Monday, January 04, 2016

This probably isn't going to end well

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.


August said...

We must all go through the grieving process. The republic for which the flag stands is long dead. There is no one to vote for, since they all openly insist on violating the Constitution in some way. We only have the small comfort of schadenfreude, since Trump's rise annoys the hell out of our enemies.
And, if you vote based on who will do less damage in the Middle East, he's your man.

Additionally, I think a lot of rank and file Democrats will vote for Trump. Many of them are just as mad at their own leadership as the Republicans.

123 said...

I would broaden #2 to include those outside the US looking in: "[Our global friends and allies] should not confuse the GOP base that drives [the Republican Party's] nominating process with the actual electorate that chooses the President in November. They are two different things."

Bernie 2016!

123 said...

Another way of saying it is to remind the world that France is not the Front National. Let's just hope Trump/Cruz:U.S. doesn't become anything like Orbán:Hungary.

123 said...

The Republicans are retreating into a slightly more modern form of the party of George Wallace as the party has become more and more radical in its conservatism (cf. Demographics can point us beyond the obstructionism of angry, paunchy, white men who have watched too many Westerns toward a more balanced, sane conservatism focused on good government initiatives, the curtailing of waste and croneyism, facts-based decision making, and government limited to that for which it is necessary (wherever that line might be drawn exactly) rather than unleashed to do all that is possible. Not only will Latinos and Asians and those in cities who understand how necessary even poor government is to a society disenfranchise those who continue to see themselves alone as 'real Americans', so, too, will the Northern and immigrant migration to Dixiecrat turned Republican strongholds in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, etc. ( continue the kind of change we have already seen in Virginia. Not that these states will become liberal bastions of blue, nor should they, but perhaps it will be enough to modulate the extremes that have been gerrymandered into illusory, homogeneous dominance in those regions and in our Congress.