There is an old story of the optimist who accidently falls off the roof of a 28 story building.

As he tumbled toward his certain death below, he allegedly was heard telling horrified onlookers in windows on the way down: "So far so good ... so far so good ... so far so good ..."

Historically, presidential campaigns can provoke that same reaction from both candidates as well as their staffs and the media.

Things appear to be going well until they are not.

Former Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll for president in August of 2011 and thus earned the front cover of Newsweek magazine.

Then, in the blink of an eye, she was gone as a viable candidate. She dropped out of the race in January 2012.

In 2012, Herman Cain shot like a meteor across the political sky, only to burn out more quickly than he arose, due to alleged past issues with women he had managed while running his private business.

And political insiders from both parties know for a fact that when all the votes were finally counted from the Iowa Republican caucus back in 2012, that luckless former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum most likely won.

Fair or not, by that time the truth became known, the political circus had left for New Hampshire where conventional wisdom already officially had crowned former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the victor in Iowa, and Santorum quickly sank from view, all the while flailing his arms in a vain attempt to set history straight.

This election's meteors have been, and continue to be, Democratic Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman/TV pitchman Donald Trump among the Republicans.

The slogan so far this year for both the Trump and Sanders campaign juggernauts appears to be "so far so good."

But even the hottest political fireballs see their wax wings melt away as they get closer and closer to the sun.

Ask former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart, or former Nixon and Reagan political speechwriter Pat Buchanan, or former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, or televangelist Pat Robertson.

All came, rose, tripped, fell and disappeared.

As of this week, Sanders continues to sail toward the sun, no doubt soon to be undone by a combination of past statements made; positions taken; actions uncovered; and explanations unaccepted by fickle voters.

Trump, however, already found himself tripping over a great political truth this past week.

It's not just the gaffes you have to avoid, but getting caught up in the details and the substance of your positions.

In Trumps case, the substance that tripped him up was his vain effort to seem to appear both tough on immigration while at the same time not seeming to be either arbitrary or capricious when dealing with the individual immigrant families effected by his pronouncements.

Sadly for Trump, he ran into Chuck Todd of NBC News who actually had read the so called Trump Plan on Immigration and with three simple follow-up questions had Trump twisted up like a political pretzel.

In fairness, Trump's real problem was that he listened to experts on immigration who told him what he wanted to hear: That there was a simple answer to a complex problem.

The obvious fact is if there was indeed a simple solution out there which could have resolved the issue of immigration, Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford or Richard Nixon would have discovered it and then had it implemented.

Immigration is an issue in the 2016 election cycle for the very reason that it is not easy.

Also not easy are gun control, poverty, housing, health care, hazardous waste, sewerage treatment and infrastructure repair or replacement.

All are complex issues demanding complex and multi-layered solutions.

And they aren't the only issues.

Consider: Income inequality, voting rights, jobs, ISIS, Iran, North Korea, global warming, obesity, abortion rights, senior services, early education, tuition relief, poverty, violent crime and drug legalization.

Want simple solutions to complex problems?

Watch the talking heads on cable TV.

Want real answers on tough issues?

Wait until the early primaries fade away, and the real candidates are left standing for you to evaluate and support.

Michael Goldman
Published Date: 
Friday, August 28, 2015