This week’s question: What is one of your biggest takeaways from the Republican and Democratic Presidential primaries?
Tom Luna - Former Superintendent of Public Instruction. While this is by far the craziest election in my lifetime, I am convinced that this election will either be an anomaly or it’s a political pivot. Having said that, I do have three "takeaways" from the Presidential primaries:
- Voters are frustrated: Voters are fed up with a government that is broken and unresponsive to the electorate. Many are frustrated to the point that they are willing to take their chances with an untested candidate (even someone they disagree with on many issues) because they have no confidence that traditional candidates from traditional parties have the ability and/or desire to fix things.
- Campaign rhetoric isn't working: As one 30-something Republican voter (non-Trump supporter) told me "What they (candidates) say sounds good but my whole life I have heard the same thing from these people and nothing ever changes."
- The first party to figure this out wins: While the majority of the blame for this anger and frustration is rightfully placed at the feet of Pres. Obama. ALL leaders of ALL factions of the Republican Party must come to grips with the fact that, until we are willing to take the political risks necessary to actually solves the issues of big government, funded by over taxation, we (the Republican Party) will continue to decline in influence and power. We may win elections but we will not lead.
Phil Reberger - Partner, SULLIVAN & REBERGER. Before these primaries, it seemed to me I had “seen it all” in politics. In 1952, I got started in presidential politics by handing out I LIKE IKE buttons in my 6th grade class in Caldwell. I vividly remember attending the 1956 Republican National Convention with the Idaho delegation in the San Francisco Cow Palace and cheering for Ike and Dick. Over the years I attended several numerous Republican National Conventions. Yes, they were all different but they also had a familiar rhythm and predictable process.
But in rolls 2016 – conventional political wisdom evaporated in both major parties. The pundits, to a person, not only got it wrong – they blew it. The Washington “establishment” were blindsided and are still, deservedly, in stun mode. Bernie and The Donald have made history and the old campaign playbooks have been relegated to the Ancient History shelves.
Skip Smyser - CEO Lobby Idaho. It's not over until it's over
Brooks Kochvar - Partner GS Strategy Group. Jeb Bush is the frontrunner to win the Republican nomination, using his name and tremendous money advantage to beat his opponents, and Hillary will sail through the primary process against socialist Bernie Sanders. Those were the headlines a year ago if you listened to conventional wisdom and inside the beltway thinking. As has been the case so many times, conventional wisdom and inside the beltway thinking was wrong.
Campaigns matter and candidates need to understand the underlying fundamentals of what is driving the electorate’s behavior and decision making process. In this case both the candidates and conventional wisdom greatly underestimated the unrest and dissatisfaction voters have with the elected class of both parties and we are now left with the two most unpopular general election candidates in our nation’s history.