I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but if I were to do one, I think I would resolve to avoid all 2016 political predictions. To begin with, the rules no longer seem to apply. Anything can happen and probably will. I no longer say that Trump or Cruz could never be nominated. Either of them very well could and may. Fortunately, being nominated does not equal being elected. That would have to happen in an America I no longer recognize. I still think a Trump nomination spells doom for the GOP, if not an outright party split. And if they do not nominate him, Trump may very well go the third party route. The Republicans have no one else to blame but themselves for this predicament. This is a toxic brew they’ve been nurturing, and now Trump has harnessed it and made it his own.
And secondly, all of my predictions for what happens on the first Tuesday in November are simply too grim to contemplate. It is going to be bad enough when it happens, so why acknowledge it beforehand? In the past, I have always voted for the candidate I deemed least likely to do something incredibly stupid in the Middle East. With Barak Obama, that has turned out to be a “less than/more than” situation, rather than an either/or situation. And his “less than” is a lot “more than” I would have liked. But even that criteria doesn’t hold this time around. Today I listened to both Ben Carson and Chris Christie in separate interviews. Each refused to condemn the 40 beheadings in Saudi Arabia. The former stated that we should be more supportive of our allies, the Saudis, and implied that our playing footsie with the Iranians justified this action. The latter, when pressed about the flimsiness of the charges against the 40 unfortunate captives, stated that he had no sympathy for Iranians. Nice. So that is what passes for conventional wisdom in the GOP field, I suppose. But what is my alternative? Hillary Clinton??? The rest are just chicken hawks. She’s the real thing. Anyone who believes she is not the most hawkish candidate in the field simply hasn’t been paying attention. So, if I followed my former logic, I would be supporting either Trump or Cruz, who are the least bombastic when it comes to military action in the Middle East. That is how crazy things are this year. I’m so confused.
In lieu of predictions, I will venture just a few caveats and leave it there.
1. Democrats discount the level of broad discontent with the Establishment Party at their own peril. Likewise, they would be wise to address the genuine lack of enthusiasm for their putative nominee, Hillary Clinton.
2. Republicans should not confuse the GOP base that drives their nominating process with the actual electorate that chooses the President in November. They are two different things.
3. Whoever wins, the impasse continues and we will remain largely ungovernable. And all things considered, maybe that is for the best.