The Fallacy of the “Who Can Win” Argument

Who Can't Win?

One of the most despicable arguments used to deter candidates from entering a campaign is the old standard: “You can’t win.”  By now, this argument should finally be put to rest.  Let me state it bluntly: While highly unlikely, it is possible for any eligible person to launch a campaign for President and win.  I could do it. You could do it.  Will I win? Will you? Probably not, but it is possible.  When I see this argument pulled out, it’s usually in the context of somebody or other deriding one candidate in favor of another.  I’ll admit, I may have used it a time or two because it’s an argument that seems on its face to have power to persuade, but should it?  In truth, I don’t think so.  In 1776, there were people dis-inclined to revolt against England who said: “But you can’t win.”  Nevertheless, the war ensued, and in the end, lo and behold, the revolutionaries had won.

I think the same is true in every political election, where the stakes are generally not so directly life and death, but perhaps for this same reason, many are willing to accept that tired and false argument in frustration and despair.  The current media theme is that Sarah Palin shouldn’t run, because “she can’t win anyway.”  Balderdash.

As I’ve explained recently, the polling numbers used to assert Sarah Palin’s lack of viability as a Presidential candidate have revolved around the notion that she has too many Republicans or Republican-leaning detractors.  Do you think this would still be the case if she were the nominee?  Certainly not.  If Mrs. Palin were the alternative to Obama today, she would draw enough of the vote, at a minimum, to make the Obama machine tremble.  The truth is, however, that the election won’t be held today, but instead, in 14 months, when the economy is likely to have remained flat, or worsened.  That is the scenario that keeps the White House awake nights. On the other hand, if by some miraculous machinations, the economy suddenly rebounds, and we see job growth exceeding a half-million per month, Obama will be difficult to defeat.  While unlikely, it is possible.  This is why I argue that whatever candidate the Republicans offer, he or she should be as strong in all other issues as they may be in economics.

There’s another problem with the argument about “who can win.”  It ignores something vital: Whose record best establishes the merit required to get our nomination?  Once you consider this, it’s clear that the “who can win” business becomes irrelevant.  There are those who argue Donald Trump should run, in part because they believe he can win.  Do you think him qualified?  Why? Because he says “You’re fired” with such flair?  I’m really not inclined to accept the “who can win” argument as superseding the “who is best qualified or suited” argument.  Roughly half the registered voters in the country are inclined to agree with Republicans, and roughly half with Democrats.  Anybody who can capture half plus a few more can win.  I want somebody to seek the office who can not merely win, but will be depended upon to carry out their campaign promises, and the only way you and I can know that with any sense of certitude is to examine their records. I’m sure the devil can win any election, but is that what we want?

I think it’s fair to say with all the media hammering home the idea that Palin can’t win, or worse, dropping the hint that she’ll endorse some other candidate, it’s fairly obvious what their intention must be: They want to deter her from a presidential candidacy, and the only possible reason is because they fear she can win it.  As I’ve explained above, she most certainly can.

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3 Responses to The Fallacy of the “Who Can Win” Argument

  1. Well thought out Mark. Kudos. You've persuaded me to drop that line of reasoning & how to counter it in others.

  2. Obama has an agenda. It is not good for America. The Lies and back room, underhanded actions of this administration have to be reversed. The next president has to be someone who truly loves this country, loves our founding principles, and has the moral and ethical fortitude to lead us in those principles. Sarah Palin is the only choice that meets that criteria.

  3. sedeuce says:

    The fact that the "devil" can win elections has been proven in the last Presidential election. It is high time that the traditional media, which has totally abdicated its constitutionally protected role as the 4th estate, get back to its responsibilities as our founders had envisioned – providing unbiased, factual documentation of the people and issues important to "we the people". And it is high time that "we the people" get our heads out of the sand long enough to do a little fact checking on our own, since all the information needed to know exactly who Obama was has been available since well before the 2008 election.