The “Token Candidate” Takeover
Recently I read an interesting piece by National Journal that explained why a number of women are not jumping on the Carly Fiorina bandwagon. It got me thinking: when I hear from a Carly supporter, why do they support her?
For many, they cite her success (which some argue against) at HP. Others like her foreign policy positions and hard stance on Planned Parenthood.
It’s difficult not to question some people’s motive for support. A handful of conservative voters are so focused on getting the first woman in the White House because they don’t want the Democrats to have that victory. In their eyes, the Democrats already won the victory to having the first African American president so it’s as if the Republican Party “deserves” to have the first woman.
This is what we can refer to as “token candidates.” They’re great on paper–they follow the party’s platform (more or less), and they can bring in a group of minority voters. Carly appeals to women; Carson to black voters, and Rubio to Hispanic. In many ways, most of the declared candidates can appeal to a part of the voter base Republicans have struggled in the past to get.
But it leaves me wondering if our party is picking and choosing candidates for the right reasons. Are we picking candidates who appeal to voters who aren’t traditionally Republican, or are we picking candidates who share our values and beliefs? Could this lead to our party becoming like the Democrats, where we worry more about identity politics than we do about conservative principles? A candidate’s nationality or religion shouldn’t be the primary focus of every discussion. Their thoughts and policies are what should be the driving force behind our voting behavior.
The reason we’re in such an economic disaster is because our nation allowed identity politics to dictate our country. Everyone was so focused on see the first black man as president that very few people paid attention to Obama’s policy proposals. Voters cared more about the color of his skin than they did the content of his character. It’s a notion that goes against everything Dr. King stood for.
As we get deeper into the 2016 election cycle, I ask my fellow Americans to ask themselves, “Why do I support this particular candidate?” This question is something that should be asked across the board, not just of presidential candidates.
Are you voting for a city council candidate or congressional candidate because of their qualifications and policy proposals or because of their race, gender or religion?
At the end of the day, America needs a president who is going to lead the nation to prosperity again. I don’t care if it’s a woman, a Hispanic or a man with a horrible comb-over. As long as he or she can get the job done and do so fighting for conservative principles, then that’s who I want to receive the GOP nomination.