On Tuesday night, the GOP presidential hopefuls clamored around the “kitchen table” to discuss the economic status of the country and their plans to eradicate the economic problems that many Americans face. With less than three months until the first primary in New Hampshire, the race is becoming heated.
As of late, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) have made a surge in the polls, jumping into second and third place respectively in some polls and winning major straw polls. While the polling spikes are in large part due to the overall poor quality of the GOP field, both Cain and Paul have connected with the grassroots Republicans and capitalized on their time in the spotlight. Cain and Paul have made headway in the race because they have stuck to their guns and provided Republican voters with simple solutions. They are not fringe candidates anymore, but rather genuine contenders.
Cain’s “radical” 9-9-9 plan has been the focal point of his election, and if Tuesday night was any indication, he plans to beat it to a bloody pulp each time a microphone is shoved in his face. While the 9-9-9 plan may not be the greatest economic strategy since Reaganomics, it does provide a simple solution that most voters can get their heads around – unlike Romney’s 59-point plan. Cain is not reinventing the wheel with his revision of the tax code, as it is basically a flat tax, but it is simple. In the convoluted mess that is our economic recession, simplicity is a welcome sight.
Cain's straight talk has also connected with the GOP base. He speaks from his heart, albeit sometimes before thinking. He says what he truly believes, instead of touting simple party rhetoric. Cain is benefiting from not being a life-long politician.
In contrast to Cain's sudden surge, Paul has been lurking in the shadows whilst slowly increasing his poll numbers throughout the race. Voters, a surprising amount of who are young adults, flock to Paul despite little to no media coverage. This is likely because of his unwavering commitment to get America’s government back to its purest form. Capitol Hill runs rampant with flip-floppers, but no one has charged Congressman Paul of flip-flopping. In fact, Paul's message is incredibly consistent. He has set off a wave of criticism concerning the federal government, particularly the Federal Reserve and its Chairman Ben Bernanke. Yes, his beliefs are a bit whacky, and some are downright unrealistic (such as getting rid of the FAA) but voters admire his ability to stand firm behind his beliefs in the face of heavy criticism.
Like Cain, Paul's own policy ideas leave little to the imagination. He does not attempt to sugarcoat his ideas, but instead gives people what they want – a straightforward answer. Paul’s firm belief that federal spending should be slashed to the bare-minimum is aiding him with fiscal conservatives who are fed up with the high amounts of government spending.
Paul and Cain are showing that the elections are not simply about money; both have miniscule fundraising funds compared to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. In lieu of that, their campaigns offer substance. However, while Paul and Cain have made the race interesting, the race is still Romney’s to lose.
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