Saturday, July 16, 2016

Race for the White House Volume 81

The 2016 election cycle calendar indicates that general election is really getting underway, this time in the window before the Olympics, as opposed to after. There would be even more than usual to write about this week, and in the past couple of cycles, I would have been typing until my hands were sore. This year though, the election is a dumpster fire. I wish I could avoid it altogether, but cannot bring myself to do so. While I am not anticipating to be enjoying much of the upcoming week's Republican National Convention, I will still hope that somehow, someway, before Election Day, something lawful and morally justifiable happens to bring about a different Republican nominee, that I could actually support.

In the meantime, we are forced to move forward as a country with the candidates we have and not the candidates we want. In the midst of a lingering aftermath of domestic disturbances at home, and deep divisions over things such as race, and after even another deadly terrorist attack in Europe, and after continued instances of instability, such as yesterday's attempted coup in NATO member Turkey, the job of President is indeed a pretty big one, and will be won in pretty perilous times. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have come close to demonstrating they are worthy of such a responsibility. At least one of them will lose in November and at least one of their delusional base of support will be as upset as I have been over the past few months. That is really all that people like me have to hang on to during these times.

I still think, in spite of some pretty bad poll numbers in the wake of her FBI investigation's findings, Hillary Clinton is going to win. After all, she just has to beat Donald Trump. All of America can anticipate her being a very unpopular and divisive President. By this time next week, she will have picked her running-mate, most likely. Will it be someone like Elizabeth Warren meant to "fire up the base" or someone more safe like Tim Kaine or Tom Vilsack? Whomever she picks, will at least have a fighting chance of being the most popular major party candidate on the ballot this fall. Democrats are slowly but surely becoming unified, and I think that will be fairly apparent in their convention the week after this one. Bernie Sanders has now formally endorsed his former rival and while the two looked fairly uncomfortable on stage together this past week, none of that will ultimately matter much.

The GOP ticket now looks complete (though I would never rule out the possibility of Donald Trump firing a running-mate) and my feelings are somewhat mixed. What I think does not matter though, because I will never vote for Trump anyway. He has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a better choice in my view than the other finalists, but one who is now tainted, probably forever, by association with Trump. Pence has dropped out of his 2016 reelection campaign, altering Hoosier State politics in the short-term, to run with Trump, and will be forced to put himself in line with Trump's stated positions, despite past principled opposition.

I would never consider Mike Pence to be a political All-Star or a top tier Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate, but he has to at least not run the risk of embarrassment as much as a Gingrich, Christie, Sessions, or others. I have liked and respected Pence, and if he somehow winds up as the Presidential nominee, when all is said and done, I will certainly vote for him. He is a total sell-out though to run with Trump, and while he may be the  one of the four nominees of the major parties that I would have the most philosophical agreements with, none of this is going to work out well with him.

As could be expected by the unorthodox Trump campaign, this roll-out has looked like a disaster, at least from a political historical context. The backstories are somewhat interesting. Trump wanted Christie. His kids wanted Gingrich (after all, Christie prosecuted Ivanka's father-in law) and campaign honcho Paul Manafort wanted Pence, as the best bet to win over Cruz supporters and try to unify the party. Word leaked, somehow, on Thursday, that it was going to be Pence, and Trump reportedly got very upset and cancelled the Friday announcement (saying it was due to the French terrorist attack, though he still attended a fundraiser on Thursday night). As late as midnight, he was reported to be asking how he could get out of the "deal" he offered to Pence, which would have royally screwed him as far as Indiana ballot deadlines were concerned. The Trump campaign has insisted they never waivered on Pence and are now said to be very angry with Chris Christie for leaking that story. Christie a sore loser? Who knew! Trump and Christie were said to have had a "tense" conversation when he was informed that Pence would be the pick. Reportedly, nobody bothered to formally let Gingrich know, and in a last ditch effort to impress Trump, Gingrich went on tv after the Thursday terrorist attack and said that America needs to ask Muslims if they believed in Sharia and deport those who do. Deport natural born American citizens? Great idea. I pray that the Republican Party will one day rid itself of these clowns and become a modern conservative party, organized on issues that really matter. Even some of the Platform Committee findings, (that Trump will not bind himself too) on social issues, are embarrassing to me, as a social conservative myself.

So, Trump-Pence it is, for now at least. Everybody believes that Trump himself is not too keen on this choice and I really do think he might try to establish his dominance by firing Pence or making Pence quit at some point before the election. His daughter Ivanka is the only one Trump really wants to be Vice President after all. Instead though, he has Mike Pence, who voted for the Iraq War and has consistently supported free trade measures. I agree with his record on those matters, as they are diametrically opposed to some of the things that Trump "won" the nomination on. In fact, Pence has voted the same way on those issues as Hillary Clinton, whom Trump has said is disqualified, precisely because of those votes. The debates may be awkward, and Pence is going to have to pivot in a big way to get in line with the candidate, who he once said expressed views that were unconstitutional and un-American. Pence has no one to blame for himself. I just hope he somehow can talk Donald Trump into quitting the race. Hillary is so unpopular, the right-wing culture warrior Pence might even have a chance of beating her.

I could go on in greater detail about the logo for Trump-Pence that was unveiled yesterday and now looks to have been quickly jettisoned. For one thing, it very much appeared to be a direct rip-off of the logo used for left-wing group Think Progress. There were also some snickers about just what exactly the T was doing to the P. Suffice to say, it is what Donald Trump would do the whole country. I also do not think that playing up the initial TP is a very smart thing. It is just a reminder that the whole election is down the toilet.

A year ago at this time, I was greatly looking forward to the Cleveland convention. Now, we will have to hope that everyone is safe demonstrations, and that there will be principled folks in the party who will continue to stand up and speak out against the hostile takeover of the Grand Old Party by a lying fraud such as Donald Trump. I have no doubt that convention will be mostly about himself and his brand and less about the party, conservative ideas, or the country as a whole. Just look at the way he talked today in his "introduction" of Governor Pence.

Long before I was born and during my life, the Republican Party has stood for great things, in America and around the world. I have been moved by many GOP Convention speeches throughout history, and especially by leaders such as Ronald Reagan, the Bushes, and Mitt Romney. For this year at least, that proud history has been thrown away, for a con-artist who has successfully appealed to enough people's fears, anxieties, and prejudices. It is nothing to be proud of and something I can never go along with.

Almost all Americans realize that that America is on the wrong track and a strong majority believe that the standard bearer of the Democrat Party, Hillary Clinton, is untrustworthy and should be facing criminal charges for her actions in high office. If only the Republican Party had someone to oppose her like Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, just to name a few, victory would be in sight and there would be much to celebrate in Cleveland, looking towards the future.

Instead, the party has driven itself off a cliff, with no long-term realization of the implications. It is a time to mourn, at least temporarily, a once great political party. Here's to hoping that if the Republican Party still exists in 2020, as I expect it to, the name Donald Trump is never mentioned at that summer's convention, unless it is done with the derision it deserves.


Post a Comment

<< Home