Hi fellow Republican. I know you are upset. You have been upset for a while now and it’s understandable. I have been too. It's concerning when the economy is not where we hoped it would be, when our national security is threatened and when many of us do not know how we will to pay for our college tuition. It's even worse when it feels like our government is not doing enough to address our problems or is making them worse. I feel the same way you do. Something needs to change.
I can understand where your support for the anti-establishment presidential candidates — Ted Cruz and Donald Trump — comes from. They are opponents of the “Washington cartel” who promise to send political earthquakes through the city if given the proper chance. On the surface this sounds enticing. If the establishment is not working for us maybe it's time to replace them with leaders who are going to drastically shake things up. But, I warn you to beware the sirens' call: listening to the songs of these outsiders will sink our party and our country.
There probably isn’t anything I can take tell you about Donald’s personality, positions or beliefs that you have not already heard. The media does a very good job of covering his consistently confounding rhetoric (one of the few things the media does well) so I am not going to discuss it. Instead, I would like to talk about Donald’s polling.
Trump has been way ahead of every other Republican in field in every national poll, and was expected to take Iowa for most of the time leading up to the caucus. He ended up coming in the second to Ted Cruz, but that does not mean Trump is down for the count. He has a very legitimate chance of winning New Hampshire and contending for the Republican nomination, which is great ... if you are a Democrat.
Donald Trump’s offensive remarks, absurd policy proposals, conspiracy theories and suffocating narcissism have turned off many voters across this country (including this one). He may poll well amongst many Republican primary voters, but he undeniably does not among the general population. According to Gallup, Trump has the highest nation-wide unfavorability rating of any candidate from the two major parties since Gallup began conducting favorability polls in 1992. 33 percent of Americans see Trump favorably and 60 percent see him unfavorably. That leaves him with a net favorability rating of -27.
The next highest unfavorability ratings belong to Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush who are at 52 percent and 45 percent respectively, and who both have a -10 net favorability rating. Needless to say, these statistics do not bode well for Republican Trump supporters who genuinely care about winning the White House. Trump has managed to piss off Hispanics, Muslims, Blacks, Jews, women and sensible folks of all stripes throughout his campaign, and I assure you that he will not be able to undo that damage enough to win a general election. In fact, unfavorability ratings tend to increase during a general election as insults and attack ads become even more prevalent. You can’t always be a winner, Donald.
Cruz's favorability rating is not as bad as Trump’s. 37 percent of Americans view Cruz negatively, but I bet that number would be much higher if you polled just the people who actually know him. Cruz is notoriously detested by, well, almost everyone he has ever worked with. Trevor Noah did a segment about how the only thing that brings Democrats and Republicans together in this age of hyper-partisanship is their mutual hatred of Cruz.
Some claim that the reason Cruz is loathed is because he is a principled conservative who challenges malleable Political elites. However, a conversation with Ted Cruz’s college roommate dispels that myth. Craig Mazin, who lived with Cruz at Princeton, had to say about his former roommate: “And, you know, I want to be clear, because Ted Cruz is a nightmare of a human being. I have plenty of problems with his politics, but truthfully his personality is so awful that 99 percent of why I hate him is just his personality. If he agreed with me on every issue, I would hate him only one percent less.”
One might say okay, Ted Cruz is not the most likable guy, but that does not mean he would not be an effective president. Well, that depends on why he is so unlikable. In 2013 at Cruz’s urging, Tea Party Republicans in the House put a provision repealing the Affordable Care Act into the following year’s spending bill. Everyone knew the bill did not stand a chance of becoming law with the repeal provision in it, but Cruz insisted that it should be put in there anyway. The result was a 16 day government shutdown which took a $24 million bite out of the economy, and caused federal employees to be furloughed for a combined total of 6.6 million days, more than in any previous government shutdown. At its peak, about 850,000 individuals per day were furloughed. The GOP was dealt a huge PR blow blow because of the shutdown; Cruz, however, emerged from it more popular among his base of Tea Party voters.
Cruz put himself not only above the party, but above the country. He may say that he is dedicated to conservatism, but the “ism” that Cruz is most committed to is opportunism. That is why people hate him. There are many more examples of Cruz's blatant, self-centered ambitiousness just a Google search away if you want to look them. I do not have time to link them all (I would like to to be done with this article before the primaries end) but, believe me, they are out there.
So, I understand why you are angry at the establishment. You are right to be. We need change in our government, but we should not fall for the charms of outsiders just because they are outsiders. We need to support leaders who (not only can win but) are going to do what many of today's establishment politicians do not: unite the American people and work with those they disagree with for the sake of the country. Trump and Cruz will not do anything to these problems; they will probably make them worse. If you care about fixing the establishment and charting a better course for our country, I ask you not to give Donald Trump or Ted Cruz the Republican nomination.