The “Token Candidate” Takeover

PolitiChicks.comRecently 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.

Beth Baumann

Beth Baumann is a California native, who grew up with an interest in politics from a young age. Beth attended Northern Arizona University, where she was a member of the NAU Conservatives, an activist organization dedicating to spreading conservative ideals. She also founded the NAU chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, took part in the Flagstaff Smart Girl Politics chapter and helped a local conservative run for Flagstaff City Council. Beth has received national attention due to the First Amendment restrictions on her college campus. She defended her Freedom of Speech when she was ridiculed for handing out flags in remembrance of 9/11. Although she faced misconduct charges, up to and including expulsion, she stood by her Constitutional rights and beliefs. With the help of the Leadership Institute and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), she was eventually exonerated of all charges. During her tenure, she was copy editor for the newspaper, marketing director and film festival director for the campus TV station, and news correspondent for political talk radio. Beth was the Communications Assistant at The American Conservative Union, where she helped with planning and executing different aspects of CPAC 2014, including social media, media strategy and crisis management. Beth works at a well established public relations firm in Southern California. Her work has been featured in The Daily Caller, The Washington Times, World Net Daily and Human Events. Follow Beth on Twitter: @eb454

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