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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Democrat-lite equals loss in 2016

Donald Trump made a splash at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, arriving triumphantly in his personal helicopter and even offering kids rides on it after his speech. Would he still let them ride if they’d told him they were for Jeb Bush?
Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush (on Friday), Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were there too, but it was Trump who was clearly the star of the show.

Trump enjoys a sizable lead in Iowa polls – but popularity in August doesn’t always translate to a win in the caucuses. Just ask Michele Bachmann. (For the latest Fox national poll, click here.)

One observer Trump probably wouldn’t let ride on his copter anytime soon is New York Times columnist David Brooks, who recently not only claimed Trump’s not a conservative, but predicted that his “low information” supporters wouldn’t show up to vote for The Donald in the primaries.

Brooks added (as reported by Ian Hanchett of Breitbart), “He’s at the moment where the country wants some sort of weird insurgency with a lot of ego. And that’s him. And so he’s at the moment of the times, but I don’t think those people are going to show up. And he’ll just hang around at 20 percent forever, but somebody will eventually beat him.”

If Trump is demanding respect in return for a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee, he’s not getting it from establishment characters like Brooks.

But we also have to remember Brooks is characteristic of the snobby elitist media who discounts Trump and the fed-up mood of grassroots conservatives in this country. He may have an argument that Trump’s support has a firm ceiling, but here’s betting Brooks is wrong about them showing up to vote.

If people care enough to go to campaign rallies by the thousands, chances are they’ll be there when it comes time to cast a ballot.

The Donald also seems to be doing something about opponents’ attacks on the lack of substance to his policy proposals. For example, he’s now working with conservative leader Sen. Jeff Sessions on immigration policy.

As reported by Julia Hahn of Breitbart, “Sen. Sessions, Chairman of the Senate’s Immigration Subcommittee, is widely regarded as the gold standard on immigration. Sessions has also become the intellectual thought leader in the Republican Party on appealing to the blue collar voters who have been abandoned by their political leaders.”

Hahn continues, “If Trump outlines immigration policy specifics along the lines of what Sessions has articulated, polling data suggests that it will not only position Trump to perform well in the Republican primary, but also in the general election.”

You mean people actually pay attention to a candidate’s proposals? David Brooks doesn’t think so.

Lastly on Trump, though he may be getting deeper into policy, he’s not letting up on his opponents. Jonathan Easley of The Hill reports, “The real estate mogul and reality TV star mocked Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) height, warned Carly Fiorina not to publicly challenge him, and jabbed at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush over an early campaign stumble about whether he would invade Iraq.”

Here’s another look at Trump’s New Hampshire speech where he took the opportunity to jab at his fellow Republican competitors.

Opinions vary on the phenomenon that is Donald Trump. But there’s no denying that he’s in it to win and will be heard, one way or another.

Fiorina touts religious liberty

Conservatives still have a lot to learn on where Carly Fiorina stands on a number of issues, but she’s clear when it comes to the rights of parents to make decisions on their children’s welfare.

As reported by Eliza Collins in Politico, when asked about mandatory vaccinations in Iowa, Fiorina replied, “First of all, we must protect religious liberty and someone’s ability to practice their religion. We must devote energy and resources to doing so, period. When in doubt, it is always the parents’ choice.”

For such a revolutionary position, Fiorina drew the ire of George Pataki on Twitter. Ouch, that hurts.

While not a huge issue for many, how a candidate feels on vaccinations gives some insight on how he or she views government’s role in general. Common sense says kids should be vaccinated for most things – but should the government compel them to do it?

Fiorina doesn’t think so.

Ron Paul to the rescue

Just like Carly, Rand Paul got into a bit of a tiff earlier this year over the vaccination issue when he too questioned whether the government should be making them mandatory.

It’s a libertarian position that would be expected from Paul. Fiorina can say it without the media jumping all over her, but Rand apparently can’t. Such is life for Rand, who’s been having a rough time of it lately.

Help may be on the horizon, however, as Ron Paul is coming to the rescue. The elder Paul hasn’t said a whole lot since Rand launched his official presidential campaign, but he’s now come out with a statement wholeheartedly endorsing his son and called for the Liberty movement to get behind him.

Rand’s presidential run has a long way to go to generate the kind of energy and enthusiasm that his dad’s campaigns did in 2012 and 2008. Maybe it means we’ll be seeing more of Ron at Rand rallies as well.

Ben Carson and ‘Black Lives Matter’

Ben Carson has let it be known on several occasions that he doesn’t indulge in political correctness and that includes refusing to bow to left-wing movements like “Black Lives Matter.”

Joseph Weber of Fox News reports, “Carson told Fox News on Thursday he doesn’t agree with the groups' apparent strategy of forcing a meeting or their agenda upon 2016 candidates, by either disrupting or threatening to disrupt a campaign-related event.”

“Black Lives Matter” disrupted a Jeb Bush rally in Nevada but thus far has avoided other Republican candidates’ events, preferring to focus on those of Democrats Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley.

If anything, Carson would probably get a lot of attention from such a confrontation – which would likely be viewed positively in conservative circles. Maybe that’s why the left-wingers are staying away.

Jeb Bush ditches George W. on Social Security and Iraq

Jeb Bush is spending a lot of time these days trying to contrast his views with those of his still unpopular brother. As two leading Republican establishment figures as well as prominent members of the Bush family dynasty, they’re virtually indistinguishable – largely because it looks like neither one really has any principled positions on issues.

Jeb first tried to set himself apart on the Iraq War. Now he’s backtracking on Social Security. Jeb has said in the past that he’s in favor of allowing individuals to save for their own retirements -- some might call it “privatizing.” Now he’s not.

Jeb faces a difficult dilemma. Sticking close enough to his brother’s legacy to keep the former president’s fans on board yet setting enough distance between them so as to not alienate the rest of the voters (a much larger group, by the way).

Poor Jeb.

Cruz: Democrat-lite equals loss in 2016

Finally, one candidate without any such dilemma or lack of specificity on where he stands is Ted Cruz.

Cruz has been touring the south as part of his long-run strategy to capture the Republican nomination.

At every stop, he’s been saying, "If we nominate Democrat-lite, we will lose again."

True words of wisdom, indeed.

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Trump and Cruz

Trump and Cruz are the best choices at this point, IMO.