Fifty Shades of Conservatives

This week Marco Rubio tossed his hat into the Republican presidential nomination sweepstakes by announcing his candidacy. What is striking about the 2016 presidential election cycle is the subtle differences among the Republican presidential candidates. We literally have 10 or even 20 shades of conservatives either announced as candidates, unannounced but possibly going to announce as candidates, or simply sitting on the sidelines, watching and wondering if they will join in the action. You might say … we have 10, 20 or possibly even fifty shades of conservatives.

Whatever the number, there is no doubt the 2016 presidential election season is starting off on an interesting note. Let’s look at some of the subtle, yet real differences, among the announced and potential Republican hopefuls.

How Do the Republican Candidates Hope to Build a New ”Big Tent” of Voters?

Obviously, all the Republican candidates for President know they need to build a coalition of support from voters that surpasses the election results in 2008 and 2012.  All these candidates hope to build a “big tent” that includes millions of additional voters.  But, they differ on their approaches.

Jeb Bush hopes to put together a broad-based coalition of traditional Republicans and independents.  Then, he hopes to encourage Democrats dissatisfied with the current administration’s policies to jump ship and support his candidacy.

Ted Cruz in his Liberty University kick-off announcement seeks to bring in millions of born-again Christians who did not vote in the 2012 election.  Ted Cruz sees an opportunity to increase the size of the big tent with formally inactive, potential Christian voters.

Rand Paul takes a different approach altogether as a libertarian conservative.  Rand Paul hopes to appeal to African-Americans, younger voters, and libertarian liberals.  All three of these groups are typically supporters of Democratic candidates.  Note that libertarian liberals are attracted to Rand Paul’s anti-government surveillance stands, as well as policies for reducing jail time for some drug offenses.  Think too about the debates over the Patriot Act and the legalization of marijuana.

In contrast, recently announced Marco Rubio appeals to Hispanic-Americans with his attempts to find a compromise with Democrats on the illegal immigration issue.  Also, his strong stance against the administration’s opening to Cuba with no concessions on freedom and democracy for the Cuban people appeals to some Hispanics.  Marco Rubio hopes to increase the big tent further by increasing the number of Hispanics voting for a Republican presidential candidate.

The fifty shades of conservatives not only deal with how to increase the size of the Republican tent to include more voters.  It also deals with approaches to fund-raising, campaign strategy, and policy development.  The 2016 Presidential Election should be fun to watch.

For More Information

For more information on the presidential election, please visit my website: GerardLameiro.com .

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