Saturday, December 12, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 50

For the past 50 Saturdays, I have written about next year's Presidential election. There have been many developments, but the sense is that the real action is not going to get underway for a couple more months. The Republican Party ought to be in line to win the White House next November, but little has happened in the pre-primary process thus far that might have been expected, and thus, there is the chance the GOP can totally blow this.

That will surely happen if Donald Trump manages to maintain his lead in polls and wind up winning delegates once the contest gets underway. I am sick of writing about him though and do not know if there are really words to describe how horrible he and his candidacy have been for those of us who believe in conservative values and the inclusive greatness of America. The candidate has taken a stance, in the wake of this month's terrorist attack in California, where he called for a ban on all Muslims entering America. Whether it was really a blanket statement as first seemed to be the case, or whether he now accepts exceptions for Muslim-American citizens, it is chillingly anti-American values, not to mention unconstitutional and unworkable. Yet, a good deal of people approve of that stance, an unfortunate reaction to the weaknesses exhibited by Barack Obama in his unwillingness to wage or recognize a War on Terror.

To say the least, we desperately need a new President after our elections next year, but there is no way I could ever vote for Hillary Clinton and there is no way I could ever vote for Donald Trump. I pray that my party, which I have faithfully identified with for over 25 years, will allow me a better option to support. I would vote for Ted Cruz to be sure, but would be fairly apocalyptic about his chances in a general election. We need to do better, and I will remain confident we will, if not with my choice of Jeb Bush, or another mainstream Governor like John Kasich, then with an articulate conservative like Marco Rubio.

The future of the Republican contest has gotten a lot of attention in recent days. What if nobody clinches enough delegates to secure the nomination on the first ballot? Could we really have a brokered convention for the first time in generations? while that is still sort of unlikely, it is definitely a more real possibility that at any time in modern history. Maybe Mitt Romney can get an opportunity after all. The GOP party apparatus though would be most focused on denying the nomination to Trump, and possibly to Cruz.

I wish to stress that rules are rules and if any candidate genuinely and fairly clinches the magic number of delegates to be nominated, there is nothing that the RNC or anyone else can do to stop them. However, if they are short, and the contest is not resolved at next summer's convention, then all options should be on the table, including a coalescing behind a candidate who never even entered the field. This would surely be beyond fascinating for political junkies, but hopefully unnecessary for Republicans who want a clean resolution.

Of course, this talk has emboldened Donald Trump to once again talk about bolting the GOP for a third party bid. Ben Carson is now saying the same things, even as his stock has continued to tumble in recent weeks. There is still some ways to go before voting gets underway and there are sure to be battles between Cruz and Rubio and perhaps more so now between Cruz and Trump. Chris Christie is seemingly getting a bump in New Hampshire. Will that continue or will Jeb Bush have one last stance?

The campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire will be fast and furious, but not much is likely to change until the new year. Next Tuesday, Republicans will meet in Las Vegas for the final debate of 2015 and there may be some fireworks.

Donald Trump cannot win the general election as the GOP nominee, nor frankly should he. He also can probably make it impossible for Republicans to win a general election if he were to become a major independent candidate. I think he would find it fairly difficult at this point to get on the ballot everywhere though, but there is no denying that so much uncertainty hangs over this mess of a race as long as Trump continues to be a force and people continue to buy what he is peddling. More and more voices lately have raised, what I have said for months, that a "deal" between Trump and his old friends the Clintons may very well be behind this all, with the ultimate goal of electin gHillary President.

Ideally, he will be defeated and will fade away, but that has been predicted for months now. How far down the wire does this have to go? Is Cruz really the only eventual realistic alternative in today's GOP environment? At what point does honor and conscience "trump" political calculations? I have always voted Republican in every election at every level and fully intend to continue that streak, but Donald J. Trump is a bridge way too far. Whatever the consequences, I wish he would get the hell out of the Grand Old Party and do so today. 


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