Is 2016 the Year of the Game Changer? Trump, Sanders, and Cruz sure hope so

As long as I can remember, there’s never been a non-Establishment nominee, let alone a president. Maybe it’s an idea whose time has finally come: the 2016 presidential race is a battle of ideologies. People are sick of the Establishment and ready for change.

Leaders of the free world await the Establishment's orders

This post is about not about Establishment candidates (sorry, Rubio). Fiorina and Carson aren’t Establishment but they’re no Game Changers. I’m putting aside the No-Chancers, where Rand Paul landed. I’m not a fan but if he was a better candidate, he would be a Game Changer.

Game Changer: Someone who plans to make major changes in at least 5 key areas. Realistically, they may effect change in 3 areas, but that’s enough to shake things up. 

There’s usually one Game Changer per election who fizzles early as the media boycotts or ridicules them out of business. This time, of the 7 viable candidates (Bush, Sanders, Rubio, Clinton, Cruz, Carson, Trump), there are three Game Changers who poll well. That’s Cruz, the Donald, and Colonel Bernie Sanders. Ha! I know Bernie isn’t a colonel, but he bears an eerie resemblance to KFC’s Colonel Sanders.

Electing any of these guys would guarantee rapid change. They are despised by their own parties, who ardently wish they would go light themselves on fire.

trump

Let’s start with Trump, the least extreme of the three. According to non-partisan Ontheissues.org, Trump is more moderate than Cruz or Sanders. Or Clinton, for that matter.

Trump

Trump would make major changes in education, free trade, immigration, drug policy, and foreign policy, and he has two unique advantages.

  1. His base is not a band of believers who prize consistency. Cruz and Sanders will never change a position – even if they should – because they over-value consistency. Trump’s views have changed on several topics, over a period of years, and he isn’t being punished for it.pucker up America
  2. Trump isn’t beholden to big donors. I don’t believe Sanders is either, but Cruz is. And sooner or later, those donors will want to reap the harvest of their seed money.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 9.30.38 PM

 

Next: Ted Cruz, who makes Trump look like a docile little lamb.

When Cruz announced his run, he was promptly dismissed by the media. He’s a pariah in DC, after leading the government shutdown over the ballooning budget. To the media’s dismay, however, the Texas senator has staying power.

He would radically change policy related to education, free trade, immigration, the economy, domestic security, taxes, healthcare, and foreign affairs. Ontheissues.org calls Cruz a hardcore conservative:

Cruz

Cruz seemed to have no chance. Then something magical happened: CNBC hosted a GOP debate. The moderators were embarrassing, and asked a parade of rude and irrelevant questions. Cruz’s moment came when Carl Quintanilla asked whether his opposition to the budget deal showed he wasn’t “the kind of problem-solver Americans want.”

Cruz looked at Quintanilla exactly lIke a hungry cat would gaze at a dim-witted mouse. Quintanilla, God rest his career, may have been lulled into a false sense of security since Cruz hasn’t attacked his opponents. Or he was unaware Cruz is a master debater, who won several Supreme Court cases. Even liberal icon and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz has spoken admiringly of Cruz, who was a former student, describing him as one of Harvard’s most brilliant graduates.

This little montage shows Quintanilla from the moment he asked the question until he watched Cruz devour his career whole:

Q

Can you spot fear setting in?

Cruz said CNBC’s questions “illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media” and contrasted their “fawning” over Democrats with specific examples of bias toward the GOP by the moderators. Cruz received a standing ovation.

This is me chewing your career up and spitting it out

This is me eating your career for breakfast

Salt was poured into the wound by noted liberal comedian Patton Oswalt. CNBC was running a live feed of Oswalt’s tweets but instead of him ridiculing the candidates, they got this:

Tweet

Illustrating Cruz’s point about the media double-standard, the senator is often labelled as “extremist”. Clinton, meanwhile, is described as “moderate”. But check out her profile: she’s literally Cruz’s mirror image! But perhaps it’s relative.

Because even a hard core liberal could appear moderate compared to a certain Vermont senator.

cruzvhillary

 

 

Sanders railing

Introducing Game Changer #3: Bernie Sanders, the disheveled force of nature. And he’s literally hovering around the outskirts of reality, according to Ontheissues.org.

Sanders

If Hillary is a hardcore liberal, Bernie needs a title that differentiates him. What about Captain Moon Priest? Sample view: while acknowledging Social Security is teetering on the edge of insolvency, Sanders suggests expanding the program to cover more people, including those who live and work in the U.S. illegally.

Bernie is terribly sincere. He believes everyone deserves to be treated exactly the same, no matter what. And he would change everything you know about the United States. His pet issue is income inequality, but if elected, we’ll feel the Bern in criminal justice reform, healthcare, and homeland security. He opposes free trade, saying it essentially killed the middle class. He thinks NSA should be shut down, and believes everyone is entitled to free college.

Bernie’s strong poll numbers were an unpleasant surprise for the DNC, as was the Progressive party’s embrace of an old white guy. Unlike his opponents, Sanders refuses to wade into personal attacks, leading to his own fateful debate moment.

Hillary Clinton was visibly annoyed when Anderson Cooper questioned her email deletions. Then to her delight, Sanders suddenly said: “Let me say something that may not be great politics… People are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”

It was like watching Secretary Clinton lure a naive, balding child into a van, with promises of candy and higher taxes. Watch Hillary’s reaction, which looks like Quintanilla’s in reverse:

hillary

In the past, Sanders, Trump, and Cruz would have had no chance, but will this election be different?

Trump, Cruz, and Sanders agree existing free trade agreements crippled the working class and hurt the economy

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