This column appeared in print at the Republican Party of Texas state convention this past week in Dallas. The column was featured in the El Republicano newspaper, which was published by the Federation of Hispanic Republicans.
By Nelson Spear
While I have not mastered the art of playing blackjack, I have come to understand the concept of “Basic Strategy” and why it should be followed by everyone who is on the same table as you are.
For those who are not familiar with Basic Strategy in blackjack, it is summed up like this: There are strategic times when playing blackjackagainst the house that it is appropriate to hit, split, double down or stand when your cards are compared to the dealer’s up card. By using Basic Strategy, in the long term, a player can pick times to time a bigger bet against the dealer when there is an advantage over the dealer. There are at least two components of implementing Basic Strategy when playingblackjack. 1). The player does not pin all of their hopes on one hand, and; 2). All of the players at the table must be practicing Basic Strategy in order for everyone to have the opportunity to beat the dealer.
That is when the idea of this article hit me (pun intended).
The 2016 presidential primary is just like one hand out of one shoe in a session playing blackjack. The times that I have successfully played ablackjack session are those sessions that have involved several hands from several shoes. When you are seriously playing the game, it can be a real slog. While I never like getting beaten on a single hand, some in politics act like they never knew the rules of the game before they sat down to a table at which they chose to play. But, as in blackjack, Republican convention politics necessitate that you know the rules before you sit down and play. To play and to not know the rules, as in all aspects of life, is a perilous endevaor.
I have won and lost playing blackjack. Each session involves playing through many single deck and double deck shuffles and also the multi-deck shoes. Some sessions are better than others. Did I win every hand? No, that is not to be expected. Did I come out a winner in every shoe in those sessions? No, that is not to be expected either. Did I have some “bad beats” in those hands? Oh Yeah! But at the end of the session, I always came back to the conclusion that I had a better chance of coming out a winner because I stuck with the Basic Strategy. I stuck to it even after I placed my bet and I “knew” that I was going to get beat after doubling down on an eleven and drawing a four to the dealer’s nine card. I just waited for the next hand.
Additionally, I have noticed that when there are several players at a table and there is one player who does not use Basic Strategy, it tends to jinx the whole table. I cannot count (pun intended) the number of times that I have doubled down on a large bet for the third baseman to not follow the simplest of basic strategies (like not taking a card with a soft fourteen to a dealers nine card). My experience tells me that every player at theblackjack table must play Basic Strategy for the best chance at a profitable session.
The Basic Strategy in politics is to stick with the current process though it may not result in wins for everyone at the table. What many people fail to realize is that the game rules are set way in advance of the cards being dealt. For example, Trump complains that Cruz is stealing all of his delegates. What Trump fails to mention is that all of the rules that he is complaining about were set in place well before the primaries were held. The solution is not changing the rules in the middle of the game but playing the hand that we are dealt and not walking away from a great 6-deck shoe (the overall Republican message). After the November election period shoe, Cruz should lobby for closing the Republican primary to only declared Republicans. Trump should lobby for a more transparent delegate selection process.
But here is where the analogy breaks down. In blackjack, I always have had the option of not playing or playing at another table. The option of not playing or changing tables is not an option for us devoted to conservatism in politics because to do so would result in multiple Democrat victories across the board. Not just in November, but in every election. Many people smarter than me agree with me on this point.
Honestly, I have not been thrilled about some of the past Republican Presidential tickets. I have a strong sense that I will not be thrilled about the 2016 ticket. Despite the Presidential ticket, I believe that a Conservative Republican Basic Strategy can win this November no matter who is on it. The ticket won’t always win, but in the long run, it is the moral and right game plan. That is why I am unconditionally supporting the Republican Presidential ticket.
I close with this thought. Committing to playing Conservatism Politics consistently, despite setbacks, is the Basic Strategy mindset that the conservatives of the GOP need to play for long term political wins. Will we win every election using this strategy? No. Even the Reagan landslides of the 1980s did not produce 100% winners. But, it did produce overall wins. Conservative politics is the game that many of us conservatives have anted up and signed up for. Let’s stick to the Basic Strategy and support the eventual Republican nominee no matter who it is. Let’s play the cards that we are dealt. Unless we all play the game the same way, we will all lose. The current hand is not over until November. And I think that Hillary is going to bust.