Playing the Long Game in Republican Politics

Chess is a difficult game; it requires you to be able to see several moves ahead of your opponent. It requires a mind that can effectively anticipate their opponent’s moves and prepare to counter them before the game is even executed. The further ahead you can see, the better your performance will be. In short, people who win at the game of Chess are playing the long game.

I don’t know a lot of Trump supporters, but the few I’ve run into, the conversation comes down to one thing:

Who can win the general election?

Presidential candidates and the media alike, as a general rule, trust poll data far too much. So, when we look at poll data, we don’t want to get lost in the numbers because oftentimes they are skewed at least a little bit. Polling companies often have their own political bias that will cause their numbers to shift in a particular direction, intentionally or not.

I didn’t really have the intention of talking a lot about this concept, but this poll that was just released is making me talk about it (I encourage you to read the poll, but for an easy read, look here).

As I said, take it with a grain of salt, but know that polls have come out consistently that show Trump being trumped by Clinton. The polls with Trump against Sanders are slightly less disparaging, but still very bad. With that said, here are the polls for the other GOP candidates…

Cruz vs. Clinton (Clinton winning until February, now Cruz winning)
Cruz vs. Sanders (Cruz with slight advantage until February, now Sanders winning)

Carson vs. Clinton (Clinton winning, Carson gets slight edge in September, Clinton pulls ahead after)
Carson vs. Sanders (Carson winning until November, Sanders pulls ahead after)

Rubio vs. Clinton (Clinton winning until November, Rubio pulls ahead after)
Rubio vs. Sanders (Rubio winning until February, Sanders pulls ahead after)

Kasich vs. Clinton (Clinton winning until February, Kasich pulls ahead after)
Kasich vs. Sanders (No discernible trend)

We must be aware that polling data almost always leans left. Additionally, historical polling information suggests a trend in which GOP candidates gain support as election season progresses (we can see the flip slowly occurring presently in the polling data, save for Trump’s).
Some GOP candidates who won after initially polling lower than the Democratic candidate:

  • Ronald Reagan vs. Jimmy Carter
  • George H.W. Bush vs. Michael Dukakis
  • George W. Bush vs. Al Gore
  • George W. Bush vs. John Kerry

This isn’t a perfect rule, so don’t think that I’m suggesting the correlation signals a GOP win in election season. I just want you all to be more forgiving of those polling poorly against Clinton or Sanders.

Here’s the problem, Trump is not in a good position. So many Republican aligned voters are turning to Trump as their salvation when he is the least likely to deliver in the general election.

Cruz is the only other candidate who has won in the primaries thus far. For Super Tuesday, Cruz’s and Rubio’s polling numbers are a dead heat (although, New Hampshire’s polls prior to the primary showed Rubio winning and Cruz pulled ahead in the final). There is only one way to conquer Trump at this point and prevent us from losing the general election to Clinton or Sanders: Cruz and Rubio unite under one ticket; Kasich and Carson drop out.

I don’t believe that we will necessarily lose to the democrats at this point, but there are only a few things you need to know about your voting habits on this historic Super Tuesday.

  1. A vote for Carson or Kasich is a vote for Trump
  2. A vote for Trump is a vote for a Democrat president

Republicans who vote for Carson, Kasich, or Trump are not playing the long game. They don’t really want to win, they just want to vote. If we have more Republicans playing the long game at the voting booth today, we will see either Rubio or Cruz as winners. If you are voting today, think long and hard about who you want in the Oval Office.

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