March 1, 2016
America is currently rife with people complaining about the current plight of the GOP. It seems incomprehensible to them that the current leader in most polls would be Donald Trump, former reality TV star, billionaire, and serial cheater. Conservative America is up in arms about the turn of events, having fully expected that Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Jeb Bush would be leading the pack at this point in the election. However, that hasn’t proved to be the case. Over and over, Donald Trump has insulted minorities, proved his own staggering ignorance, and made incredibly petty and personal attacks against his opponents, specifically those on his own ticket. On paper, it seems like these decisions would earn him a spot near the bottom of the ticket, yet over the last nine months, he has risen to the top. There are few rational explanations for this occurrence. This has been one of the first Presidential elections in which money hasn’t bought success. In the New Hampshire primary, Jeb Bush spent over $55 million dollars on his campaign, while his opponent Donald Trump spent less than $5 million and won the state by a wide margin. Over all, Bush has raised $156.7 million dollars through his own supporters and through Super-PACs, while Trump has raised a “mere” $27 million. The argument can be made that this only proves what a lackluster and unimpressive candidate Bush always was; it also proves that for the first time in a long time, money isn’t buying votes. Since 1960, there has only been three Presidential elections in which the candidate that spent the most lost. That being said, in each of those three elections, the spending margins were separated by mere millions.
This still doesn’t come close to explaining why Trump has risen, almost inexplicably, to the top of every poll and winning almost every caucus. However, there is a very simple explanation—it’s our fault. For every American who stands in an office corner or on a park bench complaining about the current look of the Presidential election, you’ll find an American who was unwilling to support a candidate when the time called for it. You’ll find an American who sat back and let the debates happen and let the stage set itself. You see, as the GOP was inundated with candidates in August of 2015, there was no clear front-runner. Americans sat on their couches at home and watched as Donald Trump announced his candidacy for POTUS and then subsequently watched him trounce his opponents in the following two debates. They laughed about it in the days following, with no one truly expecting to have Trump land a spot in the final five candidates remaining. The American people didn’t pick a candidate, and so they were picked for them. One by one, giants of intellect like Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and now Jeb Bush have dropped out of the race. The American people are coming to face the fact that their best choices are two men who couldn’t make it through a single term in the senate, or Donald Trump.
It’s no wonder Americans are panicking… we have definitely made poor decisions to get here, but the end isn’t lost. Conservative America needs to unite and back a candidate—any candidate at this point, or we will continue to have lackluster turnout and media frenzy. It’s all up to those who can vote, and (un)fortunately for America, that’s all of us.
-Hannah Richards, Reporter
this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 9 of The Mississippi Collegian