The GOP’s ‘Kobayashi Maru’ Problem

If they want a chance in 2016, they must start acting NOW

In the universe of Star Trek, the Kobayashi Maru is a test taken by cadets at Starfleet command. It is presented as a “no win” scenario in which there are only two possible courses of action:

1. Rescue the crew of a damaged ship, but violate a treaty to do so and provoke a battle (in which you are outgunned and cannot win) with an alien race.

2. Leave the ship alone, thus avoiding the battle but guaranteeing the certain deaths of everyone on board.

This campaign season, the GOP ended up in their own Kobayashi Maru scenario, stemming purely from the nature of the beast as it were.

They never found a good answer. There may not have been a good answer. In order to win the Republican primaries and thus become the Presidential nominee, a candidate was going to have to get the Tea Party contingent of the party on their side. This was not optional. The Tea Party became a large part of the GOP base following the 2008 elections and therefore a large segment of Republican primary voters for the 2012 election came from that group (“Tea Party” here refers to not only groups specifically identified by that name, but also other groups with similar beliefs).

In order to get that Tea Party vote and the GOP nomination, a candidate would have to promote and support viewpoints and policies favored by these groups. We saw what happened when Jon Hunstman tried to go against the grain. He failed miserably.

The eventual GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, took note of this and shifted to the right on all of his positions so he would gain some acceptance among Tea Party voters and not ruin his chances of winning the nomination.

It worked and after winning the primaries he now had to focus on the general election, which meant he’d have to find a way to appeal to wider base of voters if he wanted to win the White House.

Here we find the “Kobayashi Maru” problem.

In order to appeal to a wider range of voters, he’d have to by design support policy positions that were more moderate than what the Tea Party groups were in favor of, but if he did so he’d lose Tea Party support which would damage his chances of beating Obama.

It truly was a no-win scenario.

If he expressed a strong, direct preference for prayer in public schools, he’d hit big with the Tea Party types, but he’d also alienate moderates. If he endorsed religious freedom in schools, he’d gain moderate support but lose backers on the Tea Party side.

For the Romney campaign it became a question of “how do we successfully toe this line so as to not alienate voters on either side?”

They never found a good answer. There may not have been a good answer.

You can talk at length about the myriad of reasons Mitt Romney didn’t win in 2012, but his inability to solve the problem outlined above has to be near the top of that list.

Of course, the public comments by a variety of GOP state and federal candidates didn’t help him much either, nor did the weak response of his campaign to them.

The Romney campaign should have developed a comprehensive public relations plan and done their best to get all GOP candidates on board with it. If someone did make damaging comments, they should have acted quickly and decisively to deal with it.

But this is not just a Mitt Romney problem. It is not just a 2012 problem. It’s a Republican problem and it’s one that needs a solution sooner rather than later. With Obama re-elected the Tea Party will maintain its strength so it seems clear that whoever runs for the 2016 GOP nomination will face the same minefields as Mitt Romney did this time around.

Though there will be a new Democratic nominee next time around, the only chance the GOP has to take back the White House hinges on the answer to this one question:

“How do you win a no-win scenario?”

It’s actually not impossible.

One of the most famous parts of Star Trek canon is that James T. Kirk was one of the few cadets to actually win the Kobayashi Maru scenario and successfully save the damaged ship. He did so by reprogramming the scenario, which, while unethical to a degree, was not against the rules. In fact, he received a commendation as a result because of his “creative thinking”.

What the Republicans really need is a James T. Kirk. Someone who can open them up to a new way of looking at things that could ultimately bring some unity and cohesion to the party.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Marvel’s the Defenders Blind ninja. Smart-ass detective. Bulletproof ex-con. Kung Fu billionaire. Marvel’s The Defenders centers on four outsider heroes that have to put aside their personal issues and come together when a villainous sect threatens to destroy New York City as ...
Thanos
10 hours, 57 minutes ago
Views: 251 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
‘Silent Coup’: Limbaugh Says ?!?! In an impassioned commentary, Rush Limbaugh said he believes the Washington establishment - both Democrats and Republicans - are involved in a "silent coup" against President Trump. Silent coup? Wrong and wrong. As silent as Rachael Maddow, Keith Olberman ...
Unshaken Defiance
2 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 365 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Immigration: Focus LocallyIn these days of Trump and the Republicans attacking everything decent about America, it's too easy to focus on the immediate threat. Trump's Muslim band is back, but everyone is paying attention to the Republicans trying to steal our healthcare. ...
jhncsy
3 days, 3 hours ago
Views: 294 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
‘Submit to Your Husbands’: Women Told to Endure Domestic Violence in the Name of God (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) The culprits were obvious: it was the menopause or the devil. Who else could be blamed, Peter screamed at his wife in nightly tirades, for her alleged insubordination, for her stupidity, her lack of sexual pliability, her refusal to ...
Birth Control Works
4 days, 3 hours ago
Views: 537 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
West Virginia Families, Just Learning About Health-Care Access, Fear It Will Be Taken Away - Rewire In Vienna, West Virginia—just north of Parkersburg, along the Ohio River separating the two states—the only Planned Parenthood health center in the state sits among a scattering of gray and tan buildings beside the main road. A few days ...
Birth Control Works
4 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 601 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Trump Election Commissioner Used Dubious Data to Allege an “Alien Invasion” - Mother Jones Election officials and experts say there’s plenty of reason to doubt those claims.But they could still provide a blueprint for Trump’s commission, which has so far hinted at tighter restrictions on voting in the name of cracking down on ...
Thanos
4 days, 11 hours ago
Views: 536 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Inside the Middle East’s First Rape & Domestic Violence Crisis Program For the last year and a half, there’s been a new sight in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Lodged into stacks of newspapers, stuck to mirrors in restaurant bathrooms, and pinned to grocery store notice boards are small, blue-and-white fliers ...
Birth Control Works
5 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 562 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
First Aid Kit - My Silver LiningFirst Aid Kit perform My Silver Lining at Glastonbury 2017
Thanos
6 days, 2 hours ago
Views: 507 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Jangada - Claudia Villela Quartet at Kuumbwa Jazz Jangada written by Claudia Villela, performed by the Claudia Villela Quartet at Kuumbwa Jazz, Santa Cruz, CA, April 15, 2013 Claudia Villela - vocals, piano, percussionCelso Alberti - drums/percussionJeff Buenz - guitarsGary Brown - bass videography by John Mountaudio ...
Thanos
6 days, 2 hours ago
Views: 376 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Should NYPD Lawyers Step in to Prosecute? Protestors Say No. NEW YORK (AP) -- Arminta Jeffryes was arrested while protesting police brutality. Then the police department played an unusual role in her court case. A New York Police Department lawyer stepped in to prosecute the jaywalking charge against her, ...
Thanos
6 days, 2 hours ago
Views: 442 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0