How to really be an ‘Everlasting GOP-stopper’ November 1, 2015 2 Comments Share tweet Mina Shah Columnist By: Mina Shah | Columnist Usually, it’s easy for me as a radical leftist (I know, you’re all shocked to finally discover where my political leanings lie) to look at the Republican Party and its frontrunners for this upcoming presidential election as a joke. Some of the things that come out of these candidates’ mouths, even for people who identify as being more moderate on the political spectrum, are, in a word, laughable. If we look solely at things that the candidates have said in the last few weeks, we have Dr. Ben Carson comparing women who get abortions to slave owners, Jeb Bush implying that a degree in psychology or philosophy will land a person working at Chick-fil-A, and Ted Cruz attacking a question from a journalist about the federal debt limit, saying that the reason America doesn’t trust the mainstream media is their inability to get at the real issues. And don’t even get me started on Donald Trump and his ideas about wall-building shenanigans. Yikes. I think that the laughing comes in as a sort of defense mechanism. I’d like to think that when I’m watching these debates or reading their recaps the next day, I’m watching a comedy or reading a series of satirical cartoons. But my laughter is dangerous, as is the laughter of anyone who is spending this election season by my side laughing or writing off the Republican nominees. When I chuckle at the Republican candidates, I’m not taking them seriously as politicians. I’m ignoring the possibility that one of these candidates could win the general election. Which is arguably just as scary as the things they themselves are saying. Because the reality of the situation is that not only do these candidates (most of them, anyway) have the likelihood of winning the nomination, but they also have a pretty solid shot at the White House. While I don’t like the idea of a Republican in the White House, it’s something that I (and other straight-up deniers of the Republican Party) should consider realistically. Because in the likely event that one of them ends up as president, I need to understand the way that they think and campaign, as well as the justification for their stance on certain issues. Without this understanding, less effort towards bipartisanship will be made. Less effort will result in less bipartisanship, thus creating a potentially unproductive presidency. If we don’t take these candidates seriously, we decrease the chance of a victory for the Democratic Party in this election. We need to pay attention to the strategies of those in the other party to even have a remote shot at defeating them. While the candidates may market themselves as “aw shucks” kinds of every-people, the ones that have a real shot at winning are intensely intelligent. Take Marco Rubio, for example. If you watch even just the highlights of his debate performance last week, every single statement that came out of his mouth was a ready-to-go quip that demonstrated his readiness to fight cleanly by aggressively addressing major issues in order to win this election, and his unwillingness to involve himself in the personal politics of the race. This isn’t funny. Or it shouldn’t be. Rather, it should be deeply concerning to the Democrats. We need to be taking the Republicans seriously in order to determine how to best and successfully strategize against them in their quest to reclaim the White House. It is true that it is still very early in the 2016 presidential race, and perhaps my new wave of realization has me getting cautious a little too early. But it’s problematic that this early on I can list so many potential GOP candidates off the cuff, while before about a week and a half ago I only knew of Sanders and Clinton as running in my own party. Don’t get me wrong — I’m still going to suggest theoretical games to play every time a debate comes on. The scoring will be based on the number of diverted questions, the number of personal attacks, the frequency of things said that simply aren’t true and the reaction time of the players to all of these possible events. But instead of pretending I’m watching a comedy show, I’m going to take this stuff seriously, end up spending debate evenings crying and then try to convince as many people as possible that they need to vote intelligently come next year. Contact Mina Shah at minashah ‘at’ stanford.edu. GOP presidential candidates seriousness 2015-11-01 Mina Shah November 1, 2015 2 Comments Share tweet Subscribe Click here to subscribe to our daily newsletter of top headlines.