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THE PREMISE

Newsmakers

ARCHIVE - MARCH 2016

Issues, News & Views

Who will be the
2016 candidates
for President of
the United States?


Republicans


DONALD TRUMP??

Donald Trump has come out
of nowhere and stolen the
show. He seems to have
captured the zeitgeist, the
spirit of the times. Can it last?



Who, from among this
strong, diverse field , will
emerge victorious to return
the GOP to the White
House?

COMPETITORS
With the inept Obama
Administration in its final
days, one would have
expected that experienced
governors with a record
of accomplishment would
dominate the Race 2 Replace
but outsiders and novices
Trump, Carson and Fiorina
are in the hunt! Seasoned
executives for sure, but
not the ones the beltway
had in mind!


Democrats


BERNIE SANDERS??

The creaky, rusty Clinton
machine grinds slowly
onward, wayward, relying
solely on muscle memory
for movement. Will
Democrats suddenly rise
from their slumber to the
realization she cannot win a
General Election?



Is Hillary a foregone
conclusion, or will
someone else swoop in and
steal the show?


COMPETITORS
Folks on the right can barely
contain their joy at the
prospect of a Clinton
candidacy. Shouldn't that
give pause to the Democrats?
Biden and Warren are both
better candidates and better
Democrats than Clinton, but
aren't even in the race. And
then there are O'Malley and
Sanders, again, both better
Democrats and better
candidates. Yet the Dems
seem intent on following
Clinton in a lemming-like
charge over the cliff.

"PRESIDENT TRUMP" - GET USED TO IT

2016/03/24 - The window for a non-Trump Republican nominee is fast closing. For those who have for years looked forward to a Presidential election showdown between a fighting conservative Republican candidate and that long-expected Democrat nominee, it does not appear that we will get our wish, at least not any time soon.

Of the original seventeen major candidates, Rand Paul was for the most part the lone Libertarian, but his soft-on-crime / soft-on-terror perspective that echoed the President did not capture the spirit of the times. Circumstances such as the Ferguson MO riots inspired by race-card malfeasance, the rise of the "JV squad" ISIS, and President Obama's serial foreign policy failures, seemed to invalidate much of the policy space where Paul had hoped to differentiate himself from the field. Paul seemed so 2007, a time and place no one wanted to go back to.

Fifteen other candidates were either real legitimate conservatives, such as Scott Walker, Rick Perry or Ted Cruz; or fraudulent pretenders such as George Bush, John Kasich, George Pataki and so forth, with their many and varied apostasies. With a trade so crowded, it was difficult for many voters to sort the fake from the real. And worse, there are always plenty of pro-establishment voters who prefer the imposters anyway. And so that section of the pie got sliced umpteen different ways.

And then there was Trump, who had and has the populist space to himself. When you have a substantial business empire, but no interest in perpetual campaigning, you can throw off-beat policy ideas against the wall and see what sticks. When they do, great; and when they don't, then fine, back to business. In Trump's case, he did, and they did. His shtick captured the zeitgeist.

As for Ted Cruz, his message is timeless, but not necessarily timely. His appeal is to the intellectual, not the physical or emotional. You might agree with the importance of the Cruz message, but it's not particularly thrilling. And the very real connection of small government to job creation is not sufficiently direct or obvious to excite people. Trump's message sells easier. It just does. The Cruz message is timeless and important; the Trump message is timely and urgent. Trump wins.

Speaking of timely, those who oppose a Trump nomination have continuously waited too long to face reality, have not made the timely decision to drop out, even when the only choice has been staring them in the face. And beating them over the head. Would you like some Advil, Kasich?

Some candidates should never have entered the fray in the first place, and just added to the cacophony - Chris Christie, Jim Gilmore and George Pataki, to name a few.

Some good candidates, in command of good judgement, realized they had no chance, and did not let ego get in the way of the correct decision to drop out early - Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and Rick Perry.

And Jeb Bush should have seen it too. By the autumn he should have realized he was thoroughly and irredeemably ill-positioned for this election cycle, and he was just wasting time and money trying to take down another candidate who was only slightly less-worse ill-positioned that he, in other words, Marco Rubio.

It would be a shame if the political career of Marco Rubio were to end here, there is so much that could still lay before him. But he should have seen that his "Gang of 8" flirtation, even at the time, was poison; and Trump's rise should have made it clear to him that the poison was fatal to any hope he had in 2016. He misread the public's mood, then refused to believe the obvious. He must find redemption before he can run again.

If Marco Rubio seemed to be fighting the 2012 election, Rand Paul seemed to be fighting the 2008 election. Good guy, no chance. But if you believe privacy rights are an important matter, Paul represents an intriguing choice as head of Homeland Security.

Ben Carson hung around too long, unless his objective was to protect Trump from Cruz. Carson won nothing, but his petty whining about Cruz siphoned off enough votes to take Arkansas from Cruz and hand it to Trump.

It has been obvious for months that the only way to stop Trump was for the opposition to unite. And it has been equally obvious that the non-Trump was Ted Cruz. But the opposition has been slow to accept. If Carson's tardy departure took Arkansas from Cruz and give it to Trump, then Rubio's obstinacy did the same with Missouri and possibly North Carolina.

And then there is John Kasich. His candidacy has never made any sense, and at this point represents nothing but a stalking horse for Donald Trump. A vote not for Ted Cruz, is a vote for Donald Trump. Why does Kasich stay in the race and continue to make an ass of himself?

On Tuesday Cruz swept Utah and picked up 40 delegates; but Trump swept Arizona and picked up 58, thus slightly widening his lead over Cruz. Due to early voting Rubio managed to pick up 14% of the vote in Arizona because of / in spite of his (belated) exit. Kasich? He picked up no delegates, nothing. Again. He was even bested by the drop-out Rubio! Not that Kasich and Rubio were the difference in Arizona, but together they absolutely blocked Cruz in North Carolina, and possibly Illinois.

All along the way Kasich does nothing but block Cruz. Next up is Wisconsin on April 5. Of the 42 delegates at stake, 18 are allocated to the statewide winner while the remaining 24 are allocated to the winners of each of the eight Congressional Districts. A new Emerson poll has Cruz up by 1 over Trump 36-35, with Kasich at 19. Again, Kasich has no chance, but there he is again dividing the non-Trump vote.

The last good chance to stop Trump was for the pretenders to drop out before March 1. The only other decent chance was to drop out before March 15. At this point there is little chance that Trump will fail to obtain a plurality of the delegates. And unless Kasich drops out before Wisconsin, forget about a Trump plurality, it will probably be a Trump majority and unambiguous first ballot victory.

None of which is to say that Trump will fail as the candidate. In fact you should not be surprised if he eviscerates those tired, weary Clintons. Or that he won't be a great President. We may in fact get a lot of good things from a Trump Administration - but probably not the good things we were hoping for from a Walker Administration or a Cruz Administration. Good things, but different good things. We need to have our eyes open to the good that a Trump Administration could bring. And to get them we will be fighting different battles, on different ground, against different adversaries. The time has come to start preparing for it, strategically, tactically, logistically, intellectually, emotionally.

May we live in interesting times!




Analysis


March 22, 2016 - Bomb blasts at the airport and metro in Brussels leave at least 23 dead. Presumably it was Hindu terrorists - not!

Of course, it will turn out to be Islamic terrorism. Not Hindu, not Buddhist, not Christian, not anything but the scourge that is Islam.

Paris and Brussels exemplify what happens when Islam takes root in a country. And if they, the people, try to fight back, it just gets worse. Islam means "submission" - submit, or else...

Our "leaders", who fear to contemplate the long game, continue to tell we the people that Islam is a religion of peace. And that's why there's Donald Trump - it's the PCBS, stupid!




March 16, 2016 - President Obama has nominated appeals court judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy - or void, we should say - created by the passing of Antonin Scalia.

Scalia was one of the great jurists in Supreme Court history, a man not likely to be appropriately replaced by any nominee of Obama's choosing.

With Obama nearing the end of his Administration, some Republicans are hesitating at proceeding with the nomination process, arguing that with Obama on his way out, the nomination should rightfully belong to the new President-to-be.

The tactic has significant potential upside - stalling the process could provide additional motivation to conservative voters to come out in force and exert their will. And if Republicans hold the Senate and win the White House, they will own the nomination and the process, and bring us a suitable successor to Scalia.

On the other hand, perceived gridlocking could trigger the wrath of frustrated swing voters, leading to gains by Democrats, allowing the Dems to control the nomination and process, and bring us a new justice far worse than Garland.

Time will tell whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a hero or a bum.


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