State of the 2016 Race
A weekly column for The Hill analyzing the current state of the 2016 presidential race.

The next great presidential candidate:

1. Has yet to appear.

2. Will include in his/her repertoire something Peggy Noonan pointed out in a column last week comparing the death of CBS's Bob Simon and the despicable lies and fabrications of NBC's Brian Williams: "America is hungry for authenticity and honesty and fiercely resents its absence from places where it should be."

3. All of the current candidates — in both parties — have allowed themselves to melt away their individual "authenticity" by allowing campaign consultants, pollsters and other hangers-on to "tell" them how to speak, what to wear, how to gesticulate and — most importantly — what to say.

4. This next great presidential candidate will focus not on money but message. Because this is the key to winning the White House.

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5. A unique and powerful message without money is much more valuable than a lot of money but no message.

6. The so-called mainstream media do not understand this at all. Instead, they are obsessed with quarterly filings with the Federal Election Commission.

7. There have been plenty of previous candidates — e.g., John Connally in 1980 and Phil Gramm in 1996 — who were fundraising machines but had no message. How'd they do?

8. But having a unique and powerful message separates you from the pack — and money then will come to you.

9. And nowadays the rules and election laws have made it possible for an entire presidential campaign to be legally funded by a handful of people. So instead of spending all your time raising money, you can spend it on the content of the message.

10. But none of the current crop — in either party — seem to be doing so. No wonder none of their messages are cutting through.

11. Here is what they are missing — and why they are not connecting with the voters:

12. There is a sense throughout America that our nation — America — is in decline. That life here in the future is not going to be better, but in fact worse.

13. And that this decline has been brought about by a corrupt leadership class.

14. A corrupt leadership class in the political/governmental world — encompassing the establishment of both political parties — that has morphed into a corrupt leadership class in the business world, the academic world, the media, the medical and scientific world; even the sports and entertainment world.

15. And contrasted to that corruption are the huge majority of American citizens who feel powerless to fight it — and feel that all hope is being lost.

16. These corrupt elites are masters, too, at dividing Americans against each other; the "hyphenated American" is something that proliferates these days. We all are categorized into African-American, Hispanic-American, European-American, etc.

17. Whatever happened to being just a plain old American — and being very proud of it, too?

18. The message that is missing in this race — and that will propel a candidate not only to the White House but also to the ranks of the political hall of fame — will take some out-of-the-box political courage, but here are the opening lines:

19. "I am not running for president as a Republican. I am not running for president as a Democrat. I am running as an American."

20. "I am not running to preside over a once-great nation as it deteriorates. No, if you agree with me that the United States of America is worth saving, then we have to be the ones — you and me — to save it by defeating the corrupt establishment of both parties and this dangerous attitude that greed and feathering your own nest is the reason to enter government. If you think things are great in this country, then keep voting for these same people. But if you want to change things and get America back on its way to her destiny, then vote for me."

21. More of "the message" in the weeks to come.

Former Rep. LeBoutillier (R-N.Y.) is the co-host of "Political Insiders" on Fox News channel, Sunday nights at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. He will be writing weekly pieces in the Contributors section on the "State of the 2016 Race."