By Dr. Arthur Garrison
After three Super Tuesdays, the final three in the Republican Party are Trump, Cruz and Kasich. The insurgencies of Trump and Cruz have pushed out the vanity candidacies of Carly Fiorina and Christopher Christie, the never-had-a-chance candidacy of Ben Carson, and now the establishment candidate Marco Rubio has been dispatched.
It is undisputed that the two most likely candidates for the Republican Party nomination, especially after
Trump laid waste on the Rubio campaign by winning Rubio’s home state of Florida (45.8 percent to 27 percent), are Trump and Cruz. Although both have decimated the party establishment candidates, they share almost nothing else. Each represents a different and distinct insurgency and an approach to winning control of the party.
Trump offers a positive slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Cruz offers that he will blow up the Washington political cartel.
Both assert that America is weak, but they offer different answers to that weakness.
Trump offers masculinity and the ability to win in battle. Trump says, when attacked, fight back, and win the fight. Trump stands up for himself and he portrays that he will stand up for the American voter.
Trump not only rejects political correctness, he does so by not being held to political correctness in campaigning against his opponents. His rejection of political correctness has a purpose; it’s not just a campaign tag line.
Trump lets no attack go unanswered and he answers without political finesse. He responds to attacks by using common working class language. Trump publically takes victory laps over the bodies of his defeated political adversaries and promotes himself as a winner with a masculine force and tone demonstrating strength and the ability to win.
Cruz offers war with Republicans in Washington and then war with Clinton. The Cruz campaign is built upon the conservative theology of Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan. He represents the ideological wing of the Republican Party that resents the party establishment for its failure to stop the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
Cruz represents those who resent that the party did not resist and reverse the policies of Obama after gaining control of Congress in 2010 and 2014. He asserts that the policies of Reagan are the only policies that can revitalize America.
Cruz offers decades-old establishment social conservative solutions: reduce the influence of the federal government, states’ rights, tax cuts, deregulation and free trade. Cruz offers pure Reagan rhetoric that, “Government is the problem.”
Trump defines America’s problems as the failure to make government function, a slow economy, tamped down working class wages, and the belief that America has no victories. He says the problem is not the size of the federal government, but the incompetence of the people in it.
Trump wins with an apostasy on the Reagan dogma: Government is not the problem, the wrong people in government is the problem. With this apostasy in his mouth, Trump has won support of the Reagan coalition voters, which should have been Cruz-exclusive voters.
Trump is winning because he is a populist who offers combative economic nationalism to disaffected, angry, out of work, under employed, evangelical and low-skill working class voters across all other ideological political categories.
Trump, unlike Cruz, represents a broad coalition of various wings of the Republican Party along with non-republican voters. Trump represents the Midwest and rust belt disaffected industrial voters who have lost jobs due to globalization and Republican free trade policies.
As of Super Tuesday III, Trump is leading in delegates and in the number of states won. To the dismay of ideological conservative true believers, Trump is winning by reaching beyond their narrow constituencies.
Trump has gained the support of Christian conservatives who are more concerned about their economic success and the future of America than his ideological or religious authenticity.
Although the Republican establishment is organizing against him, Trump could win because he is winning non-conservative republicans and he is not ideologically opposed to working with both parties. Cruz is less likely to win because he has established that he is an absolutist who wants the presidency so he can rain down Armageddon on the political establishments of both parties and the ideological left.