Opinion: Tensions rise in the GOP primaries

Jacob Tabler is a junior political science major and a member of the Kent State College Republicans. Contact him at [email protected]

Jacob Tabler Kent State College Republicans

This past Tuesday, the road to the Republican nomination continued as the Acela primaries were held. Donald Trump won the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The three candidates have increased their efforts to swing voters, and they will continue to do so as the convention approaches. The relationship between the three candidates has been contentious over the course of the campaign season. However, there has been an interesting turn in recent weeks.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has had an aggressive strategy. He has been quick to criticize any candidate who poses a threat to him. Over the last 10 months he has demonstrated this strategy with criticisms on Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and many others. By putting candidates on the defensive and forcing them to answer tough questions, he has exposed some of their weaknesses. He attacks candidates on policy ideas as well as on personal matters. He has run a campaign of being a non-establishment candidate and has shown no love to any politician contesting his path to the nomination.            

Cruz has taken up the offensive as well and has not spared any criticism for Trump’s policy ideas, personal matters or the things he says, while continuously condemning Kasich for remaining in the race long after there was no mathematical chance of winning the nomination. Overall, Cruz tends to focus his efforts on showing voters his opponents are not conservative enough and asks voters to support a “true conservative.”

Kasich has attempted to run a more positive campaign. While he has been more reluctant to attack his opponents, he has occasionally used similar tactics, albeit to a lesser degree. Kasich has tried to differentiate his campaign by criticizing the campaign styles of his opponents and accusing them of only pointing out problems instead of providing solutions. When they have attempted to suggest solutions, he has been quick to question the feasibility.

However, there is a new aspect of the campaign that added an interesting new twist: Cruz and Kasich have issued statements pledging to coordinate their campaigns to beat Trump by focusing on states that they have a higher chance of winning. Cruz has pledged to focus his campaign efforts on more conservative states such as Indiana, and Kasich will focus on more moderate states such as Oregon. This further illustrates a strong Anti-Trump sentiment from the two candidates and shows how far they are willing to go to prevent him from winning the nomination. Trump has responded to this by calling his opponents weak, and accused them of colluding with one another against his campaign.

Each candidate will continue to try to appeal to voters, and this may translate to attempting to make other candidates look less appealing. The relationships between these three candidates will continue to be tense and may worsen as the convention nears, which will make for an interesting few weeks of campaigning.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Kent State College Republicans as an organization.