Co Author of The Republican Dream Team of 2016, Catherine McBreen is the Managing Director of the Spectrem Group a highly respected research firm. Although located in Chicago they conducted Research from around the country on what issues concerned “likely voter” and how familiar we, the likely voters, are with the Republican candidates for president and what we were looking for in the next president.
These likely voters identified BEFORE the Paris and San Bernardino attacks that terrorism was their number one concern for the country. They were most familiar with Donald Trump but chose Ben Carson as the person who was trustworthy and with the most integrity – the characteristics they were most looking for in a president. That was November – that was “likely voters” – and this is now.
I am thankful for Donald Trump. He has ignited passion in people who don’t traditionally vote. I’m not talking about the first time voters who appear to be supporting Bernie Sanders – that is for another blog. I’m talking about those who had the right to vote in the past but were not particularly energized to do so.
Trump has engaged this segment of potential voters. We as a more collective whole are engaged and paying attention – and that is a good thing.
People ask me “who are you are supporting for president in the Republican primary?” My answer is “I’m keeping my powder dry – you can tell a lot about a person as you watch their behavior during the heat of an election.” I don’t have to make that decision until Super Tuesday. As I look in and follow the race in the early voting states, this is what concerns me. This is NOT – let me repeat that – this is NOT reality TV. If you read my prior blogs you also know I am extremely concerned about the state of our union.
Just as I am keeping my powder dry on who to cast my vote for – I have learned to take a breath before I judge people or look for simplistic solutions to problems. I’m not saying my brain doesn’t go to judgment and quick solutions. We are all wired that way – its called survival instinct. I’m saying that I have learned that when I do that I have a greater chance of being wrong and having to “eat my words.”
What I can say with certainty is that I want a strong leader to be my president. I want someone who can stand firm at a negotiating table and walk away when necessary. I want someone who has a track record of former accomplishments – not just rhetoric. I watched a video of Donald Trump being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in 1991. Donald was around 42 at the time. I liked that Donald Trump. He was young, thoughtful and contrary to what is being said about him – conservative.
Today I watch Donald work the crowd with brash honesty. I like him because he is not being politically correct – although I believe he knows how to be politically correct. I like how he is able to “walk away” when he sees a bad deal – as he is demonstrating with Fox News as I write this the morning of the Republican debate. I watch how he knows the evangelical vote is important in Iowa and collects the endorsements of Sarah Palin and Jerry Falwell, Jr. I see him walking down the steps of an Episcopal church coming from a church service. Donald appears to be the “real deal” for Iowans and for what those of us who are disenfranchised with how things are going in the country. AND I want the REAL deal.
Here’s my question – has Donald Trump become who he now appears to be on TV – or does he know what “plays in Iowa” and will he assume the role he needs to play to win the necessary votes in Iowa. My mom taught me “you can’t be all things to all people.” Has Mr. Trump “amplified” some of his characteristics to match the rage of many citizens or is he like many of us other “60 something” citizens who has just gotten more aggravated and less politically correct as we have aged?
In our book we describe “ego” as the one thing that would keep candidates from being part of a dream team to, in Donald’s words, “make our country great again.” How serious is he about “making our country great again?” If after the primaries and the Republican convention he is not the nominee, will he pick up his marbles and go home? Or of more concern, if he wins the election and the presidency doesn’t go how he wants – will he just get up one day and say, “you know, I don’t need this – I’m going back to building buildings.”
I’m not saying I won’t vote for Trump – he has many of the characteristics I am personally looking for in a President. I’m just watching to see if this is the “real” 67-year-old Donald Trump – or is he “playing” a personified Donald Trump character to win Iowan votes. Are you the REAL Donald Trump? If not, please let the real Donald Trump step forward. You don’t have to be perfect – none of us are. I just want to really know you before I vote for you.
- Kathy Seei
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