Ben’s 2016 GOP Presidential Candidates – Pros and Cons


I’ve been asked to give my thoughts on some of the “top” candidates in the Presidential race. These are simply my opinions from what I’ve researched and paid attention to the last few years; focusing on candidates who always “hinted” at running for POTUS. I’m positive I have missed things, so feel free to comment with your thoughts, or critiques on any candidate. In alphabetical order:


Jeb! Bush – Jeb! Bush is considered the ‘Establishment’ candidate. And that’s pretty bad. In fact, that’s actually worse than being labelled a ‘Moderate’ in the GOP field. Bush has been in the top three in the polls according to most polls. However, honestly, I can’t say that I’ve seen more than a handful of people who actually support Jeb! in the primary. Jeb! has raised over 103 million dollars in SUPER PAC money, which can, definitely influence opinions in polling outcomes. (See where I’m going with this?) I’ve literally asked people online whether or not they would actually vote for [another] Bush for President if he does get the Republican nomination, even if he goes against Hillary Clinton. With over 2,000 responses, 80% said no. 80%… said… no. Why not? Well, again, he’s part of that Washington ‘Establishment’ many of us are simply tired of, for one. Two, he is boring, dull; he doesn’t bring any energy or passion to his campaign. I’ve listen to every one of his MAJOR speeches, as I do most candidates, and he doesn’t seem like he even wants to do this. If you want my 100% opinion, I believe if Jeb!’s father, #41 was not living today, he probably wouldn’t be running. But that’s neither here nor there. On issues, I will say, he had a pretty conservative record while Governor of Florida. But since, his weak stance on immigration (amnesty), Common Core education, and various statements he’d made about how he would govern turn off A LOT of conservatives. And don’t even get me started on the fact that he’d be the THIRD Republican, ‘President Bush’ in a row, even though good ol’ Jeb! would like you to forget that part. If that doesn’t smell like dynasty, I don’t know what does. We’ll see how his campaign plays out, but polls aside, his popularity hasn’t gotten better since he’s announced his candidacy. And I’m fine with that.


Ben Carson – I like Ben Carson… a lot. I think it’s because he is very articulate. He’s a Washington outsider, and he is not afraid of political correctness – something he’s campaigned on for the last two years. (Sorry, Trump, you’re actually late to the anti-PC party.) Carson has come out as very strong on multiple issues, particularly social issues like PC, religious freedom, etc. He’s pro-life, and has a great message for why every baby deserves the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. From my research, Carson hasn’t exactly laid out an outline of his plan to lower the nation debt, according to his website, he states, “We must ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution in order to restore fiscal responsibility to the federal government’s budget.” …so, yeah. Carson is against Common Core education and has been vocal on how the federal government should not dictate education. On this, he stated, “This must stop and Common Core must be overturned.” Carson is also vocal about religious liberties, and believes, “The First Amendment enshrines our freedom to practice whatever faith we choose from any government intrusion. Our Founding Fathers never meant for the First Amendment to be used to drive prayer out of the public square.” I’m not too sure where Carson stands on foreign policy at this time, as that doesn’t seem to be his major focus; other than some criticizing President Obama on ISIS and what not. Where Carson can turn off people, myself included, is when he opens his mouth about homosexuality. Now, I’ve given him a pass, after reading his book, ‘One Nation,’ that his comparing homosexuality to bestiality was taken out of context, and he actually explained the book. Then… fast forward months later, this happens: “A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question,” said Carson. This is when I *ultimate facepalm* myself! If he would stop talking about this issue, he’d probably attract more people, but for now, just stick to everything else. Oh… almost forgot: the 2nd Amendment. He’s pretty weak on it if you ask me. How? Carson has made statements basically saying certain guns should be legal only in specific places in the country. Wha.. huh? When asked whether people should be allowed to own “semi-automatic weapons,” the doctor replied: “It depends on where you live.” “I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it,” Carson elaborated. However, if you live “out in the country somewhere by yourself” and want to own a semi-automatic weapon, he added, “I’ve no problem with that.” …I do, Carson. I do. -_-


Chris Christie – Christie is probably one of the most disliked people in the Republican field right now. Somewhere down there with Graham and Bush (contrary to Jeb!’s poll numbers) I won’t spend too much time on Christie because he will never be President, IMO. Aside from his “I’m a New Jersey tough guy” attitude, the mere fact that he’s an, anti-constitutional “Security before liberty,” kind of candidate and uses his fearmongering (and 9/11) to scare people into giving up their 4th Amendment rights, should be enough to turn anyone off – especially other millennials. To quote Rand Paul, Christie, “Go hug Obama!”


Ted Cruz – Ted Cruz is one of the most consistent and principled conservatives in the 2016 race; there’s absolutely no doubt about it. When the man speaks, he speaks with passion, conviction and can make you feel like you’re the only person in the room, and he’s talking directly to you. On issues of immigration (amnesty), abortion, foreign policy, fiscal responsibility, standing up for the constitution (although he’s not perfect on NSA spying – I will admit), traditional marriage, etc. he’s certainly also one of the [few] in the race who has a proven record of standing up for these and many other issues – with little to no record of flip-flops like many others. Cruz is branded as the ‘Tea Party’ candidate of the primary race. As a matter of fact, he and Donald Trump probably have similar minded supporters when it comes to being upset with Washington. (At least Cruz has the record to back it up, however.) Ted Cruz, recently, called out what he calls the “Washington Cartel.” This, as he describes it, is basically the Washington elite politicians (McConnell, Boehner, etc.) with their backroom deals and lies to conservative voters, and fellow Republican politicians. On the issue of same-sex marriage, Cruz has kind of let go of the “Marriage is between one man and one woman” throughout the country stance, and has actually loosened his view to “Let’s let the States decide.” (Something we’re seeing among most GOP candidates running now.) Cruz has been a big challenger of Obamacare, and also stood for hours on the Senate floor to stop this unconstitutional law. The media blamed Cruz for the government shutdown in 2014 and called it a “low point in recent Republican history.” They said it would give Democrats the push they needed in order to keep the Senate majority. Clearly, that wasn’t true. And after Obamacare passed, it all came to fruition that it was one huge lie: You couldn’t keep the plan you liked. You couldn’t keep the doctor you liked. Your premiums did go up. …and so on. Now, why I think Cruz cannot win in the general: His message does indeed resonate with many people in the Republican Party… at least, the more conservative and/or Tea Party wing(s). However, that’s the only base he really has. I truly do not think he has the ability to garner the votes needed from Moderates, Youth, Blacks, Hispanics, Women, Libertarians, etc. outside of the GOP. When I debate people and include ‘Independents’ in that list, some say, “Well, I’m a registered Independent and I would vote for him.” The difference is, these Independents are only [recent] Independents who only registered Independent because they were (are) upset with the current Republican Party. I’m talking about long-term, middle of the road Independents. I just don’t see it happening for Cruz. The reason why? Because Cruz, although again, very principled, sees any form of working with the other side of the aisle and/or compromising as capitulation. He has a record of “I’m going to hold my ground and I’m not going to budge!” Well, that’s good, if you’re say 80%-100% aligned with his ideology. But it would, will hurt, you to get support from those who aren’t that aligned with you. I think Cruz would be best where he is currently – in the Senate, for now; then, maybe in the Supreme Court? We’ll see.


Carly Fiorina – Carly is a bit of a spitfire if you ask me – and that’s a good thing, because she doesn’t do it in a bully type way where she would come across as arrogant and narcissistic. Instead, she explains her positions in detail and lays out a realistic plan on several issues, as well as calls out one Hillary Clinton – and who doesn’t love girl on girl fighting! Lol. Carly doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to her time Hewlett-Packard, but she’s defended her record on many occasions. She’s pro-life, pro-Israel, prides herself on having a strong foreign policy when it comes to relationships with foreign leaders, and she claims to be the [real] champion for women’s rights – counter Hillary Clinton. Carly isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, but even better, she’s not afraid to answer them either. Carly has business experience, started off as a Secretary, and became the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 business. When it comes to taxes, Carly has stated, “We have a tax code that’s about 75,000 pages. We need to get it down to three. My blueprint: Lower every rate, close every loophole.” Until the first GOP debate, unless you lived in California, not too many people knew who Carly Fiorina was. (“In 2010, Carly took on one of Washington’s most entrenched liberals, Senator Barbara Boxer, from the deep blue state of California. Just two years before, President Obama received 61% of the vote in California. Carly knew that she faced an uphill fight in the race for the U.S. Senate.”) She was a clear winner of the debate because she was clear, concise and handled herself very well. That, along with the GOP forum that took place the Monday before, she has certainly peaked, and the polls are showing it. Although I doubt she will make it to say, the top three/four, she has certainly proved that she is a strong person for a cabinet position. Possibly veep?


Mike Huckabee – Huckabee was probably the winner of the first GOP debate, IMO. And I don’t even really care for the guy. But he was strong, and debated rather well. Of course, he’s had this experience before as he ran for President in the past, so he’s somewhat polished in the realm. Realistically, Mike Huckabee is too much of a social conservative and incorporates too much of his religious beliefs into governing to ever be taken serious as a presidential candidate. He was the Governor of Arkansas. I don’t recall how good of a Governor he was, but regardless, the country is not Arkansas, with all due respect. Be a preacher or a President, you can’t be both.


John Kasich – Common Core and Medicaid expansion ….that’s it.


Rand Paul – I like Rand Paul. I mean, I like Rand Paul… a lot. I believe the GOP field has great potential, and a diverse group of candidates running. For me, however, Senator Rand Paul stands out the most when it comes to multiple issues: Social, Economic, Foreign Policy, Immigration, etc. Of course, I do have some instances where I differ with the Kentucky Senator, which I’ll also dive into. Rand Paul, and this is obviously my opinion, is doing what no other politician is doing, or have done in many years; he’s breaking the party line. By this, I mean he votes policy over party. Take for example, the prison reform, and drug reform work he has been doing with Democrat Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. Paul has said, “If we’re the party that doesn’t want everyone to be on welfare forever, let’s be the party that lets you expunge your records so you can get a job again. It’s hard to get a job if you have a criminal record but many of these are youthful offense, that it wasn’t a violent crime committed. We can reintegrate these people back in.” When it comes to taxes, an important issue to me, Paul says, “Apply a 14.5% flat tax to personal income and to businesses. Cut deductions. Watch the economy roar.” The plan would: Replace today’s complicated personal income tax with a simple 14.5 percent flat tax. Replace today’s complicated corporate taxes with a new 14.5 percent value-added tax. Eliminate the payroll tax. Eliminate all estate and gift taxes. Eliminate all excises and tariffs. Eliminate (most) credits, deductions, and loopholes. Eliminate (most) double-taxation of income. Eliminate (much of) the IRS. Ummm… *drops the mic* Now, I’ve only attended two Rand Paul events since he’s announced, but I can tell, as I’ve been following his speaking events — before and after his presidential announcement, that when I look into the crowd and see his fans, I see a mixture of faces: black, white, asian, hispanic, younger, older, men, women, etc. I, as a gay person have supported him for the last year and a half; while keeping an open-mind on other potential candidates as well. I have plenty of other friends, who are gay, who would say Rand is their #1 pick as well. Moreover, Paul appeals to many factions of the GOP base, even if he is not their first pick: the libertarian wing, moderates, independents, some Tea Partiers (who still believe in what the Tea Party was [originally] intended for when it started: being ‘Taxed Enough Already’), youth voters, even and especially some Democrats who are on the fence with Hillary Clinton. Paul is a STRONG 2nd Amendment supporter, and is Pro-Life, as we saw in his effort to lead the fight against the federal government funding Planned Parenthood. He’s also strong on the 4th Amendment and simply getting the government out of our lives. If you’d like to see where Paul stands on specific issues, see my previous blog when I first announced my support for him: Where I differ with Paul is that he needs to be a better speaker. He needs to energize people. He needs to be bolder in his words. He needs to stand out and shout his message of LIBERTY from the roof tops! His conservative record (which has never been lower than 90%) speaks for itself, but in this world of soundbites, media spin and rhetoric, this is where Paul struggles. He also is in a bit of a dilemma when it comes to “branding” himself. I don’t believe he has his father’s mentality when it comes to war. Thank God. (I was not a huge fan of Ron Paul’s FP. – Sorry) Unfortunately, for Rand, some of his father’s “purist” libertarian followers consider Rand to be a “neocon” (I know right? Lol) But this just goes to show that Rand is his own person. Then you have the “war-hawkish” people in the GOP who think he is not “neocon” enough!!! YIKES!! The focus of Paul has been foreign policy. Because on the issue of economy, civil rights, liberty, etc., he soars! Paul needs to be more outspoken on his foreign policy, because clearly, his message is not resonating with everyone who is skeptical of it.


Rick Perry – As of 3-4 days ago, news broke of the Perry campaign struggling with finances, and they even stopped paying some of the campaign staff, according to reports. I’m going to admit, I’m not the biggest Perry fan, although I do believe he has done some great things for Texas, as I have tons of friends there. I’ve even said, if I didn’t live in conservative Orange County, CA, my partner and I would probably be in the Lone Star State. However, I just don’t see Rick Perry as a strong leader who would represent ALL Americans. I mean, come on, in 2012, the then Presidential candidate even put out an ad calling “gays who serve openly in the military bad.” Really? You had to go to that great extent? Lol. Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge champion for religious freedom and I openly and actively work to defend peoples’ religious beliefs. And I’m not directly offended by an ad like that, but it does show that he’s not willing to at least see/hear an alternative side on an issue (that is generational, mind you) at all. It also turns off others who don’t care about issues like this. Have your beliefs, that’s fine, but stop making it a focal point. Now, that was then, this is now… who knows where he stands on things like that, but it does paint the GOP with a broad stroke, thanks to the liberal media. -_- Overall, I wish he would have made the first “main” GOP debate, with the other top GOP candidates. But I don’t think he did very bad in the debate he was in. I just don’t see Perry picking up much steam. But we’ll see.


Marco Rubio – When Marco Rubio announced his candidacy for President, I’ll admit, I was “wowed!” His message of his upbringing was similar to mine, and I’m sure many of yours. I also read his book, “An American Son” when it came out in 2012. His inspiring story resonated with me. Aside from that, he just feels like a “Jr. Establishment” to me. Lol. On foreign policy, he speaks boldly, and lays out his plan on ISIS, Iran, etc., but I just don’t feel like there is much of a difference between him and past Republican Presidents we have. I may be completely wrong, but is Rubio a fresh face, yes, but he just seems like the same ol’ same ol’. He stands with Israel and makes that clear. He is pro-life. Before the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage, he said, if they did rule in favor of SSM, he would not be happy with it, and the next POTUS should ultimately come up with an Amendment to leave marriage to the states, but he realistically, “doesn’t see that happening.” On the debt in our country, Rubio says, “First, we need to reduce spending. This begins by reforming the two biggest drivers of our debt, which are a pair of vitally important programs: Social Security and Medicare. If left unreformed, these programs will be bankrupt by the time my generation retires, and they will bankrupt our nation in the process. We need to reform Social Security and Medicare to save them for future seniors, and we need to do so without affecting the benefits of current seniors or those nearing retirement. To reduce spending, we’ll also need a balanced-budget amendment to compel Washington to live within its means, as well as smaller-scale solutions such as the REFUND Act, a bill I am reintroducing today that will give states the ability to return unused federal funds for the specific purpose of paying down the debt. The second solution to our national debt is vibrant economic growth. A growing economy will create more jobs, more taxpayers, and more prosperity. It is the only way to get the tax revenue we need to begin chipping away at the $18.1 trillion we owe.” Rubio is up and down in the polls. And that’s probably because once he’s up, people remember his failed “Gang of 8” amnesty bill, which failed – and ultimately led him to be against amnesty again. (Mind you, on Rubio’s website, under “Issues,” he does not mention Immigration.)


Donald Trump – Has anyone even heard of this guy? …kidding. Trump Trump Trump… where to begin. OK… Two evenings ago I was at a Young Republicans event in Orange County. There were also people in their 50s and 60s, however. Towards the end of the event, we took a presidential straw poll. Rand Paul won with the most votes; Donald Trump was among the very bottom. Most of the people who voted for Trump were the older attendees. Once Senator Rand Paul was announced the winner, a Trump supporter asked, in a respectful manner, “I’d like to know why you Rand Paul supporters support him. (ah oh… shouldn’t have done that. LOL!) Well, we’re not exactly a room full of Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus fans, and with all due respect to other candidates’ supporters, Rand Paul supporters have been some of the most educated when it comes to researching issues, candidates, news stories (not just the headlines), policies, etc. (Don’t get me wrong, there are a few of you weirdo conspiracy theorists too. Haha) My buddy Richard was first to respond, and he did a great job pointing out the outreach Paul has done to broaden the party – something no other GOP candidate is doing. He also mentioned how Paul is [beating] Hillary in 5 key swing states that Obama won. Then, after Richard, I was handed the mic. I discussed basically everything I listed under my Rand Paul analysis, and then some. (Don’t ever give me a microphone. Lol) Turning it over to Donald Trump, I stated why I could not see myself supporting him in the primary race. I told her that Donald Trump has certainly tapped into an anger that many of us have with Washington, its elite, and Establishment. We’re tired of electing people who go to Washington only to be no better than Democrats. I get that. I understand that, I said. But there are far better candidates in the GOP field who are also tired and fed up, but actually have a record, a conservative record, of fighting against the elite. I told her about Trump saying, “He’s always believed the economy does better under Democrats.” That he basically donated to the Clinton Foundation as a way to bribe Hillary to going to his wedding. That he blamed the financial crisis in 2008 on Republicans. That he came out a few days ago (after the videos were released) stating he would still have the federal government fund “some of the good things” Planned Parenthood does. Sorry, but after the videos emerged, and now that we “Obamacare,” there is absolutely no need for the federal government to fund PP. Moreover, Trump seems to have people fooled that he is some “anti-Political Correctness” candidate. What’s worse is people think the ridiculous statements he makes, making fun of other people are considered to be just “fighting the anti-PC crowd.” No, sorry, there is a huge difference between being anti-PC and just being classless in some instances. And as I stated above, Ben Carson has been fighting the PC police much longer than Trump. But that’s Trump’s “get out of jail free” response, and his supporters, sadly, fall for it, and now even mimic it. I ended my response to the Trump supporter, once again, saying that I agree with what Trump says about the elite in Washington. But I told her, if you’re not persuaded by what I’ve said about Rand Paul’s record – who I believe is the strongest in the race, then at least look to say someone like Ted Cruz for the primary. I also included that Trump does not even have an “ISSUES” page on his website. Therefore, although the rhetoric is nice and touches one’s emotions, who knows where he really stands on most of the issues going on in our country, and what his plan is. I’ll tell you right now… for the majority of the issues, other than, “Trust me… I’ll get it done” talk… I’m not seeing much. (Upon looking at his site again, to place his website below, I just discovered that he just recently added an “Immigration Reform” in a newly added “Positions” page. …That’s it? Just one issue?) My message to Trump supporters is this: being anti-Trump is not being pro-Establishment or pro-status quo. You want a political outsider, fine; look to Carly Fiorina, look to Ben Carson for all I care. But a message of ANGER should not be the reason to nominate any Presidential candidate; a proven record along with realistic plans for our country, however, should.


Scott Walker – I really and truly liked Scott Walker before and after he announced. He was actually my #2 for a while. It wasn’t until he came out in support of the Patriot Act when it was being debated, his statements on not ruling out another Iraq war, and going from, his March of 2013 stance on same-sex marriage, where Walker started suggesting that opposition to gay marriage was “generational,” and that it was wiser for Republicans to focus on economic issues to now, after the SCOTUS ruling, suggesting an Amendment to put the marriage debate back on the table. Now, these issues haven’t ruled him out completely, because I do think Walker has been tested, vetted, has a strong anti-union stance, and survived a recall. Talk about getting all the skeletons out of the closet. Liberals went after Walker in that recall with everything they had and tried to dig up every piece of dirt they could… and failed, miserably. He’s also succeeded, and prides himself in defunding Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, long before the recent videos emerged. His problem among women would be that he is not in favor of abortion with the exception of rape, incest or life of the mother. Um… YIKES. There’s not much of a “WOW” factor when it comes to Scott Walker, I’ve noticed. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He just strikes me as someone who could be your friendly, normal neighbor. I have a few conservative friends in Wisconsin, and they have said some pretty harsh things regarding Walker’s record as Governor of Wisconsin, which is a blue state. I suppose I’ll have to dig deeper. Walker too lacks an ISSUES page on his website. He’s been doing pretty good in the GOP polls against the other GOP candidates.

So here’s my overview, or “sum-up” of these candidates:

If you want a Constitutional candidate: Rand Paul
If you want a Tea Party candidate: Ted Cruz
If you want a political outsider candidate: Carly Fiorina
If you want an anti-political correctness candidate: Dr. Ben Carson
If you want a social conservative candidate:  Mike Huckabee
If you want an Establishment candidate: Jeb Bush
If you want a candidate who gives hugs (ask Obama): Chris Christie
If you want a real Texan candidate: Rick Perry
If you want an anti-union candidate: Scott Walker
If you want a Jr. Establishment candidate: Marco Rubio
If you want a common core & medicaid expansion candidate: John Kasich
& If you want a liberal Republican candidate: Donald J. Trump

Look, none of these candidates are perfect to me; even I may differ on some issues with my 2016 pick, Rand Paul. However, I do believe the Reagan philosophy of “The person who agrees with you 80% of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20% traitor.” But when the person who agrees with you 50% or below is your best candidate… it may be time to start looking for a better candidate. Thanks for reading. Comments are always welcome. Godspeed!


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