Saturday, March 26, 2016

Race for the White House Volume 65

This past week saw terror by the hands of ISIS once again come to the capital of a European democracy. Americans were among the killed and wounded in Brussels, Belgium. Clearly, the stakes of this Presidential election and American leadership as a whole are so critical. Yet, there is much to be frightened about in that regard.

The current President of the United States continues to go out of his way to minimize the threat of Islamic extremism and has been said to talk about how swimming pools are more dangerous to Americans than jihadists. Just hours after the Belgium attacks, he does the "wave" at a baseball game in Cuba with a Communist dictator and later dances the Tango in Argentina. The concept of the leader of the free world having a more concerned and steadfast tone in the wake of these attacks continues to be lost on him.

Obama is not alone in not being up to the task. The Republican front-runner for President has spent this week talking about running attack ads about the Chicago Cubs and engaging in a banal spree of threats and Twitter attacks against Heidi Cruz, the successful and accomplished wife of Donald Trump's chief remaining primary opponent.

It has been another less than proud week for Republicans but Trump knows that he has it easily in his capacity to dominate the media cycles and that seems to be all that matters. An anti-Trump SuperPAC, in the guise of asking people in conservative Utah to vote for Ted Cruz, featured an old print ad of an unclothed Melania Trump and her husband took to Twitter to accuse Cruz himself of being behind it, and threatened to "spill the beans" on Heidi Cruz. That led both men to engage in a back and forth for the rest of the week, even with the international terrorism issue so prevalent. Trump re-Tweeted an unflattering photograph of Mrs. Cruz and contrasted it with one of his own wife. Real classy stuff there. Ted Cruz responded by looking at a camera and calling Trump a "sniveling coward" and saying "leave Heidi the hell alone." It was without a doubt the best moment of the Cruz campaign as far as I am concerned, but Trump has managed to get Cruz down in the gutter with him, which never leads to good things. Cruz had a curious statement yesterday in which he referred to Trump as a rat but the bottom line from all of this is that Cruz seems to be (and might really be) very pissed at Donald Trump for attacking his family. That leads the possibility of them "cutting a deal" at the convention less likely and that could be bad news in the long-run for Trump. Cruz is even making statements which seem to indicate that he could no longer support Trump, if Trump becomes the nominee.

Yesterday, the Republican campaign took an even more bizarre turn as the National Enquirer, a tabloid publication which has endorsed Trump, and which the editor has close ties to Trump, ran a story alleging that Senator Cruz has had five extra-martial relationships, including one on the campaign trail with Carly Fiorina's campaign manager, one with a former Cruz staffer who is now a CNN pundit, as well as a former campaign volunteer who now has a high-ranking role with the Trump campaign. These women have denied the allegations as has Cruz, forcefully, and the candidate has made it clear that he holds Trump directly responsible. Indeed, there seems to be some evidence that Trump henchman Roger Stone might have been shopping this story, while others say it was associates of Marco Rubio who were long looking to dump dirt on the socially conservative Cruz.

I would be surprised if these stories about Cruz are true, but I really do not even care at this point. I am in the "Better Ted than Dead" column in regards to stopping Trump from amassing delegates but I want them both to be passed over for a more electable candidate at the convention. If the two of them mutually destroy each other politically, that is fine with me. Trump has said he does not know if the Enquirer story is true or not but pointed out that they were once right about John Edwards having an affair as a Presidential candidate. The left has also adopted that line about Cruz. The Enquirer may have been correct about Edwards, but they have also published stories saying that Hillary Clinton had an affair with Vince Foster, that Barack Obama was gay and the Obamas were divorcing, that Hillary had just six months to live, and all sorts of things that could be classified as "tabloid trash."

Looking briefly at the Democrat race, Hillary Clinton won Arizona this past Tuesday but has lost other contests in the past week. Just when it looks like her momentum might be unstoppable, Bernie Sanders pulls off wins, by huge margins, mostly in Caucus states. Today, Sanders has throttled Clinton in Alaska and Washington and many expect he will win Hawai'i in short order tonight as well. Hillary has the lead in delegates, but Sanders has a ton of money and far more passion behind his campaign than Clinton has. He has won more states and more delegates that Democrat insiders ever planned for. They are going to have their own divided convention this summer. Might she have to actually put him on the ticket? These should all be considered very troubling signs for Democrats, but as I have stated before, the GOP is in such a state of complete chaos, Democrats might just skate by minimal real opposition in 2016.

If I had the time or desire, there are lots of aspects of the campaign I could discuss, but am going to be wrapping this up shortly. All sorts of Republicans and conservatives, despite the presence of John Kasich in the race, are moving towards Ted Cruz as a means to stop Trump. Kasich runs far best in a general election out of all the GOP candidates, but Cruz has a lot more delegates. That is why former candidate Jeb Bush has now endorsed the Cruz campaign and other "establishment" figures are following suit. It is unknown how all this battling over wives will affect the race, but there are some polls now showing Cruz nipping at Trump's heels.

Trump, as expected, won Arizona and all its delegates on Tuesday, but he also lost Utah, as expected. What might not have been expected is just how completely decimated Trump was in Utah. Cruz won nearly 70 percent of the vote, and Trump was a distant third, just somewhat into double digits. It was clearly Trump's worst state. Cruz may have some genuine fans there, but I think this was really mostly an anti-Trump vote, and Utah Republicans voted strategically and with great discipline for Cruz, who easily got a majority and all of the delegates.

Kudos to Mitt Romney, now a Utah resident and voter, who encouraged this to happen. Trump going after Romney and questioning if he was really a Mormon, did not help matters there for him. Regardless of that though, Mormons just do not like Trump, and for good reason. He represents everything they are against. They are far better, more decent, and more moral people than Donald Trump. If Trump were the GOP nominee, polls show he might even lose what is traditionally the most Republican state of the country, to Hillary Clinton.

I cannot endorse the concept of voting for Clinton, but the people of Utah who have decided they could never vote for Donald Trump are right and I salute them for it. Those of us who are Jewish or part of other religious minorities, like the LDS Church, know just how completely dangerous and un-American Trump's campaign themes and "proposals" are. On this Easter weekend, I  hope the Mormon Church wins some converts.


At 6:36 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Bold Prediction: my home state's junior United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) will be the GOP nominee & the 45th President!


Post a Comment

<< Home