In the marathon of US Presidential campaigns, the most important advantages are money, name-recognition and the support of one of the major party machines. But if those were the only factors, Hillary Clinton already would be at the end of her second term. They’re not. Hillary’s husband was a stealth-horse candidate (‘dark horse’ not being mentionable, currently), and so were all his political godfathers, including JFK and Jimmy Carter.
It takes only a glance at the latest Fox News poll, at right, to see who has the ‘stealth’ strength at this early date when all the attention is focused on Donald Trump. I find it very encouraging that numbers two and three on the list are such strong candidates, ideologically, cerebrally and morally. Dr. Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, whether on the same ticket or individually, are outstanding conservative candidates.
And what of Trump? Despite his potential and deep resources and the obvious benefit his strong voice has been to the contest overall, many expect him to “flame out” over the next year or so. I’m one of those people, at the moment, at least.
And, for the moment, Ted Cruz seems to be playing the ideal, long-term stealth game. Matt K. Lewis wrote a piece about this earlier today in which he praised several of Cruz’s strategic moves. Lewis has some insider knowledge about the campaigns of Cruz and Rick Perry, but no current connection with the Cruz campaign. He comments on Cruz’s decision to enlist Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel:
But Cruz’s embrace of McDaniel also reminds me of something. In his book Hardball, Chris Matthews recalls how a one-term Georgia governor named Jimmy Carter was able to build a national network capable of winning the 1976 presidential nomination.
It started with the 1974 mid-terms. On the night of the ’74 elections, when the DNC chairman was calling the winners, Matthews writes, “the governor was calling the losers.”
We have a long way to go in this contest, but conservatives have found some hope, for the moment, in Donald Trump. Fortunately, one of the joys of having a deep bench is that our hope is not carried by just one rich guy and his Slovenian supermodel wife. That’s probably a good thing.