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Outliers and Their Impact on Political Races

Stephen Henderson meets with John Hudak, a fellow at the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings Institution, and Saul Anuzis, a Republican strategist and head of the Ted Cruz campaign in Michigan. They discuss the role that outliers such as Donald Trump play in party primaries and if the media should decide which candidates are legitimate.

  • Blame Republican Politics: Hudak believes that Trump is the consequence of the Republicans’ attack strategy that they’ve used effectively in various campaigns over the course of the last 20 years.  He says that Republicans are not meek when they’re running for office and tend to ignore issues or ideas that are brought up by the fringe of their party.  Hudak cites the birthers and how Republicans were reluctant to address President Obama’s birth.
  • Trump has no chance, but…  Each day that Trump dominates the news cycle is another day that legitimate Republicans candidates cannot get across their message.  Hudak feels that Trump’s “circus act” benefits the Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, because she is able to focus on the issues and can ignore Trump.
  • Many voters fed up with politics:  Anuzis says that Trump is popular because Republicans and American voters are fed up with politics, the establishment and the party.  He thinks that Trump excites people now, but once the campaign begins to get down to the issues and the media stops caring about him, Trump will fall.
  • Media coverage part of the problem:  Since Trump makes good copy, Anuzis feels that the media is dropping the ball by focusing their resources on Trump, which has caused the media to pay very little attention to any other Republican candidates.  According to Anuzis, these other Republican candidates are qualified to be president and are offering solutions to our nation’s problems.  Stephen agrees, but says the media cannot ignore that Trump is the frontrunner at this point in the process. 
  • Sanders and Trump striking a nerve:  While everyone is in agreement that Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, are outside the mainstream, that is where the comparison between the two ends.  Hudak says that Sanders offers substance, while it’s difficult to figure out where Trump stands on most issues.

To listen to the full discussion click the audio link above.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore

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