Friday, January 22, 2016

Anybody But Trump; Anybody but Cruz

There are only two realistic front-runners for the GOP primary right now--Donald Trump as the front-runner, with Senator Ted Cruz pulling alongside or occasionally leading by a smidge depending on what state's polls you are looking at. I'm a life-long Democrat, so this dynamic is fascinating to me: both of the candidates in the lead for the GOP nomination seem to have significant groups of people in their own party who really seem to shudder at the thought of them getting the nomination.

Now, people have been writing "Everyone Hates Ted Cruz" pieces ever since he became a senator, so I appreciate how an "Anyone But Cruz" party came about. His brash and uncompromising brand of conservatism is distinctively unhelpful in the atmosphere of the Hill, and has led long-time senators like John McCain to dub him a "wacko bird". But when the Governor of Iowa actually says out loud that he wants Cruz defeated, that's a pretty significant sign of the sheer magnitude of the Calgary-born Cruz's ability to rub people the wrong way.

On the other hand, long-time Conservative publication National Review is putting out an entire issue arguing against Donald Trump, questioning his conservative bona fides, temperament and seriousness, indicating that there is also an "Anyone But Trump" contingent that is alive and well. (And yet, probably awfully late to try to start slowing Trump's roll, now.)

As Sarah Palin's rambling endorsement the other day indicates, Donald Trump has been running on a populist trip, and has curiously picked up significant evangelical support (which Team Cruz probably by rights thought were his folks). And yet, funny old thing, the donors/establishment types are coming around to Trump.

Now, despite all this, I'm not really seeing a path for, say Marco Rubio to three, two, one his way into the lead, let alone for Bush or Kasich to suddenly take the lead. The establishment is no more.

3 comments:

mikey said...

Really, in hindsight, it was bound to happen. It couldn't NOT happen. Keep waving a bloody shirt in front of the mob, and eventually the mob is going to want action, not words. Trump was brilliant in the way he recognized the moment and understood exactly what the rabble that once was the Republican base demands.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a great result. Just as they have sacrificed accomplishment for symbolism in congress, they have sacrificed electability for (vicious) tone in the Presidential campaign. Trump has zero chance of winning a national election, and considering how historically difficult it is for a party to hold the white house for three (or more) terms, we should be grateful for the help.

And as a bonus, when Trump looses by eighteen percent, what do you think the clowns, loonies and bigots will decide? That they need to become reasonable, rational, thoughtful political players and adjust their issues and messaging to draw a broader audience? Or that even Trump just wasn't angry and mean-spirited enough?

Formerly Amherst said...

Vicky, there probably is no reason to add to my previous remarks. However, I am free today (I give a lecture on higher states of consciousness tomorrow).

You need to bear in mind that only about 30 million political geeks keep up with the goings-on in politics. As I understand it, if you wanted to watch TV 20 years ago, you had to watch the evening news at 6. Today it's different, and people don't have to watch the news, and they don't.

So it's been estimated that about 30 million political geeks stay tuned in on the computer and/or news programs while the rest of America finds the subject dull, tedious, and uninteresting.

The Republican establishment is finding out that they had completely mis-defined who American “conservatives” were. The people outside of the geeks bear little resemblance to the way conservatives have been defined.

The truth is that most American conservatives aren't nearly as doctrinaire or as purist as the stereotypes attempt to make us. Now the whole political geek structure on the Right is seeing a huge potential for their status to be diminished. Turns out we never really thought they were very important in the first place. The geek right are people who have become legends in their own minds, and now they realize that they don't actually speak for the category that they believe to exist.
These people are all afraid that they're going to lose their rice bowl when the emperor is shown to be scantily dressed. What! You mean they didn't ever need us after all?!?

This, of course, also means that the stereotype the Left likes to create doesn't exist either. And so the Left will probably need to go through a reevaluation to figure out who we are. For example, 20% of Donald Trump's strength are Democrats. And I expect this number will grow when you consider that Jim Webb's followers were alienated from the Democratic Party.

So the upshot is that the Republican establishment is reeling from an awareness that Republican voters don't really need them, and we are not who they had defined us to be. And the majority of us are not political wonks and do not rush to editorial writers hoping they'll explain the world to us. They are theoretical purists, making assumptions about the vast majority of practical, common-sense directed individuals. And finally, I reiterate that Democrats also have it wrong in respect to who we are, what we think and believe.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

On the other hand, long-time Conservative publication National Review is putting out an entire issue arguing against Donald Trump, questioning his conservative bona fides, temperament and seriousness, indicating that there is also an "Anyone But Trump" contingent that is alive and well. (And yet, probably awfully late to try to start slowing Trump's roll, now.)

If Trump wins the primary, it's going to take a hell of a lot of shoving to get this entire issue down the Memory Hole.