By Katie Kieffer
To win the White House, you must make all four bases in the game of political baseball. The Republican National Committee is trying to win by skipping the bases altogether—a recipe for striking out.
Winning the White House in 2016 is so close you can taste it. The problem is, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and his chummy club of elites have been secretly brooding over what to do if—gasp!—a grassroots candidate like Sen. Ted Cruz or Donald Trump wins the most delegates at this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
By Priebus’ own admission to TIME, as well as insider leaks to the Washington Post, we now know that GOP elites have been quietly meeting for months to discuss how to handle or broker the “problem” of an outpouring of support for Trump or Cruz in Cleveland.
“I’d have a certain disadvantage,” Trump said when asked about his prospects of winning a brokered national convention. “These kind of guys stay close. They all know each other. They want each other to win,” he said of the GOP elites.
We all know how the 2012 brokered election turned out, where the elites overrode the delegates to nominate Mr. Unelectable, Mitt Romney. Voters hunger for a strong leader—not a moderate flip-flopper. Here are the four bases the RNC must run if it hopes to win in 2016. As of now, the RNC is attempting to win without all four.
FIRST BASE: The Wizards of Words
“Do you speak any Spanish?” Barbara Walters asked Trump in a recent interview. “No. This is an English-speaking country, remember?” he answered.
Walters’ decision to ask Trump silly questions to “vet” him for the presidency is unsurprising. She’s a mainstream media fox. What is surprising is the RNC’s desire to pander to the Barbara Walters of the world more than its own media base.
I hate to break it to you, Mr. Priebus, but you’ll never win the White House without conservative media. America’s most-listened-to talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, rarely lets a day go by without criticizing the RNC’s efforts to win by running a moderate.
Rush is not alone. I tune into four-to-five major conservative talk radio shows a day and I can tell you that there is substantial support for Trump and Cruz on the airwaves. Meanwhile, very few hosts or callers are singing the praises of amnesty aficionado Jeb Bush and Common Core crusaders John Kasich and Chris Christie.
Last week, the RNC used its prime TV opportunity to present its plan for the future to trash its own all-stars: Trump and Cruz. In her official response to the State of the Union on behalf of the GOP, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley referred to Trump and Cruz as “the siren call of the angriest voices” whom “we must resist” the “temptation to follow.”
Haley admitted to Vogue in 2012 that she became drawn to politics after listening to Hillary Clinton speak. That’s right, Haley’s political muse is one of the angriest sirens in recent memory—most famous for screeching “What difference, at this point, does it make?!” in response to a question about the circumstances leading to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.
Haley is motivated by Clinton but might bristle when frontrunner Trump uses the word “anchor baby” in contrast to “American babies”—whom he plans to prioritize as president. Does that make sense? Bottom line, the RNC could have an abundance of support from talk radio and online conservative media—if the GOP elites would stop attacking their own star players.
SECOND BASE: Republican Voters
By maligning the policies espoused by Trump and Cruz, the RNC is also trying to win the White House by missing second base, namely its natural base of registered Republican voters.
The majority (54%) of Americans agree with Trump’s position on allowing Syrian refugees into our country, which is to disallow them until we have a proper vetting system. This is not surprising given what we know about the terrorists responsible for the November 2015 Paris attacks. Americans don’t want to see copycat attacks on their own soil.
“Ahmad al Muhammad,” was the fake name on the passport of one of Paris suicide bombers. Shortly after the attacks, evidence surfaced indicating that he had smuggled himself into Europe by blending in and feigning to be a destitute Syrian refugee. Europe’s porous borders have recently been crossed by hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum—including terrorists.
It’s unclear who the RNC is trying to appease by snubbing candidates who support strong borders in line with the wishes of most Republican voters. After all, the majority of Americans concur with Republican voters on the topic of Syrian refugees.
THIRD BASE: An Electable Candidate
Moderate Republicans are unelectable. We learned that the hard way in 2008 and again in 2012. Only the RNC didn’t learn the lesson. GOP elites are still employing the tried and failed tactic of running a Republican disguised as a Democrat.
The latest poll numbers show that the Republican frontrunners are Trump at 33% and Cruz at 20%. On the Democrat’s bench, Bernie Sanders is only two points behind Clinton.
Sanders’ appeal lies in his transparent agenda and passionate demeanor. His enthusiasm for socialism is akin to the energy that Barack Obama possessed on the campaign trail in 2008. (I know that makes you nauseous to read, but it’s true.) The way to beat Sanders is to run an equally passionate and transparent Republican. Jeb Bush could win as the president of the National Society of Wall Flowers—not as president of the world’s most electric and vivacious nation.
Don’t skip third base, RNC. Run a strong conservative candidate.
FOURTH BASE: Independent and Swing Voters
Young people like Trump and Cruz. Of all the political candidates, Trump has consistently received the highest rankings among young people who lean right. Furthermore, only one in four Millennials strongly supports bringing Syrian refugees into our country according to a brand new 2016 Ipsos Public Affairs survey. Less than one in four (19%) of Millennials rank “Immigration” among their top three national concerns. You won’t be surprised to hear that the economy and terrorism are Millennials’ top two concerns according to Ispos research.
At 95 million strong, the Millennial generation has the power to determine the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The RNC would be wise to start listening to what young people care about rather than trying to shove an unwanted message of amnesty down their throats. This will only cause them to defect in droves for Sanders.
Given a choice between a boring Republican with a penchant for flip-flopping and a passionate and consistent liberal, young voters will go with the latter every time.
Dear Mr. Priebus, take your committee out to the ball game! Buy them some peanuts and Cracker Jack! Share this column with them so they root, root for the home team and run all four bases. For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game!