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Tea Partiers in St. Louis See Things a Bit Differently
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There’s a huge, important fiinding in a new poll—one I believe will affect a lot of elections nationally and in Missouri in 2016. In fact, 2016 will come down to one word.

Write down what you think that word is before reading on.

STLTPC vs. USA on President

First, let’s look at some polls.

St. Louis Tea Party members see the GOP Presidential race a little differently than the country at large.

The latest Fox News poll found that, among Americans who identify as Tea Partiers, Trump leads the field with 33 percent, followed by Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, and Dr. Ben Carson.

Meanwhile, a poll of 122 members of St. Louis Tea Party Coaltion showed Cruz leading Walker and Trump, with Carson far behind:

 

STLTPC vs. USA on Issues

St. Louis Tea Party members are closer to national averages when it comes to top issues. While St. Louis Tea Party did not ask about immigration in the top concerns, STLTPCers aligned closely with Fox responsents on order of issues:

Are you as surprised as I am? See the disconnect here?

When I think of Trump issues, I think of immigration. I know The Donald talks about other stuff, too, but what got him on the news were his position and comments on illegal immigration, right?

So why is immigration so low on the list of issues? You’d link the the top candidate’s top issue would be voters’ top issue.

Actually, voters nationally are less concerned about issues than they are about something else when it comes to candidates. One characteristic trumps all others in Fox News poll:

LEADERSHIP

The word of the day is “leadership.” Is that what you wrote down?

Fox News found that even winning is less important than leadership to Republican voters:

Winning isn’t everything — or at least electability isn’t foremost in the minds of GOP primary voters right now. When asked what they want in their party’s nominee, they say being a strong leader (29 percent) matters more than having true conservative values (20 percent), beating the Democrat (13 percent), having the right experience (13 percent) and shaking things up in Washington (13 percent).

That makes complete sense. Republican voters view Barack Obama as a week leader. And they viewed Romney as a weak leader. Missourians have seen eight years of amoeba-like weakness from Governor Jay Nixon.

We are sick of weak leaders, and we’re willing to trade off on issues and ideology to get a leader we want to follow. Trump is leading the race and pulling away from the pack because he acts like a leader—the kind of leader Republicans want.

Candidates, Don’t Get Carried Away, Please

Let me repeat: Trump acts like a leader.

A few weeks ago, I complained about candidates describing themselves according to the buzzwords from the lastest polls. To quote myself:

Last year at a St. Louis County Republican picnic, I heard about 30 candidates line up, one after another, and announce “I am a Constitutional Conservative.”

Every one of them said it. I heard “constitutional conservative” so many times, I was tempted to grab the microphone and tell the crowd, “I am an unconstitutional giraffe” for variety’s sake.

Turns out, some Republican pollster had just conducted a survey of likely primary voters that found “constitutional conservative” was a phrase Republican voters liked.

Leadership is like pornography: we know it when we see it. (We’ll also pay a premium for quality stuff. Of course, when you find a great leader online, you don’t have keep one finger on the browser kill switch.) Let others describe your leadership. Let your actions prove them right.

Part of Trump’s appeal is he acts the way a lot of Republics expect leaders to act. And that trumps the issues and even electability.

Do I think Republicans would prefer to lose with a strong leader than win with a weak one? No, I don’t. The opposite, in fact. I bet most Republicans believe that leadership is indispensible to victory. If the Republican nominee doesn’t spew leadership out of every pore, we’ll spend the last two months of 2016 asking ourselves why conservatives stayed home on election day. And the answer will be—leadership.

Finally . . .

Missourians, too, will rally around leadership in 2016. We, too, know that candidates’ resumes on issues mean little if the candidate cum office-holder lacks the leadership character to make things happen.

Whether that means Missourians (beyond Tea Partiers) abandon Cruz for Trump, I don’t know. But I’ll bet that 2016 exit polling shows that the candidate who scored higher in leadership won the race right down the line.

BONUS:
In Case You’re Wondering Who’s Debating

The first GOP Presidential Debate is Thursday. Here’s who’s in, out, and on the bubble according to Business Insider:

IN

  • Donald Trump, real-estate magnate: 22.5% average as of Monday
  • Jeb Bush, former Florida governor: 12.7%
  • Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor: 12%
  • Ted Cruz, US senator from Texas: 6.7
  • Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon: 6.2%
  • Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor: 6%
  • Marco Rubio, US senator from Florida: 5.2%
  • Rand Paul, US senator from Kentucky: 5%

ON THE BUBBLE

  • John Kasich, Ohio governor: 3.8%
  • Chris Christie, New Jersey governor: 3.2%
  • Rick Perry, former Texas governor: 2.2%

OUT

  • Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor: 1.5%.
  • Rick Santorum, former US senator from Pennsylvania: 1.5%.
  • Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard CEO: 1.2%.
  • Lindsey Graham, US senator from South Carolina: 0.7%
  • George Pataki, former New York governor: N/A
  • Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.
    –John F. Kennedy
    U.S. President 1961-1963

  • Ted Cruz is a social, fiscal and constitutional conservative who has consistently shown us what a leader looks and sounds like. He has never flipped flopped on the issues as Trump has. He has also spoke the truth no matter what the consequences to him personally and politically. I like Trumps Fire but CRUZ also has that fire and I KNOW with CRUZ I am getting the truth.

    • I agree. While I’m not ready to bite on any candidate, America and the world would be better off with President Ted Cruz.

      I think the same can be said about President Rand Paul, President Scott Walker, and President Ben Carson. Maybe even some of the others. But Cruz is a real stand-up guy who might be the smartest one of the bunch. (If Mike Lee were running, I might have to go there.)

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