,” but it helps clear an anxious voter’s mind.
Like many voters leading up to tomorrow’s Republican Presidential Primary, I had to start over in my selection process after my first choice dropped out of the race. I started with looking at only three criteria – positive vision, political temperament, and experience – but reality could not be ignored at this point in the political season and a fourth issue of electability had to be considered. Applying these four criteria helped me clear the field in selecting not only my choice in tomorrow’s primary but the strongest Republican ticket this November.
Positive Vision: In politics one can choose to campaign by multiplication or division. Donald Trump would lead by the latter. His opponents are not just the wrong choices; they are immoral, stupid, lazy, weak, or simply short. In the course of this campaign, he has insulted Hispanics, POW veterans, women, Muslims, etc. in an attempt to prey upon and manipulate the darker and more desperate emotions of the electorate. Because of this, Mr. Trump should be told he is fired (yes, it’s a cliché, but I just could not help myself) and sent to the side-show carnivals, hustling infomercials, and shouting reality shows where he is better suited.
Political Temperament: Legendary humorist Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like. Will Rogers never met a man like Ted Cruz. The Senator is running on the Hollywood Western myth of the lone lawman riding into town and single-handedly cleaning up corruption. Real life does not work that way. Yes, we need a leader but we need a posse as well and Ted Cruz has proven incapable of working well with others. No doubt, he has brains and passion but more is needed. A defeat this year will not finish him politically but it may – hopefully — provide him with the necessary humility to return to the Senate, repair burned bridges, and become an effective conservative public servant. Until then, we need to let him ride off alone into the sunset.
Experience: Ben Carson has a brilliant medical mind and a compassionate conservative heart but the presidency is not an entry-level position into politics. He would make a great cabinet officer or Surgeon General but more political experience is needed to successfully handle the presidency.
Electability: It is hard not to admire John Kasich. Throughout his political career he has shown how to effectively govern successfully as a conservative. He believes in pulling people together and tackling head on real world problems –but for some reason he has gained little political traction in the race for the Republican nomination. He demonstrated promise in New Hampshire but dropped like a rock in South Carolina finishing fifth. As a result, a vote for John Kasich on Tuesday only strengthens Donald Trump’s march to the Republican nomination and that is unacceptable. It’s better to hold Governor Kasich in the wings for the Vice Presidential spot in the General Election where his style — and his home in pivotal Ohio — is likely to be greater appreciated by a broader electorate.
This leaves us with Marco Rubio who I will vote for on Tuesday but not just because Sherlock Holmes’ reasoning led me here. Senator Rubio can capture the imagination of the American electorate and make us proud of our vote with his optimistic conservative message. As Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and U.S. Senator he has proven that he can build the necessary relationships needed to be successful. As a presidential candidate he has shown toughness when he got knocked down in New Hampshire but came back strong in South Carolina. While he does not have the day-to-day governing experience that a governor would have, his background and broad endorsements demonstrate he can pull men and women of talent together to form a strong governing team — and he can demonstrate that quickly and clearly at the Republican Convention by putting John Kasich on the ticket with him.
Rubio/Kasich 2016. Now that is a strong Republican team who can win in November. Let’s go for it.