US Presidential Campaigns are in high gear these few months prior to perhaps the most important Presidential Primary and Caucus contests in American history. This post is about what I — the Red Nation Rising State Manager for Tennessee — observed during two unique opportunities to spend a couple of hours with two of the seventeen GOP candidates, United States Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, and celebrated Businessman Donald Trump. The “compare & contrast” behind the scenes was an amazing experience I am thankful for.
“A man learns more when he doesn’t speak, but rather, observes.”
With that old Indian saying above in mind, my adventure began a few weeks ago when the Williamson County Republican Assembly hosted a meet and greet with Ted Cruz and it culminated with the National Federation of Republican Assemblies #NFRA15 Presidential Preference Convention, hosted by the Tennessee Republican Assembly, featuring Donald Trump.
Cruising Cross Country
Immediately after the first debate, Ted Cruz embarked on a #CruzCountry Bus Tour which brought him to my territory, the State of Tennessee. Having covered a lot of ground with two previous engagements in two prior cities, Candidate Cruz arrived in Franklin around mid afternoon. Naturally, I expected him to be rushed.
Upon his arrival, I along with a few others caught Cruz and greeted him before he entered the throngs of people brimming with excitement. Cruz was very pleasant, took time to shake hands and greet everyone, then assured that he would “make time on the backside”, as he went to enter the building with his Secret Service and ground team. It was very organized, professional and structured.
Charismatic Cruz Keeps His Word, Has Good Character
Mr. Cruz did not disappoint the enthusiastic crowd. He came, he saw, and true to his reputation he cruised! True to form, Ted Cruz gave a great speech. Then, to everyone’s delight, Cruz jumped right in to the assemblage, wading head long into the masses surprising his many supporters. Watching from afar, I observed Ted Cruz offer niceties, shake hands, and pose for mobile cell phone camera “selfies.” He was in every sense a man with real Star Power among the people.
As he made his way back to the bus, I reminded him, “Mr, Cruz, may we get that moment with you?” Fact is, with his schedule he could have easily or inadvertently blown me off, yet to his credit, Ted Cruz honored his word.
I didn’t really ask him anything. I was there more as an observer and to chronicle things for the Red Nation Rising Tennessee Twitter Account. It was a short interaction, with light banter, and photographs. But color me impressed! Ted Cruz may be a politician, but he kept his word, even to this little ‘ole Tennessee woman who was pressing upon his time in the middle of his buzzing bus tour. To me, that says a lot about his good character, as a man.
A few weeks later, Sam Harvey, the Tennessee Republican Assembly (@TNAssembly) Social Media Manager graciously invited me to attend their Presidential Preference Convention. Mr. Harvey and TRA President, Sharon Ford’s expressed desire to truly get behind a real Conservative Candidate, plus the opportunity to have media access to their Featured Speaker, Donald Trump, made it easy for me — as the Red Nation Rising State Manager for Tennessee — to accept with delight!
With Mr. Trump, like Ted Cruz a few weeks earlier, that old Indian adage written above proved true! I learned a lot by just observing.
I was with Mr. Trump literally from the time he stepped out of the car to the time he departed and because of the throngs of people trying to touch him when he was leaving I was nearly thrown into the back seat of his SUV as they were ready to take off. (Imagine THAT story… me accidentally thrust into the vehicle and sitting behind Donald Trump, to everyone’s surprise, including The Donald’s, headed to his private jet plane Trump Force One! It nearly happened!).
Trump Talks True, Is a Huge Character
From the start, Donald Trump took the time to stop and shake hands with me. I greeted him. “Hello Mr. Trump, I am with Red Nation Rising, how are you Sir?” and, Whooosh!, in the most cheerful tone he exclaimed, “Good to meet you! I’m good! C’mon LET’S GO!!”
Boy, what a ride I was in for! I was together with Trump for the entire visit. Not once did he put me off. Not once did he, or his team, cut him off from access. At one point, Event Security wanted to move both the people & media back, to make room for Trump to come thru, when Trump’s campaign manager, Dan Scavino, Jr., shook them off and told them all, “No, just let it happen! Trust me!” It was thrilling. (You can see lil ole me standing to Trump’s left in an image snapped from the television broadcast of ABC’s THIS WEEK and I was also on a clip featured on the CBS Evening News… my Facebook Friends went wild over this one, lol!)
Donald Trump gave a great speech and I was positioned right at the stage. He worked the crowd, yes you bet he did, as he offered details about his plans and encouraged people to look them up. His fiercest critics are wrong. Trump has real plans emerging (you might disagree with them) and Donald Trump does things which not even Dale Carnegie could teach. Again, Star Power! There was a genuine desire in the man to connect, even for the briefest moment, with each person who entered his path. And Trump did.
Synergies of the New York Showman and a Texas Lawman
It’s a smart move for there to be some sort of Trump and Cruz mutual respect for each other. Both men are similar in that each receives pot shots from the Establishment and DC Consultant Class. I’m not endorsing either candidate, and the best part about having met them both, is that I can say I genuinely like them both for different reasons which give the same result. (I’d like to meet even more candidates.)
Before my journey started, I was most impressed with Ted Cruz on policy and viewed Donald Trump as some form of “polititainment.” I figured it would be best to combine Trump’s incredible ability to bring people in, with Ted Cruz’ perhaps more, ummm, “diplomatic and considered” approach to close the deal with voters in probably the most important election of our lives.
After interacting with both candidates and reflecting upon things, there are synergies with Ted Cruz and Donald Trump which are good for the American people. What they are doing is waking people up, enervating crowds desperate to restore America’s greatness, and upsetting the Establishment, including traditional media and the DC dolts. Both Cruz and Trump seem to be attacked more than any other candidates. That’s okay. By boldly being more specific on policy, these two particular candidates — and all the other “Outside The Beltway” candidates like Carson, Carly, and Walker — are winning on social media and bringing in the crowds because they are the ones seemingly fighting most aggressively for regular, good, decent Americans.
And The Winner Is…
Not so simple! In my opinion Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are “Winner Take All” Types. However, that was not to be the case at The National Federation of Republican Assembly. The Straw Poll winner was Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the Delegates picked Ted Cruz. Maybe Delegates need to start listening to the wishes of the majority of people?
In the end, I think the Republican Field is packed with some great candidates and the American people would win with either one who I’ve had the unique opportunity to meet and interact with, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. Both are working hard through their own unique approaches to earn the respect and the votes at the Republican Primaries starting with the Primaries and Caucuses in early 2016 to become “The People’s President!”
As you consider all the options, I hope you’ll reflect on this regular Tennessee gal’s perspective being behind the scenes from the grassroots Red Nation Rising lens.
– Grace King,
We are a Red Nation Rising of Centrists, Conservatives and Libertarians uniting to the right for Civics & Constitutionalism. From a single Tweet to 14 BILLION Social Media Impressions, Red Nation Rising™ is an Internet phenomenon which has transitioned to a serious, national, grassroots organization. Many, many thanks to everyone delving deeper with Red Nation Rising across our growing channels, including our Twitter State Accounts.
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