There is a Republican presidential candidate who is a black belt master at political campaign grandstanding. During primaries it is what you say, not what you mean that often gets most press. Primaries are where candidates can make outrageous statements with little consequence just to get ones name in the press and digital media. That is exactly what one candidate who had a reality program and made his fortune largely based upon bluffing is doing with great regularity. If done skillfully and boldly and targeted towards a specific audience it can gain strong support from that group and especially a lot of press attention as happens. This candidate has decided to target his campaign towards some very conservative and dissatisfied groups and is saying things he knows are very emotionally charged issues with them. I am leaving his name out of this post because I do not want to give him any more name recognition than he has already received.
Political campaigns have always been about grandstanding and talking about things that will get votes. But this candidate has taken political grandstanding to far greater heights. This may be the forerunner of more of such campaigns in the future. It is being turned into a reality show media frenzy where an individual’s wealth and brashness might buy him the White House.
I am most concerned that his reality show format has succeeded in making him by far the most popular among a dozen or so Republican candidates thus far so his strategy seems to be working. I am disappointed that so many Americans seem so consumed by fear and insecurities manifested in hate and islamophobia living in the most powerful nation on earth that grasp at his political coat tail as if trying to keep their heads above the floodwaters of despair.
But once this candidate enters the general election he will likely have to use another strategy which is more mainstream if he is to gain the votes of less extreme conservative members of his party and abandon his former supporters. He does what is most expedient to win because that is in the end all that counts in this really show. The problem he now faces is that either people love him or hate him even within his own party. In the general elections he will lose most the conservative to moderate Republican votes and gain none of the Democratic vote if he continues his current rhetoric. He will only gain the extreme right-wing votes.
But the power of the White House will draw him like an irresistible prize that must be won at all cost. I suspect he has little idea what to do if actually elected as President of the White House and incidentally of the United States. To him it is all about winning. But this will not be unique. Others before him have had the same lack of vision.
So he will likely change his tone and may even abandon the extreme right-wing once the Republican candidate since he really does not have any hard principles other than winning. As a matter of fact it is hard to determine what he actually believes. I feel that this candidate is all about power in business and in politics. He will do whatever he needs to keep up his popularity and power. This is a little like Vladimir Putin who is doing whatever he can to gain the popularity of the Russian people.
This candidate is a great unknown and if elected president will initially cause a huge crash in the stock market which hates big unknown factors. He is basically a conservative and quite pro-business. But it is hard to judge how extreme he is. He gives the impression of a very impulsive person. But with many advisors to guide him through his presidency and having far greater consequences for his actions he will likely be more responsible.
My greatest concern is that he may set a precedent for such extreme and grandstanding campaign styles and turn political campaigns into circuses of multiple candidates bashing each other like a huge reality show.