Celebrity Candidates – Can Traditional Republicans Beat Them?


Source: Alabama Media Group

In the wake of last night’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate in Boulder, Colorado, two Senior Fellows in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution have asked an interesting question: Can any Republican beat the celebrity candidates? 

“The question in the Republican presidential nomination race,” according to William Galson and Elaine Kamarck, “is whether a traditional candidate—someone with government experience—will emerge in time to challenge and then defeat the celebrity candidates who have never spent a day in elected office but have been dominating the public’s attention and the polls so far.”

“With evident exasperation,” the Brookings Fellows note, Ohio Governor John Kasich described traditional Republicans’ challenge in his opening statement at the debate: “We’re on the verge of picking someone who can’t do this job.”

Latest data from realclearpolitics.com shows Donald Trump polling nationally at 26.8% and Ben Carson polling at 22%. The leading traditional Republican, Senator Marco Rubio, sits a distant third at 9% followed by Governor Jeb Bush (7%) and Senator Ted Cruz (6.6%).

Galson and Kamarck offer their prediction as the conclusion of their post:

“If the Republican nominating campaign belatedly moves past the celebrity candidates and returns to its traditional pattern, it could end up pitting the leader of movement conservativism against the champion of the establishment, and we could end up with an all Cuban-American final.  Alternatively, the Republicans could offer us someone with gubernatorial experience opposing a senator who lacks such experience.  But if the nominating electorate continues to turn its back on the entire leadership of its party, the 2016 Republican presidential nominee could end up testing the public’s willingness to entrust the Oval Office to an untried and unpredictable candidate.  Unless all the rules of American politics have been abrogated, the odds are against it.”

Rubio versus Cruz? Bush, Kasich, or Christie? Can a traditional Republican candidate beat the celebrity candidates and win the GOP nomination for president?

Dr. O.


About SaintsGOV16
We are students in Dr. Ostroff's sections of U.S. Government at All Saints' Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas. (www.aseschool.org).

13 Responses to Celebrity Candidates – Can Traditional Republicans Beat Them?

  1. Isaiah H. says:

    What the celebrity candidate’s lack in experience they make up for with unconventional ideas and a strong following outside of the political world. The logical choice would be to elect an experienced candidate, though I question whether that different way of thinking could benefit the advancement of our country.

  2. SaintsGOV16 says:

    Celebrity candidates have a tendency to gain more attention from the people than regular candidates in debates, but candidates with political experience should be the ones getting the attention. They are better prepared to run our country

    Walker R

  3. SaintsGOV16 says:

    I believe that a traditional candidate should beat a celebrity candidate if they know what the people want and follow through with it. They should not only be politically smart but they also should know how to work a crowd, for lack of better words. It would be a challenge to beat a celebrity and they should know that.
    Mimi G

  4. 16carrolla says:

    I think that having a celebrity as a canidate is just for the hype. When it actually comes down to who the voters are going to choose in the voting booths, they will choose who they want to l ead their country, not who stirred the pot the most.

  5. Dr. Ostroff says:

    Allena – I love the comment about whether a candidate is a “true believer” in what she is saying. I think that may be the foundation of why so many potential voters are attracted to Trump, Carson, and (even) Bernie Sanders — authenticity. Voters seem to believe that these candidates say what they actually believe. How might traditional Republicans break through the perception that they would say anything to get elected — because they are “professional politicians”??

  6. SaintsGOV16 says:

    I believe that a traditional Republican should win the GOP nomination over any of the celebrity candidates. Entrusting someone with lack of experience or someone simply known as a celebrity businessman could lead to harsh times. I believe that the Republican party should nominate a candidate with experience in politics rather than simply the “interesting character”. The current leader in most GOP polls is Trump; and I do not believe he is well suited to run our country. Instead, I truly believe there are many traditional Republicans who would do a fantastic job in office.

  7. SaintsGOV16 says:

    I do not believe a traditional candidate will be able to beat the celebrity candidate and win the GOP nomination. This is because no candidate will be able to gain enough publicity as candidates like Donald Trump, due to his radically forthright opinions, and Ben Carson, for his prestigious public image as a neurosurgeon. Although a number of members of the Republican party would prefer a traditional, non-radical candidate, none would be able to make themselves well-known like the other candidates. Trump and Carson got to where they are by their unique actions and ideas, thus gaining more attention. Without change, we run the risk of a lack of progress in our Government and society.

    By Kristin C.

  8. Dr. Ostroff says:

    Thanks for your comment, Jernee – I appreciate you!! I wonder about “if they are up for the challenge” –> what sort of “challenge” do these celebrity candidates present for traditional Republicans? How big a “challenge” to you see??

    • govjerneeg says:

      There may be challenges for the Republican candidates, because people are much more familiar with the celebrity candidates and may want to automatically vote for them because they are popular. The Republican candidate will be the determining factor on how big or small his or her challenge is due to their actions in getting more well known in the election. How they expose themselves to the people. The manner in which they campaign.

  9. govallenah says:

    I believe that anyone can beat someone out from the political poles if you have enough support and the candidate is a true believer of what he is saying. But with the actual stability of the poles and how they are standing now because it is Trump and because it is Carson and they are two of the most popular human beings in America right now. Yes, a popular candidate can win and have more support but a less popular candidate could gain support and beat them out but it is unlikely, especially regarding the fact that all of the popular ideals of the candidates have already been established as someone else’s beliefs.

    • govmarissar says:

      I agree with what Allena commented about anyone beating out anyone in the political poles. However, I would like to elaborate on when she states that they could win if they are a true believer of what they are saying. I don’t think that it would matter so much if the candidate himself believed what he is saying, why would he say it if he didn’t believe it? It comes down to convincing others of his belief, of making them believe that they want just the same as him. In the end it does come down to popularity, only maybe try to become popular in other outlets through the media.

  10. govjerneeg says:

    There is a saying that I go by. “Any given person can do any given thing on any given day,” so I would not underestimate any one. I believe that anyone can accomplish anything. So yes, a traditional Republican candidate beat the celebrity candidates and win the GOP nomination for president if they are up for the challenge.

    by JerneeG

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