“Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of Hell but I won’t back down
Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down”
These lyrics from Tom Petty kept coming to me when I was trying to think why Republican Primary voters are moving to or staying with the leaders as shown in the recent Iowa poll by PPP.
Donald Trump – 19%
Scott Walker – 12%
Ben Carson – 12%
Jeb Bush – 11%
Carly Fiorina -10%
Ted Cruz – 9 %
The poll also shows that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul sinking like a stone coming in at 3% down from previous Real Clear Politics polling in which Paul used to be at 10%. That’s a huge drop off and Paul’s campaign came out swinging yesterday at which campaign? Yup, The Donald’s.
Paul is not backing down. He’s swinging away. He’s fighting. And not about metadata, phone records, and the NSA. Paul questioned Trump’s conservatism writ large. The GOP primary audience is not being moved by Paul’s issues in the face of constant stories about ISIS beheadings, drownings, and tossing people off buildings. Paul’s issues, at least the ones he has been talking about, are so….2010.
Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina – non-politician businesspeople have come across as strong, even tough in their debate performances. For Donald Trump – it’s clear even when he is wrong that he “won’t back down, Gonna stand ” his ground. Primary voters instinctively LIKE that.
With seventeen (17) candidates, who stands out? The ones who stand tall, don’t back down, get knocked around and stand back up. Donald Trump has done that.
Did he say something awful and untrue about Senator John McCain? Yes he did. But did Trump budge an inch when he was attacked? Nope. Not a smidgen. To quote our oldest son William, “I don’t like it, but I respect it.”
This might – might mind you – be reaching into the subconscious of the primary electorate and calming their fears about – whatever. ObamaCare, taxes, mental health, ISIS, Putin…you name it. More and more people live alone and are quite vulnerable to any numbers of reality based fears.
If there is someone who is standing up and fighting by defending themselves, the country, or even their favorite football team – that gives people comfort that someone is willing to stand up and fight.
Voters like that. Instinctively. Eventually, subconscious fears surface in the consciousness of the decision-making process that leads up to the actual voting in 2016. For right now though, the strongest candidates are the toughest ones and they are separating from the pack.
Look at Carly Fiorina. Many people think she won the Big Fox News Debate last week.
AND SHE WASN’T EVEN IN IT! She comes across as a strong, intelligent, and -yes – tough business person who also happens to be a female and former CEO of a $90 Billion company.
My father and daughter both – without prompting – said that they really like her and could support her.
Tough and strong and smart get you in the door, but Trump and Fiorina will need to do a lot more convincing this fall to close the sale.
Cross-posted at Chris Saxman.com