To win the upcoming Republican Primary, the candidates will have to overcome a tricky political juggling act. As such, I present these suggestions on how to win the Republican primary.
1: Don’t be Michele Bachmann: She makes Sarah Palin look like Julie Andrews. In particular, her stance on gay rights. In an interview with David Gregory, she said that gay families are “not families.” Evidence has also surfaced showing that Bachmann and her husband own a clinic offering “reparative therapy,” with the intent of turning homosexual people straight. If someone were to ask her about “being yourself,” she would likely say “I believe that you should be yourself.” Almost every time she’s asked about her stances, she avoids giving a straight answer, as seen in an analysis from Anderson Cooper on Aug. 16. I would too, if I knew it would ruin my campaign. Well, Bachmann, you can’t have your gay cake and try to make it straight, too. In the words of Bill Maher addressing Bachmann herself: “The floor of a cave called. It wants its bat s— back.”
2: Don’t be an extremist.: Many Republican candidates are so far to the right these days you need binoculars to see them. Being moderate appeals to a wider range of people, which helps when numbers time comes. You can’t please everyone, but it helps when you’re not part of an organization that is less of a (Tea) Party and more of a cult. This is one reason that John McCain, even though he ultimately didn’t win the presidency, was so successful in his 2008 campaign (aside from picking Sarah Palin as a vice presidential candidate). McCain is the type of level-headed Republican that has a wide appeal among many generations of voters.
3: Be able to think on your toes: One of the biggest things I’ve noticed about the debates and interviews is that the Achilles’ heel of many candidates seems to be unexpected questions and confrontations. Some duck out of iffy answers (See: Michele Bachmann), while others avoid the question altogether (See: Michele Bachmann). It’s when clever and precise impromptu answers are given that candidates really shine. Bill Clinton has been able to put the Lewinski days behind him (for the most part) because of his incredible interview proficiency. Clinton is a master of giving great answers to not-so-great questions, and if anything he’s better at going on the offense when questions are negatively pointed his way. President Obama, Mitt Romney and Colin Powell have been doing this successfully, with fairly successful results. In addition, it also helps to be available. When a news organization repeatedly calls you for an interview, it’s bad press not to answer, not to mention a missed chance for TV exposure.
4: Get on The Daily Show: The Daily Show seems to be a launching pad for presidential candidates, and it shows a real personality that many other interviews seem to lack. Their interviews let the candidates banter and joke more than traditional interviews such as CNN or CBS. It also reaches a younger voting audience, and in a world of increasingly younger voters, it’s an important thing to keep in mind as a presidential candidate. The biggest reason being that Jon Stewart is involved. Although they may not see eye-to-eye politically, Bill O’Reilly has said that Stewart is “the smartest guy in the entertainment current affairs business,” which really speaks to Stewart’s mass appeal. The man can do no wrong, so presidential candidates should relish at the opportunity to get on his show, zinger questions or not. And we get to hear Stewart do the Donald impression, which is mock-news gold.
In the end, what matters is consistency. Changing your stances as often as a ballerina is Presidential-candidate suicide, just ask John Kerry.