In the Suburbs: As presidential primary season heats up, his patience is wearing down
Published 7:18 am, Saturday, February 6, 2016
The 2016 presidential horse race is on and a field of God knows how many wannabe candidates is off and running for the White House. In six or seven months, we’ll know who the two presidential and vice presidential candidates are and, just under three months from that point, we’ll have a new chief executive to lead our nation.
Now that the curtain has gone up and the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses are over, we at least know that Republican Ted Cruz and virtually tied Democratic opponents, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, look like the real contenders to beat. Since this is a non-partisan column, I will be making no predictions or judgments. Of course, I have my favorites in this already-volatile race. But let’s just say that for me the caucus results proved to be right on target in both parties (and a little more surprising on the Democratic side).
Now it’s on to New Hampshire and South Carolina. And primaries in other states, including Connecticut, will take place over the next few months. But if these caucuses in Iowa were any indication of the final outcome, I am hopeful that the eventual frontrunner on the Democratic side will emerge early. I also hope that the eventual Republican opponent will also be clear early in this race and both candidates will arrive at their two conventions this summer with the nominations sewed up and vice presidential nominees selected.
After South Carolina, I’d really like to tune out the inflated rhetoric, political claptrap and candidate bashing for at least a few months before the conventions and just look toward Election Day. Frankly, except for Rachel Maddow and her team on MSNBC, I can do without any other repetitive commentary. And I’m already tired of it.
All of these hopeful candidates are coming to an American electorate in 2016 that is angry, frustrated, disappointed in so many of its legislators and fed up with what Congress has and hasn’t done. According to the Associated Press, “In Iowa … candidates also faced an electorate that’s whiter, more rural and more evangelical than many states.”
Additional areas that face candidates are a lack of solutions to the gun-control issue, probably no action on immigration until after this election, gay rights and the unsettled health-care area. Those items will no doubt top the list of potential platform items. From my perspective, the coming presidential race could turn out to be the most volatile and unorthodox campaign in history.
Leading up to Iowa caucuses, I watched bits and pieces of all the debates and was still not convinced that either side put together convincing arguments. But I believe that by the time the actual campaign platform comes out at the conventions, both parties will be unified behind their nominees and the platforms. And I believe leaders on both sides of the congressional aisle will make solidarity and a strong, well-thought-out campaign strategy their cornerstones.
As a communications guy, I believe that what the American people have been watching and listening to for months is the early emergence of a public-relations strategy that will shape this race. We’ve been shocked and awed by Republican frontrunners ranting about immigration, Obamacare, gun control and the very different political landscape of Manhattan.
And we’ve done the same with the two more well-known Democratic candidates who have quietly tried to expound on more involvement from the little guys, free college tuition and other partisan philosophies.
And we’ve witnessed the media’s perceptions about each of the potential candidates change and evolve. That’s the allure of political public relations for me. Everything is so fluid that there will always be unexpected change, new ideas and details about candidates.
Now that I know who was victorious in Iowa, the run-up to New Hampshire is going to be about losing candidates trying to recoup losses and come back stronger than ever. But once the New Hampshire primary is over, I think the media will be framing the next chapters of this race clearly as candidates move to South Carolina.
And color me jaded, but when the South Carolina primary is over, I’ll be going into hibernation until the summer conventions. I just don’t have the patience to endure the rhetoric until the 2016 nominees hit the real campaign trail.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.