Contested Convention Machinations

convention

 

The Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio, is coming sooner than you might think, and the so-called establishment is already planning the overthrow of Donald J. Trump, its leading candidate.

Whether you are a supporter of the Donald, or not, the discussions currently being held will potentially disenfranchise millions of voters who proclaimed their backing of Mr. Trump at the polls, often waiting in line for hours to do so.

Whether you are a supporter of the Donald, or not, the discussions currently being held will potentially disenfranchise millions of voters who proclaimed their backing of Mr. Trump at the polls, often waiting in line for hours to do so.

Moreover, the Republicans are making plans to cast ALL the candidates as losers since none of them were able to garner a majority of delegates. Watch as they roll out a public relations campaign to justify their actions — Ted Cruz will yell just as loud as Trump when he is denied the imprimatur of nominee as well.

Both candidates will use their delegates as a foil to say and do things they cannot do themselves. And expect the TV networks to interview the loudest and most obnoxious ones.

Of course, the Democrats will benefit greatly as all the machinations are exposed on national TV, and every Congressional race in the country will be newly up for grabs as local candidates try to tie their opponents to the turmoil.

It should make for great TV as well, but it will not serve the long-term interests of the nation.

The Culture of a Campaign

blackboard arrows

 

Political campaigns, especially those for high office, are messy, unruly things. The hours are long; the tasks are menial; and the glamour represents about one percent of what actually happens behind the scenes.

Perhaps, as a result, most of the staff are inexperienced, though highly intelligent workers. No one else would sign up for a temporary position guaranteed to require long hours at low wages with minimal feedback and a grade of 100 percent success or failure on Election Day.

National campaigns are even more amorphous, with little-to-no contact with the candidate. Each state, and each campaign office, develops its own dynamic based on the personalities running it and any local camaraderie. It’s definitely impossible to speak about an overall culture of a campaign based on the candidates at the head of the national ticket.

That’s why any attempt to link Donald Trump with his campaign manager’s actions at a crowded rally are doomed to fail. I think the managers’ actions were reprehensible and deserve to be condemned more dramatically. But his poor decision making and failure of the moment were not the result of some amorphous culture. He had become separated from his boss — I would think a pretty demanding one at that — and this reporter was blocking him out. His solution to this dilemma involved pushing the reporter aside in a rather emphatic, and unforgivable, manner.

It does not reflect in any way on Donald Trump who strikes me as a rather chivalrous, though old fashioned, individual. The establishment is banding together to brand him as unacceptable, but this represents a bridge too far in their efforts to do so.

Trump Tactics on Hillary

blackboard diagram

 

Donald Trump is carefully preparing to win the general election, and his preliminary tactics include silence. Unlike other opponents, he has not pivoted yet and is clearly holding back on his attacks prior to launching a shock-and-awe campaign against the presumptive Democratic nominee.

The Clinton campaign should prepare thoroughly for the coming tsunami because it will eclipse Mr. Trump’s former efforts against his Republican rivals.

The sound and fury of what is to come can be discerned by the one time Hillary attacked him for misogyny, and Trump called her husband a sexual abuser in return. She quickly stopped the insult.

Trump will focus all his efforts on the nomination, keeping up the de facto background on the email server scandal. Then, after a barnstorming and triumphant convention — look for Trump to secure about 1,400 delegates for an easy win — he will concentrate his efforts on Hillary like a laser beam.

First, he will give Hillary a nickname, similar to his branding efforts on Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, labelled low energy, Lyin’ Ted and Little Marco respectively. And he will wait for the attacks to come from Hillary, then punch back ferociously. Any nefarious comment by any organization supporting Hillary will be treated as an attack by Hillary herself.

The Clinton campaign should prepare thoroughly for the coming tsunami because it will eclipse Mr. Trump’s former efforts against his Republican rivals.

The Corrective Power of Democracy

bumper sticker against Republican Party

The leaders and elites of the Republican Party are currently experiencing the corrective power of democracy. To put it in terms they understand, just like the financial markets occasionally require a correction, so do political parties.

They thought Mr. Trump was just a con artist and failed to consider that maybe the voters were not so stupid but knew exactly what they were doing.

Because the establishment of the Republican Party increasingly lost touch with the voters who elected them, the voters eventually said, “Enough is enough,” and asserted their rights in a democracy, to vote out the ideologues, lobbyists and policy makers by supporting Donald Trump.

Slow to get the message, the elites failed to recognize the voters’ rebellion until it was too late. They thought Mr. Trump was just a con artist and failed to consider that maybe the voters were not so stupid but knew exactly what they were doing. The establishment wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on negative advertising in Florida to no avail. Mr. Trump won in a landslide there just like everywhere else.

The next showdown will come in Wisconsin. If Ted Cruz fails to win there, the rationale for the “Stop Trump” movement will disappear, and Mr. Trump will become the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.

Before the Democrats start to gloat about the match up with Hillary, however, they should consider that democracy has a way of spreading its momentum over all impediments in its path.

Is Ted Cruz a Philanderer?

couple under an umbrella

Let’s take a step back before we consider whether or not Ted Cruz is a philanderer.

And this wouldn’t be the first time a “family values” Republican has been exposed as a hypocrite.

The accusations come from the National Enquirer, and Donald Trump knows the publisher well. They were levied in the midst of an escalating war of words between the two candidates. And they seem out of place for Mr. Cruz. He doesn’t seem like the type.

That said, the National Enquirer was right about similar charges it raised for Jonathan Edwards and  Gary Hart. And this wouldn’t be the first time a “family values” Republican has been exposed as a hypocrite.

In the absence of further proof, e.g., a mistress coming forward, we may just have to table the issue for now. On the other hand, this campaign has become so crazy, you never know what might happen next.

I guess we’ll just have to return to secondary issues such as the war on terror and the possible disintegration of the European Union.

On the Democratic side, they’ve been discussing these “minor” issues, and Secretary Clinton has given several policy speeches on the matter, proposing ideas such as an intelligence surge and increasing involvement in the region. She has shown herself to be slightly more interventionist than President Obama, though she praises his reasoned approach to the crisis.

Meanwhile, we’ll let the Republican race continue to devolve into the gutter.

An Entertaining Race for President

theater

 

One thing you can say about the 2016 Republican primaries for President of the United States: it’s entertaining.

Donald Trump may have brought the race for President to new lows, but you must admit he’s been instigated to do so.

Donald Trump may have brought the race for President to new lows, but you must admit he’s been instigated to do so.

Mr. Trump, who defended his manhood in the face of Marco Rubio’s schoolyard taunts, has now been forced to do the same for his wife. And I say kudos to Mr. Trump for his response; he made Ted Cruz pay for that sleazy ad by his Super PAC. How would you feel if your wife’s naked picture was distributed throughout the United States for everyone on the Internet to see?

Ted Cruz’s little bit of theater yesterday, “Stay the hell away from my wife …,” rang hollow because he started the fight, and everyone knows that the lewd photo was distributed with his blessing to run up the score in Utah. Every time his back is to the wall, Mr. Cruz pulls out all stops to save his campaign.

The false rumors about Ben Carson in Iowa, the voting “report card,” even the attempt to tar Marco Rubio when he seemed to show disrespect for the Bible,” these actions show the tactics of a desperate man. And “lyin’ Ted” will say or do anything if he thinks it will improve his chances to win the election.

But it is entertaining.

Traps for Trump

vista of White House

 

The Republican establishment is setting traps for Donald Trump in many ways, some more nefarious than others. These include the use of tricky questions and tactics, and then characterizing his most obvious response.

Yesterday, the anti-Trump forces sunk to a new low. Mr. Trump was asked if he would consider using nuclear weapons against Isis. Of course, this question is unanswerable, on a par with “Do you still beat your wife?”

The use of protestors at Trump rallies, constantly interrupting his speeches at key points, enables the establishment to discourage attendance at his rallies. By making his events seem risky or prone to violence, the establishment can paint him as somehow encouraging violence even though he is completely powerless to stop the interruptions. When your speech has been interrupted three or four times at key moments, anyone would lash out in frustration.

Yesterday, the anti-Trump forces sunk to a new low. Mr. Trump was asked if he would consider using nuclear weapons against Isis. Of course, this question is unanswerable, on a par with “Do you still beat your wife?” There is no response Trump could give without preserving the United States’ strategic deterrence. Then, Trump’s detractors in the television media were able to run a summary at the bottom of the screen, “Trump Mulls the Use of Nuclear Weapons.”

Whether the establishment’s traps will ultimately defeat Mr. Trump remains to be seen, but it may be almost impossible for them to prevent Mr. Trump from reaching 1237. And if they should ultimately prevail, they will smash the Republican Party into a million pieces.

The Banality of Terrorism

crossed weapons with stop sign

Terrorism, no matter how devastating, has an everyday aspect to it. Its destruction knows no boundaries, and its impact affects  young and old alike in a matter-of-fact reality.

We quickly grow accustomed to the bombings and accept them as a cost of being alive in the 21st century.

We quickly grow accustomed to the bombings and accept them as a cost of being alive in the 21st century. Families are torn asunder as babies and young children die horrible deaths or are gruesomely injured. Rehabilitation does little to soften the blow.

As each incident occurs, we grow accustomed or desensitized to the pictures flashing across our television sets, and we quickly relegate them to the back of our minds.

For those who experience terrorism directly, such as yesterday’s suicide bombings in Belgium, life is never the same again. They have been irrevocably scarred through no fault of their own. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As we try to comprehend yet another senseless killing, we try to rationalize the event, as something that occurs somewhere else, far from our daily lives. We continue with the tasks of everyday living, choosing from 10 types of breakfast cereal in the supermarket, or engaging in mindless pleasures.

Israel has learned to live with terrorism, the United States not so much. It will take only one major incident over here, one plot carried about my Isis, to completely change our lives. I hope it never happens, that we destroy Isis before they start to destroy us.

Political Momentum

cresting surf

 

The power of political momentum is often underestimated to the chagrin of the various “stop” movements designed to slow down or displace successful candidates. After a substantial lead in delegates has been achieved, it is nearly impossible to erase it.

Ted Cruz has tried to be clever in his strategy, and his cunning has destroyed him … his attacks on Trump are a day late and a dollar short.

Such a situation is now playing out in both political parties, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton poised to become their respective parties’ nominees.

Ted Cruz has tried to be clever in his strategy, and his cunning has destroyed him. He thought it was smart to refuse to criticize Donald Trump and just position himself to get Trump’s voters after what he thought was Trump’s inevitable collapse. When Trump didn’t collapse, Cruz waited too long for his negative attacks to have any discernible effect.

If Cruz had joined other Republican candidates in their attacks on Trump, he may have found himself in a different situation today. Instead, his attacks on Trump are “a day late and a dollar short.” Trump’s momentum is well established, and his supporters have become too loyal.

One may make similar observations about Bernie Sanders. His negative attacks on Hillary Clinton only came after she had amassed a formidable lead in delegates after landslide wins in Southern states. His failure to appeal to black voters from the beginning of the campaign doomed him to these Southern losses and helped Mrs. Clinton develop an unstoppable momentum.

Heavyweight Championship

two boxers

There’s no doubt that the contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump can be compared to the heavyweight championship of the world. Both candidates have become the presumptive nominees of their respective parties, and the difference in their worldviews is considerable. Throw the Supreme Court into the balance, and you have the potential to determine the course of the nation for decades.

For all those spurned movement conservatives, they will need to grit their teeth and take it.

Hillary Clinton represents the mainstream of the Democratic Party while it is hard to characterize Mr. Trump. I think once he has cleared the GOP primaries, he will stop saying “crazy” things, at least from a policy perspective. With the Presidency hanging in the balance, Mr. Trump knows how to act the part, especially since his audience will have shifted from the base of the Republican Party to the general electorate.

For all those spurned movement conservatives, they will need to grit their teeth and take it. Mr. Trump has been compared to a tsunami, and he knows how to build out from his base to attract new voters. These new voters may not represent orthodox conservatives, but they will be introduced to the conservative worldview for the first time, and his brand of conservatism might actually gain new adherents.

Of course, Mr. Trump will not tow the line on every single issue; he is not a pure conservative. But no one, except perhaps Ted Cruz, can assume that mantle. So the upcoming heavyweight championship will not be predictable. But nothing about Mr. Trump ever really is.