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Avoid the Anger Trap

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona July 11, 2015. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec

As Republican candidates prepare for their next televised debate, they should avoid the temptations of anger and negativity. It’s true that rage merchants can grab headlines and make temporary gains in the polls – and it’s also true that the angriest candidate, Donald Trump, is the current front runner. But in November, the people won’t elect someone just to express their wrath – they will choose instead a candidate who credibly offers to make things better. There’s no candidate in history who ever won the presidency based on rage. Certainly, after seven years of Obama’s misrule there are reasons for frustration, even despair, and at a time when two-thirds think we’re on the wrong track, indignation is appropriate. But the best response is pointing to the right track, not simply hollering about the wretched state of things. Successful politicians have embraced the title “Happy Warrior”; a grumpy warrior can get headlines, but won’t win national elections

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Comments (7)

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  1. jguy  •  Aug 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Michael…as a person who listens to you daily and for many years I have heard
    you comment on the “Happy” factor many times and you are correct BUT until
    six years ago there had never been an Afro-american President and no credible
    candidate but there now has been…. Until eight years ago there had never
    been a credible female candidate…. but that suddenly changed … So is the
    election of a “nothappy” warrior so far out of the question?

  2. Jim Bird  •  Aug 5, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    “There’s no candidate in history whoever won the presidency based on rage.” America has never had such an outrageous president in our history as the current occupant in the White House. So happy-go-lucky candidate dude comes off as a clown to my way of thinking especially with, as you say, 2/3 of Americans are unhappy with our current state of affairs. There has never been such an unbridled abuse of power by a sitting president in my lifetime and probably in our history. How does one egomaniac arm a nuclear Middle East but, at the same time, would throw anyone in prison for talking about building a nuke power plant in
    this country. He has to know his decision will cause an incalculable loss of innocent life – no one can be that stupid. But we all must put on our happy faces and pretend the Emperor is fully dressed.

  3. bill  •  Aug 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Your failure to exert any effort to examine the details of the Trump candidacy beyond the mis-reporting of the main-stream media people, reveals that you are another part of the Republican establishment, trying to stick us with Jeb Bush. Report to the office to pick up your RINO label and wear it proudly.

  4. Mike  •  Aug 7, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Mike, I think times have changed and you do not realize it. If a candidate doesn’t want to express his/her anger he/she at least needs to acknowledge and address voter’s anger. A candidate talking about “joy in his heart” just appears out of touch.

  5. Willie  •  Aug 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Completely agree with you Michael.

  6. Rick  •  Aug 10, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Mike, I’m not sure what many of us are experiencing in anger – that’s a bit simplistic. As for myself, I’m feeling more of a noisy desperation with Republican politicians who, regardless popular mandate to the opposite, seem only to be proficient at excuses why we can’t change anything. Had we been on Mars during the last election, you would think Obama and his policies received a triumphant victory. It’s embarrassing, for example, to all Republicans, that the meaningful voices against Obama’s insane Iran agreement are in his own party.

    I’ve never liked Trump, but I think we are all (especially the current Republican candidates) missing a great lesson from the Donald. Whether we like it, or not, Obama (with his blind abuse of power, destructive policies and relentless bullying of his opponents) has lowered the bar on the civility of the presidency. This election is a street fight – and Donald knows it. The last presidential election was, too, but Romney was too clueless to realize it.

    A happy candidate won’t win this election – Hillary is certainly not warm and fuzzy. If Republicans want to win, they are going to have to fight for it – not by insulting moderators, or angry tantrums, but actually standing for something. It’s not that hard, they just need to listen to their constituents and have the political courage represent them.

  7. Clark Magnuson  •  Aug 17, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Medved’s broadcast last week about happiness is the opposite of angry was so inspiring, it feels like a turning point in my life. The more I focus on being grateful to God, the better I feel.

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